Sunday, February 8, 2015

Complex Buildings Research Studio 500 2014/2015. Systems thinking to Increase Social Capital in Midland

Ph.: Curtin University, Perth WA

This international collaborative project is based in the Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture - School of Built Environment (SoBE) Curtin University (Perth, Australia) and Department of Architecture – Politecnico Di Torino (Torino, Italy).

This Perth-Torino Think Tank joint design research studio is envisaged as having shared objectives, organisational structures and modus operandi at both locations – in Italy and Australia.

Both Torino and Perth are epicentres of social, cultural and economic activities. Perth-Torino Think Tank considers Torino and Perth as knowledge centres where there is great opportunity to develop collaborative research in architecture and urban design. Identifying potential areas of research will begin with the 2014 Torino-Curtin Design Studio.
This International Masters Studio, that includes international tutors together with Curtin Faculty, will be supported on the web with an Interactive NewsBlog on Wordpress and a digital diary accessible to participants only.

The first Perth-Torino Think Tank joint design studio will examine the possibilities of the Midland area to the east of central Perth. It is recognized that Midland has a strategic role in demonstrating how Greater Metropolitan Perth can grow compact. Midland has all the qualities that could make it both an urban hub and a regional centre as it has important links to surrounding employment, residential areas, a town centre precinct, rail connection to Perth City and ready access to the food basket of Perth. Enhancing agribusiness in Midland has the potential to provide a unique and exciting identity to the regeneration of Midland

Back Ground
(extract from Draft Midland Master Plan (MMP) 2014 prepared by Hassell)1
The Master Plan for Midland has been prepared to ensure Midland’s ongoing regeneration. Six clear objectives have been articulated in the Master Plan. These are:
To build a sense of place
To promote economic wellbeing
To promote urban efficiency
To enhance connectivity
To promote social inclusion
To enhance environmental integrity

The Challenge
This project will be considered as part of the overall development of the Helena precinct designated in the MMP 2014 with particular focus on the Railway workshops precinct. The intent is to explore the possibilities of creating an intelligent, ecological appropriate design that respects the site’s cultural and built heritage through adaptive reuse and innovative new uses. One of the key challenges is to minimize building footprints and maximize the regeneration of an urban greenbelt.

Using your understanding of the historical/cultural background of Midland and a responsive systems approach to building design you are to design a tertiary educational science hub, commercial food research facility, including an innovative food processing facility for local produce, and urban farming provisions. Bodies such as the Agricultural Institute Australia, the Australian Institute of Horticulture, Department of Agriculture and Food and Landmark could be involved as occupants of such a facility.

In addition short term accommodation that can be used by visitors associated with education/research facility or with the needs of the new nearby hospital is required. The new design is to utilize the existing railway workshop closest to the Helena River (Locomotive and Railcar building). At ground level a landscaped greenbelt with public facilities is to be used in creating an urban public realm that melds the un-meldable - from the proposed new railway station, around the historic railway workshops to the Helena river greenbelt.

Building requirements

The following enclosed areas are suggested:
Food research/food processing 3,000 m2
Tertiary education science hub 10,000 m2
Residential 80 residential units

These functional areas (which will be over numerous levels) are to form the basis of the design. However other complimentary uses may be included should they form a part of your design strategy. The actual areas (m2) are a guide only.

It is important that the design engages with the heritage building both in context and function

The process
Prior to commencing your design, the following range of GROUP activities will need to be undertaken to fully inform all students of site specific issues, constraints and opportunities. As you would all now recognize design is a collaborative process and discussion of your projects with others is valuable.
All of the activities/deliverables will form part of your folio.

You will be required to develop the following:-

Precedence Studies
A detailed investigation of similar international exemplar projects and their relevance to this project
_ Deliverable: This is to be presented to the studio via electronic presentation (10 slides)

Heritage Study
The site (and precinct) has a rich social, cultural and built form heritage that will contribute to, and inform your design solution.
_Deliverable: This will be a desk top study of the site history and the remaining heritage buildings on the site. This is to be presented to the studio via electronic presentation (3 minute video presentation)

Site Analysis
This involves an analysis of different aspects of the site and its immediate surroundings. Ie topography, existing structures, roads, services, service points, access ways etc
_ Deliverable: diagrammatic drawings with notation (1 x A1 sheet)

Urban Design Strategy/modelling
Develop an understanding of the social, cultural, physical, historical, social, and environmental influences in the broader precinct .How will those influences inform an Urban Strategy for your design proposal.
_Deliverable: diagrammatic drawings (with notations) (2D or 3D optional) (1 x A1 sheet)

Opportunities and constraints
Graphical analysis of the sites environmental, physical, historical, social and cultural opportunities and constraints
_ Deliverable: diagrammatic drawings(2D or 3D optional) with notation (1 x A1 sheet)

INDIVIDUAL design activity will commence with the identification of an aspirational focus.

Aspirational focus/Design Strategy
Focuses on the objectives of the project expressed in MMP (2014) and acquired information from the group submissions, the desired outcomes and the enablers of those outcomes - “this is what the research has identified as being of major importance” and “a range of design principles that will guide and inform your design”. (a design approach or design strategy)
_Deliverable: A1 diagrammatic and written submission (2D or 3D)

Concept Design
1. Master planning - site spatial /planning studies that respond to your Design Strategy, Site Analysis and Opportunity and Constraints analysis.
2. Concept design work that investigates the functional relationship of spaces both vertically and horizontally; volumetric studies (blocking and stacking), planning studies, servicing etc. 
Graphically explore the ideas that support and underpin your “Design Strategy” along with a range of preliminary landscape ideas. _Deliverable: diagrammatic - plans; 3D studies; preliminary landscape plan, preliminary sections, design strategies (3 x A1 sheets)

Schematic Design
Detailed development of the concept design phase providing clarity and context to your “Design Strategy” using developed planning diagrams, elevations, sections, block modeling, photographs, 3D imagery. 
The level of presentation should be suitable to enable a client to full understand the project and the strategies and ideas that underpin the solution.
_Deliverable: diagrammatic - Developed plans and sections, 3D studies. This material should be suitable for a client presentation (6 x A1 sheets)

_Deliverable: The format of the folio is at the discretion of each student. The folio should be compiled to optimize and illustrate your work over the semester. The material contained within the folio should be both written and graphical. In addition to the semester’s “Deliverables” the folio should contain an appendix containing sketches, research, design processes and presentations that contributed to your design process.
This folio also requires photographs of a 1:500 styrene block model of the area from the new railway station to the Helena River to demonstrate the massing and urban design approach.

End note

1) The Master Plan should be read in conjunction with the following: 
_WA Planning Commission’s Directions 2031 and Beyond: a strategic planning strategy that guides Perth’s growth and urban form;

_WAPC’s State Planning Policy 4.2: Activity Centres for Perth and Peel;

_City of Swan’s Midland Activity Centre Master Plan (2013); and

_MRA’s Strategic Plan 2014-2018.

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