While Australia needs to develop more robust urban design programs, there is also a strong need to build an "urban design culture" into a whole range of other learning opportunities.This can build advocacy for a better built environment, and develop an understanding of urban design processes. What better place than to begin with undergraduate built environment students?
UNSW has taken on a challenging studio this semester.Together with Ann Quinlan (Architecture) and Linda Corkery (Landscape Architecture), we have developed an urban design studio which brings together architecture and landscape architecture undergraduates for a series of design interactions around a common brief.
The Hornery Institute (which is leading Community Development Management in the Green Square area, together with the South Sydney Development Corporation, which is responsible for facilitating development in this part of Sydney) approached us with a brief, mindful that their master plan won’t be realised for many years:They said, "Give Green Square a recognisable physical identity now"; and provided us with a site, a vast forecourt above the Green Square rail station bound by heavy traffic.Every week, the students get a download from stakeholders, ranging from Landcom, to South Sydney Council, to the Development Corporation, to local residents.In addition they are being exposed to the competition winners for the site, who are responsible for the master plan that will be ultimately realised for the site, and they will be inspired by Choi Rohipa – winners of the Parramatta Road Design Competition – a program with many synergies with our Green Square brief.
With a budget of $250,000 and a lifespan of 5 years, your challenge is to put Green Square on the map.Located physically and metaphorically in the heart of South Sydney, the Green Square intersection will become a vibrant town centre… one day.
What is needed now… is a temporal overlay for a busy, metaphorically iconic, yet physically bereft intersection. (Think Sydney/Barcelona Olympics, Expo sites, garden festivals, Info Box at Potsdamer Platz): providing a promise of what is to come; reflecting the aspirations of residents and workers; straddling the values of existing and emerging communities; acknowledging the past industrial heritage; responding to the built and natural landscape; establishing an image for this place.
This urban design studio will involve: reviewing the strategic plans for South Sydney and Green Square; understanding the proposed master plan; listening to key stakeholders; translating community needs; collaborating with landscape architecture students; researching design precedents; conceiving a design concept; resolving a design solution.
Here’s hoping next year we will have students of planning, project management and social work in there as well, getting closer to emulating a real urban design project, within the great laboratory of the university design studio.
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 Forum meets RMIT