Mihaly Slocombe has taught a Design Thesis studio within the Master of Architecture programme at the Melbourne School of Design since 2011. The Melbourne School of Design is part of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. An archive of past studios can be viewed here. This year, the studio will investigate the principles developed by Streets Without Cars. The studio of 15 students will explore the entire City of Yarra municipality, with each student strategically selecting a street in which to develop his or her thesis project. We are pleased to have the support of Councillor Roberto Colanzi from the City of Yarra and Ian Shears from the City of Melbourne, who have enthusiastically agreed to provide guest critiques during the semester.

Core ideas the students will explore

Unsolicited architecture
The architect as urban change agent
Crowdsourced design
Living streets

Themes the students will address

What impact has the automobile had on the urban development of Melbourne? How has the car affected citizens’ quality of life, physical health, sociableness and happiness? Students will explore the possibilities presented by streets without cars: what opportunities exist for alternative street development once the asphalt is removed? How can these changes alter the way public space in Melbourne is used? How can new urban infrastructure weave into the historical fabric of the city? Students’ proposals will establish a future-driven urban design scenario with environmental, social, agricultural and transport sustainability as its focus.

Students’ proposals

Students will establish a project brief for an urban intervention along the street of their choice within the City of Yarra municipality. This will be achieved by seeking feedback from local residents in order to develop a crowdsourced model for development. Design exercises undertaken within the studio will address three core agendas:

  1. Establish a dialogue with the local community about, and raise awareness of, architecture and urban design
  2. Create an urban design proposal that addresses current and anticipated community needs
  3. Explore funding opportunities within the community, local council and beyond.

The Design Thesis studio commenced in late July 2014, with projects due for completion in early November. The research and design work undertaken by the students will be published progressively on this blog.

See more of the students’ work here.

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