UNSW Built Environment Master of Architecture: Mark David Roach

24 06 2009

It’s that time of the semester again when things start getting crazier. Since my last post I have developed a really good understanding of the site (Sydney’s Customs House) I will be designing a theatre for in Semester 2. Getting to this stage has been quite a challenge, though it has also been incredibly rewarding and an enlightening experience: I think I’ve developed a greater appreciation for the richness and beauty of many parts of Sydney’s CBD and its buildings which aren’t always talked about.

To get to this stage, my studio group was required to record the site by first observing what occurs there, in terms of sound, movement, light, shadow, smell, etc and then re-draw the building and its surrounding environs. This involved the making of conventional plans, elevations and sections which were developed with the help of architect drawings and a series of trips to the site involving us measuring up buildings. This was complimented by several tours of the city by our tutors who offer us a great source of support and inspiration; they have taught us many lessons especially in the way we observe the built environment and the need to understand the city you practice in.

Having completed a series of drawings of Customs House, we went on to do a series of mapping exercises that catalogued the different qualities of the site, such as the topography, flora, fauna, sound, pedestrian movement, vehicular movement, etc. These studies relied on our own personal observations and produced an amazing range of work in the studio. These drawings were then abstracted into a sculpture that was inspired by a chosen piece of art and one of our drawings. My precedent was a sculpture entitled ‘La Bobine’, by the American sculptor Alexander Calder and the drawing I chose was one I did of the flora of Circular Quay.  This model was constructed from galvanised steel and was soldered together and was finished in ‘red ochre’ primer.

From here my studio group will begin the concept design phase of a theatre for Customs House which we will spend the next semester working on.

So as you can tell from my blog, design courses tend to consume all your time and any spare time is saved for all the other courses you might have to do. Lucky for me I completed many of mine during the summer breaks, leaving me just one elective: Professional Practice. The work for this course has largely been completed and is by contrast more matter of fact, with a combination of in-class essays, business plan, essays and construction specifications.




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