Recently, a team of RMIT Urban Design students presented a range of their projects to the Melbourne Urban Design Forum group. It was part of an ongoing link which both supports the students, and provides stimulation for the ‘Old Hands’. The projects ranged from very large public spaces to small intimate parks, and pushed the boundaries between planning and design to allow for a more successful integration of landscape and architecture programs in the broader context of Urban Design.
Kristen Velthoven, a 4th year student, for her final design studio looked at Melbourne Docklands and how, over time, the needs and wants for public space would have to be flexible and interchangeable to meet the growing and differing needs of society and technology in developing spaces. Through creating a moveable park space idea - that can easily be manipulated into different pre-developed sites over a 30-60 year period - traditional ideas of public activity and its relationship with architecture were seriously challenged.
In comparison, Hy Truong, also a 4th year student studying Melbourne Docklands, was more concerned with the idea of designing through the use of other disciplines as the driving force. In this particular project, Hy looked at the idea of abstract art or paintings as the motivator for the generation of architectural form in the urban landscape. The notion of abstract helps to create an urban prototype that is simple, yet fluent in all areas of operations, ranging from programs and functionality through to its relationship with the surrounding context of Docklands.
The project by 3rd year student, Mandy Edwards, looked at outer suburban Broadmeadows, and discovered what is actually happened on the ground. No brief was provided, therefore the challenge was to discover a mechanism, explore it, and provide a response relating to the unveiled opportunity. Through exploration, a unique movement pattern was identified that was then intensified through an overhaul of the town park, considering both the strategic Melbourne 2030 ideals and specific demands of the town.
Marc Basilio, also a 3rd year student, primarily investigated mechanisms of effects for the site of Broadmeadows. Access flows were identified as being problematic within the site and this was addressed within the design. An old industrial train line was also utilized, highlighting the importance of Broadmeadows as an industrial part of Melbourne. This brought about a sense of vertical movement and history within the area.
In summary, the projects were diverse in scale, approach to design, medium, and presentation technique. All were successful in obtaining their objectives, whilst testing and questioning the traditional boundaries of design. One example was to see design as a collective process, involving many disciplines rather than an enclosed and linear progression.
The students found the presentation gave them the opportunity to experience presenting to Urban Design professionals, whilst gaining positive feedbacks for future design presentations, and the presentations gave an excellent sense of the creativity and variety of design projects undertaken at RMIT. Well done Students!
Also in UDFQ 63: September 2003:
- Rob Cowan visiting Australia
- Next Edition: Culture and the built environment
- UD strengthened at RMIT University
- Urban Design a must for Kiwi Architecture students
- Who wants an Urban Design education?
- Urban designers – then and now
- A student perspective on outcomes
- MUDD at University of New South Wales
- Urbanism in SEQ
- MUD at Melbourne University
- Urban design at Sydney University
- The art of asking questions
- Urban design laboratory