As the Architecture and Design Graduate Exhibition moves online this year, the home of the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, the Wilkinson building, continues to remain present within the imagery and psychology of the students as we all make sense of an upturned world.
Students continued to use Wilkinson as a design and experimentation space, meeting with their peers to work on group projects and sharing the challenges and joys of working on design projects.
The exhibition presents students with a timely question: How do we, will we, personally and collectively make sense of these times? This year's catalogue brings together thoughts from students and academics that accompany a selection of graduating student projects across the architectural degrees that display ingenuity, invention and creativity.
When considering the future in a world that has been unsettled, an architectural education is arguably vital grounding as it teaches critical thinking and problem solving; strengthens practical and logistical reasoning while cultivating the imagination.
Themes around using those skills to harness opportunities to rebuild a better, more equitable world, were pondered by over 600 graduating students (300 whom participated in the exhibition) across six degrees.
Integrating Architecture and Design disciplines, the exhibition is presented and discoverable not simply by degree alone, but also through common themes that run across courses and types of projects undertaken.
“2020 was a year of many changes. One of those changes is that we are all spending more time online, from meeting with others to collaborating via online tools. The graduates from the University of Sydney’s design programs are well-equipped to create these new working environments and to shape new ways of working together,” said Associate Professor Dr Martin Tomitsch, Chair of Design at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning.
The Masters of Architecture this year offered eight different design briefs that provided students with an array of opportunities to depart from, to explore and to experiment with architecture, generating an exciting body of varied work. Ideas ranged from designing a Body Bio Bank, to a civic hub, to reimagining Kafka's Castle.
“This year sees the first cohort of students graduating from our Master of Design which equips students with skills in the areas of strategic design and design innovation,” says Dr Tomitsch.
“These graduates will be able to bring people together through using design thinking and lead initiatives within organisation by taking a design-led, people-centred approach.
“It’s an exciting and much-needed contribution to the Australian workforce, in particular during times of global challenges that are disrupting industries.
"Technology is advancing more rapidly than ever before. The range of projects demonstrate that our graduates are able to work with technology as a material, being led through a human-centred lens. Ultimately, it’s the ability to think creatively and being able to apply that way of thinking to a range of contexts that makes our graduates stand out in the field.
“The graduation show is a great tribute to our students’ ability to think both creatively and analytically, coming up with ideas and critically evaluating them.”