Community + Interaction

Bachelor of Interior Architecture (honours)
Semester 1, 2020

Studio leader(s)

  • Kalliopi Vakras
    Kalliopi Vakras Architects

Interaction in the In-between spaces

In December 2019 through to January 2020 we saw bushfires across the entire country. As a result, we saw what was believed to be Australia’s first Climate Refugees. Climate refugees, or environmental migrants, are people forced to abandon their homes due to change in climatic conditions or extreme weather events.

During this time we also saw a strong sense of community and generosity shine through from people who were not directly impacted by these fires. We saw various social media movements form such as Empty Esky, Spend with Them & The Animal Rescue Craft Guild with an intent to create a sustainable and longer-term approach to assisting affected communities. In our own industries, movements such as Architects Assist were formed as architecture and design practices began responding with offers of assistance to those who had lost their homes.

Within the actual affected communities, we saw positive engagement, hope and a sense of unity.

This studio will study the sense of community, social connection and interaction that was formed during this time. It will focus on the notion of human relationships and how the design of spaces can increase opportunities to connect with others, whether that be via direct or incidental interactions.

As social animals our relationships and interactions with others are critical to our wellbeing. Social connection is about engagement with others and the sharing of information and resources to create more dynamic and resilient communities. These spaces are important for building communities, creating a sense of belonging and for supporting the wellbeing of its community.

A space is activated by the way people inhabit it. A space does not necessarily have to be a defined ‘room’ – it can be the in-between spaces, the shared spaces, the permeable pass through spaces, spaces where we pause.

As part of this studio you will be asked to consider and reflect on personal experiences of spaces you have visited and felt a good sense of community, wellbeing, positivity and social connection, as well as what it means to create these meaningful spaces. You will also explore precedents of spaces that have succeeded in providing a vessel for good social connection, as well as spaces that have failed. You will also study the spaces that can form community “gathering hubs” in smaller rural communities such as pubs, general stores, sporting clubs and cafes.

In the first half of the semester we will investigate how interior architecture can assist in providing meaningful and interactive spaces that promote wellbeing and encourage people to gather, interact and connect. You will create your own small interventions in the in- between spaces of a public urban space that can act as a place of refuge & story sharing in a time of emergency. These spaces must be accessible to all.

In the second half of the semester, you will design a community centre or gathering space that will form the heart of a community. You will explore ways to take this space and transform it’s corners into an engaging and interactive space for community collaboration and interaction.

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