Framed by an ecological functionalist view of Architecture as articulated by the Finnish architect and theorist Juhani Pallasmaa, the Regional Studio proposed an architectural project for a semi-public researchers-in-residence facility for professional and amateur astronomers, geologists and earth scientists. PThe project is located on the outskirts of Lightning Ridge, 760km from Sydney and close to the Queensland border. The site is adjacent to active opal-mining fields and appears as a moonscape of mullock humps. It comprises two main levels connected by steeper, largely filled ground. Summers are hot and winters cool to cold but 1.5 metres below ground the temperature maintains a constant temperature of around 22 degrees C.
The studio placed emphasis on the development of the design through an exploration of landscape and the natural and constructed environment. Students investigated, revealed and represented solutions that respond to the landscape. They sought to discover architecture that is a response to Place, not an imposition. Research into the specific nature of the environment was conducted on many fronts and students were expected to develop a comprehensive understanding of the physical context in which they were working as well as an understanding of the social, community and psychological context for the project. Located off the town grid, the projects sought ecologically sustainable solutions for energy generation, water supply and waste management. The studio emphasised hand drawing and hand crafting as a mode of thinking that interacts with making, and the design resolution of the construction systems was a major concern.
Regional Studio Course Convenors:
Professor Glenn Murcutt
Dr. John Gamble
Adjunct Professor Ashley Dunn