Bold designs by architecture students to address real city challenges

14 December 2015
The 2015 Architecture Graduate Exhibition until 15 January 2016

Each year the University of Sydney's Architecture Graduate Exhibition presents bold designs by final year undergraduate and postgraduate students, who have reimagined important city landmarks and spaces in response to hypothetical briefs. This year's design showcase is no exception.

The University of Sydney’s Associate Professor Lee Stickells, Head of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning said: “Our students have engaged in current issues facing our cities and the built environment in Australia and overseas. They have tackled real-world problems with indepth analysis, enormous imagination, and technical skill. After several years teaching in this Faculty, the student work in the annual graduation show never ceases to surprise and inspire me.”

Following recent news that the Powerhouse Museum may move to Parramatta, Bachelor of Design in Architecture students were given the task of designing an offshoot gallery in Sydney’s CBD for temporary architectural exhibitions.

A location behind The Mint on Hospital Road was picked to test students’ capacity to imagine links between Macquarie Street and nearby Domain parkland with the Art Gallery of NSW. The speculative exercise proposed to build a ‘gateway’ from the city and Domain to the cultural institution’s new home and collection in Sydney’s west.

In developing their architectural works, students considered the proto-computational thinking of Sydney Opera House architect, Jørn Utzon, as a starting point for developing their own 3D designs. Digital modelling gave the students extended tools for imaginative testing and unexplored modes of physical production.

Similarly, Master of Architecture students were given three hypothetical tasks to re-envisage key buildings earmarked for development in the University of Sydney’s Campus Improvement Program (2014-2020). These included a building to accommodate a new Life Sciences Faculty; redevelopment of the historic Macleay Museum as a cultural precinct; and a new building to replace the Wilkinson Building, currently housing the student’s own Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning.

In tackling the designs, students were rethinking ways that the University could present itself to the city, and engage the Sydney community at its Camperdown and Darlington campuses.

A further two studios of Masters students created the library of the future and a 21st century, inner city school for Sydney. A research library was reimagined for the Australian Institute of Architects at Tusculum in Potts Point. While innovative designs for a new primary school in Ultimo, which would also act as a community hub to include a library, gym, child care facilities and performance spaces, were developed.

Looking internationally to Tokyo where the relationship between building and infrastructure continues to intensify in novel ways, a group of Masters students who took part in the Hezlet Bequest travelling studio in Japan during the latter part of this year, show their final projects.

The studio investigated the relationship between architecture and infrastructure, with a focus on Tokyo’s main circular subway, the Yamanote line, as an architectural structure. The project tested the value of architecture against the city’s transport needs and framework for city growth. It included a comparative urban analysis of Sydney’s major train stations in Central, Townhall, Chatswood and Blacktown.

Architectural models, drawings and digital designs of the graduating Masters students are on display in Tin Sheds Gallery at the University of Sydney until 15 January 2016 (closed 18 December-3 January).