UNSW Built Enviroment: Classroom of 2025 internship

10 03 2011

Two UNSW Built Environment architecture students have come together this summer to tackle the challenges facing educationalists today, and how to plan for and design classrooms of the future.

Students Daina Labutis and Tiffany Liew have teamed up with Stephanie Brancatisano from the University of Sydney in ‘The Classroom of 2025’ project, as part of architectural firm NBRS+ Partners ENVISION internship program.

The Classroom of 2025 project is a comprehensive exploration of the rapidly evolving trends in pedagogy and technology in education. The student’s research identifies the contemporary issues and evolving trends in school environments and defines the elements of flexible and adaptable classroom design. The final phase of the project will be to propose and range progressive design solutions that support emerging learning models fit for 21st century which will be published.

The internship is described by NBRS+Partners as “an innovative approach in fostering student development involving three university students in the dynamic life of an architectural firm, providing insights into multiple stages of architectural design projects.”

“Just as our education research advocates learning by doing, the experiences we have had being immersed in a vibrant office environment are so valuable,” says Daina Labutis, UNSW Architecture student.

Click here for more information on NBRS+Partners design practice and their upcoming projects.

UNSW Built Environment:Talia Keyes Graduation Studio 2010 – A Courthouse Old and New

25 01 2011


Talia Keyes, 2010 Master of Architecture Graduand shares her thoughts on her graduating project titled “Representations of Truth and the Veil of Ignorance”:

St James Court model

The courthouse is a institution in which appointed representatives of the people attempt to improve the consistent exercise of power over the collective society, making it more effective, efficient and imposing. In general terms more disciplined, resulting in a power relation that is both visible and unverifiable. 

As part of the studio brief students engaged in researching architectural conservation principles as a means of understanding the social and cultural significance of the Sydney CBD Heritage Precinct (inclusive of Hyde Park Barracks, St James Church, King Street Court Complex- NSW Supreme Court and Hyde Park). 

This model featured as part of my investigation into the conservation and upgrading of the 1895 St James Road Court in the King Street Courts Complex – the first purpose built banco court and the last remaining courtroom awaiting refurbishment. Here 16 sections of the courtroom have been laser cut from stock standard MDF to represent the current state of the courtroom, an arrangement that internally reflects little change from its original character. Intermittently 4 sheets of perspex  have been added and etched with plans for a proposed upgrade to satisfy current standards for disable access into the well of the court and maintain and draw attention to the symbolic positioning of the various players without significance impact to the existing internal fabric. 

The viewer is positioned as a member of the jury as an illustration of the active role of the public in the dispensing of justice. The proposal includes minor changes to the existing joinery – reducing the size of the existing dock by half, enlarging the size of the jury box to facilitate 15 members, opening up the court well to aliviate clutter and confinement and a reconstructed witness box such that the original player arrangement, dynamic and symbolic intent remains consistent.

What remained of primary importance throughout this process was ensuring that the St James court was allowed to celebrate the significance of its continued use through preservation. 

Written by Talia Keyes

UNSW Built Environment: 2010 Graduand Catalogues

14 12 2010

Our 2010 UNSW Built Environment Graduand Catalogues have been released for viewing. These catalogues showcase the achievements of our 2010 of our graduating students – congratulations to all those involved.

If you would like to view the various graduand catalogues, please click the links below.

Architectural Computing

Architecture (BArch)

Industrial Design

Landscape Architecture

Master of Architecture (MArch)

UNSW Built Environment Architectural Studies: Angus Hardwick

20 07 2010

By the end of last semester, we had already progressed through two design projects and into our third in Design Studio 2. It’s incredible how much effort I put into a single project so by the end of the third I think I will be spent!

Our first project focused on an in depth case study of an allocated house.  In my case I focused on Jørn Utzon’s second house of Majorca Can Feliz. Through a close analysis and study of the building I produced parti and poche drawings.

From this we went straight into project two analysing either a 17th Century Dutch interior painting or a 20th Century Edward Hopper painting. This project presented some problems for me and my tutor – we seemed to never see quite eye-to-eye as how best to interpret the painting. Ultimately different opinions is what its all about … right?

Andrew Macklin’s Architectural Model Making class was also very time consuming and has a massive workload. This course is definitely not for the faint of heart given we started out with over 30 people and ended with less than 20! What was nice about this course were the distinct difference between the two projects we worked on. Whist it wasn’t what I was expecting (a more material technique based modelling course), the first project introduced Eisenman’s House of Cards and saw us progress through a series of planar, volumetric and circulation based model moves to develop a ‘building without a purpose’ and develop our understanding of space.

We then progressed onto scale construction and techniques of modeling rammed earth walls etc. This turned out to be an exciting project. It was great to get away from the balsa and box board and actually use our hands. For me, these models seemed to be more dynamic than a plain balsa model.

History and Theory 2 run by Peter Kohane proved to be the hidden gem of the semester. History in itself is a pretty safe bet for producing a solid course however Peter’s funny and intense lectures were a great way to end the week. The in depth journey from initial Greek architecture through to the moderns has been an exciting journey, and the links to current architectural trends and practices gave the course a good balance between reflection and active participation.

UNSW Built Environment Exhibition: CH4 at Sydney Architecture Week 2010

12 07 2010

After months of design and testing, students are going into construction for CH4.

The CH4 competition is a design workshop co-ordinated by UNSW Built Environment.  The purpose of the design workshop is to design and construct of re-useable pavilion for Sydney Architecture Week 2010.

Held at the historic Customs House, Circular Quay, the Sydney Architecture Week is a joint venture between the Australian Architecture Association, Australian Institute of Architects, and the NSW Architects Registration Board. Last year, 4,500 people attended this prominent event.

The design of the pavilion is constructed of cardboard tubes framed by plywood sheets.  This interactive structure explores ideas of views and perspective as it is splayed within its plywood frame so that as you walk through the pavilion, an awareness of the interior and exterior is experienced.

Over the past week, students have been inducted into the DesignLab workshop and Tramsheds for construction.  We have been fortunate to have been sponsored by Royal Plywood who has provided us sheets of plywood and discounted cardboards from Cardboard Tubes Pty Ltd.  In addition, Kirrawee Kitchens have been assisting us in the cutting of plywood sheets to hasten our construction process.

We’ve now completed one test module. For the next fortnight, CH4 will be constructing the modules in the Randwick Tramsheds.  Stay tuned to see our progress! Only 2000 more cardboard tubes to go!

UNSW Built Environment Architectural Studies: Derek Georgeson

22 06 2010

So the semester is almost over, and it’s been a fairly busy one. I’ve been doing some work experience with an architectural firm two days a week. It has been great to get some feel of what the field will actually feel like. The positives I’ve found are that the work is busy – I never have nothing to do, and that it can be as slow or as fast as you please (unless there is a deadline due) at which point the office ramps up a bit for the week. The lead designer has become my mentor and encourages me to try different things, but he has a design sensibility which kerbs my works to always look good. This is some of the rendering work I’ve done for them… This particular work isn’t aiming for photo realism but more to convey a sense of lifestyle and place, particularly for the cold Sydney mornings we are currently feeling.

Within the design studio we are having a bit more of an abstract semester. The first projects led us to look at a series of Villa’s from the Modernists and Post-Modernists. The aim was to analyse what made those designers tick and work out the driving force behind these inspirational works. Following that exercise was a design segment where we used famous paintings to create narratives, and then form a series of internal spaces based around those narratives. My own work revolved around madness, reality and journey. Shown here is an axonometric of my work and then a view of one of the rooms contained within the spiralling staircase:

On the side I have a series of General Education courses which have me learning about science, religion, science fiction and everything in between. They are interesting and fairly engaging so I can’t complain too much about them. And finally, I am taking a history course, which is exceptional in its range of learning and helping me understand and value works of architecture, particularly renewing my view of Sydney and Melbourne, using a historical pretext to look at various Classical styled buildings. Part of the course involves going to places around Sydney and sketching them so I thought I’d throw in a sketch I did of the NSW Lands Department building, design by James Barnet:

Outside of uni my Taido grading is coming up soon, I just had my 21st birthday so that was a pretty memorable night, and I’ve been going to various exhibitions including the first ever Sydney Readers Festival, and if the weather clears up I plan to spend this weekend looking at the 17th Sydney Biennale. These are great fun to go to with architecture friends as we can talk about the work from what we know, or just trash the work for fun.

UNSW Built Environment Architectural Studies: Patrick Griffen

10 05 2010

Over the summer break I participated in an elective design studio called ‘Project X3‘, which was basically a multidisciplinary design workshop. It was an intensive 2 week course where I was working in a team of students from various degrees, from UNSW Built Environment, COFA, and Engineering. We worked together to design an accommodation facility for a rock climbing company in China; ‘China Climb’ in groups of 5 or 6. I found the experience of working with interior architects, engineers and industrial designers interesting, challenging and a great way to get some experience in collaborative design. Out of the 7 designs presented to the client, ours was chosen to be carried to the next stage of design fabrication and construction. Hopefully the project will be built sometime in the next year or two.

Project X3

With a little break between my summer courses and Semester 1, I began the 3rd year of my degree. This session my subjects include a design studio, an environment course and modelling visualisation course. The design studio this session involves designing an apartment/restaurant complex on a site in North Bondi beach. I’ve spent the first few weeks analysing the site and considering the factors that will influence the outcome of the design process such as views, solar access etc. The work load is quite demanding and there is also a much higher expectation of quality in our work.  At this stage I’ve made a series of design models outlining my current progress.

Another subject I’ve been working hard at is ‘Design Modelling and Visualisation‘  which focuses on of communicating designs through mediums such as computer rendered images. I’ve been learning how to use the software ‘3Ds Max’ to render photo-realistic scenes, which includes modelling objects or buildings then calibrating colour, texture, materials and lighting. The result is a visually impressive looking image which can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from a photograph (if it is a good render). I plan to use the skills I’ve gained in this course in my design courses to present my ideas.

Between huge assignments, I’ve been going surfing and continuing to enjoy the lifestyle of living on campus. There’s a lot more work to come, 3rd year is really interesting so far, but also really intense.