Cohousing, community, co-design, change-agent, diversity and livability
This is a housing studio. Students will propose urban densification in the inner Melbourne suburbs through the design of small to medium scale cohousing proposals. Melbourne has a shortage of housing and a desire for stronger communities. Students will be encouraged to propose new cohousing and mixed-use residential models. Students will challenge the accepted norms of Melbourne apartment design, providing all the functionality and livability of a standalone home within a cohousing model. Housing affordability, a sense of community and livability will be key studio themes.
The studio will investigate and challenge the status quo within our housing models through a co-design process between designer (interior architecture student) and client (future resident). It will challenge students, as change-agents, to set the agenda for future community housing models while working in collaboration with key stakeholders.
Students will be required to cultivate a sense of responsibility for our environment (both built and social), developing a moral code against which to test each proposal.
The Brief and Program
The final brief for the studio will call for the design of a suburban cohousing project within an existing warehouse in Port Melbourne. In proposing a co-housing project, students will explore urban conditions, site context, adjacency, contribution to streetscape, solar access, massing and links between internal and external community. Students will interrogate the brief and site constraints to propose a diverse occupant mix reflecting an increased sense of community, changing demographics and diversity of offering, livability and aging in place.
Architectural Representation and Exploration
The studio will include a series of seminars introducing students to reference projects, concepts and existing typologies. Students will use hand drawings and 3D software to develop both programmatic relationship and built form. The building plan and internal relationships, dwelling mix/community spaces will be a key focus of the studio.
Students will investigate precedent architecture, researching, reviewing, redrawing and remodeling in order to understand the spatial and physical elements of architecture. Physical models will be required throughout the semester as students will be required to transfer between digital and physical representations of their design investigations.
Students will spend the first third of the semester engaged in specific research into co-housing models while also interrogating existing multi-residential models.
This information will be presented in the form of catalogued plans, diagrams, photographs and physical models. Students will undertake three design tasks during the semester.
Following the research component of the semester, Students will be required to actively engage with the cohousing and livability/adaptability discourse within the suburban context. Students will be required to formulate convincing arguments for ‘non-compliant’ proposals in the first instance. In subsequent tasks students will develop a position on the aesthetics of their individual proposals. Students will further develop the brief in section, exploring potential expansions on the project program and unit mix, develop circulation strategies and design the final building form. The research-based work and the tasks completed in the first half of semester will assist students to develop their own unique proposal for the final design critique. Each student’s unique position (regarding resident size and mix, for example) will be presented within the final critique at the conclusion of the semester. Student proposals should actively engage in the current discussion regarding apartment living and density and its potential for evolution, in Melbourne.
Students will undertake multiple site visits throughout the semester. We will visit the Nightingale apartments and the site in Port Melbourne. Three workshop classes will be held in the Docklands at MUSK Architecture Studio office throughout the semester.
This will involve some costs, these are expected to be less than $50 per student. Students will also be expect- ed to make physical models.
Hannes McNamara is a registered Architect in Victoria, AIA member and a director at MUSK Architecture Studio / @muskstudio, he has previously lead design studio’s at RMIT, Melbourne University and MADA