UNSW Built Environment: Ian Robertson (MArch) – 2nd place winner at the HP Cityscape 2020 Competition

13 08 2009


HP flew me down to Melbourne for the day on Thursday (12 august), telling me only that I was a finalist in the HP Cityscape 2020 competition, information about the competition had been forwarded to students earlier last semester, and among the posted 15 semi-finalist entries there were 3 students from UNSW (I didn’t recognize and don’t remember the names of the others). I was the only one flown in for the ceremony.

At 4:30  the reception started in HP’s new demonstration and sales center in downtown Melbourne – the 15 posted entries (out of ~90 total submissions from all over Australia) were each on an easel with a core group of 5 in the middle (including mine). At 6:00 the results were announced with a student from Melbourne Uni taking third place, me in second and an RMIT student in first place.

The projects varied greatly, but many [including all 3 prizewinning entries] centered around somehow adding programmatic density to the urban environment – mine in the spaces between buildings, the first place by parasitically grafting onto them, and the third place by making a skyscraper from Melbourne’s laneways.

Interesting to see the convergence of ideas from many different schools – demonstrating, prehaps, shared concerns about the future of the city.

Space in the city isn’t pure, and can’t be defined by simple figure ground relationships. Space flows around unvisible whorls and eddies, and tracing movement in the urban environment exposes spaces that have unknown unactivity – space we don’t know that we don’t use. These unused sites are sites for the injection of life into the urban muddle – dead space for living people.

Sequence Image

The unvisible spaces become building envelopes.

Book2 50-53s

The unvisible spaces are thirdspaces between the the face and the mask – the walls we build and the walls we experience. Why not live inside these walls?

Book2 26-27s

Low-fi analysis of the space allows unnecessary detail to be stripped away – revealing the essence of the urban condition.

Book2 20-292s

The natural progression of the city is of internal entropy, the example of Split Croatia demonstrates how over time the pure condition is corrupted by life – emerging over time as the space it should become.

Book2 1-1912s

The tool of for the analysis is a flock of boids – autonomous agents that reveal urban flow patterns.

Book2 1-197s




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