Development | Thoughts: a reaction from a site visit

On one of my visits to the site I, rather than taking photos and observing traffic, light and so forth, sat at a distance (mostly in the park along Little Stanley St) and thought about the immediate context and how this related to the concept of ‘community’ and my design of a community centre. I took down notes in the form of some short sentences and some expanded ideas. The nature of it is fairly abrupt, written as ideas came to me.


“Community is defined by a number of elements such as culture which makes up a people’s identity. Although this identity is always grounded in a place, the intangible identity and the place/location reflect each other and give reference just as longitude and latitude are both needed to define a specific point on the earth’s surface. The physical place always has characteristics which are unique, which allow the person to recognise it through a subconscious feeling. A community engagement centre must understand this first so as to identify these unique qualities and so determine what that feeling is. Once this is achieved, the identity of the community can be better understood and the designer can begin to influence this feeling to provoke alternate feelings, thoughts and experiences thus defining a unique sense of place within the building.”

“This site is in between two thoroughfares. Both are busy and have a fair amount of traffic although the grey st one is transient and fast moving while the southbank side is slow and relaxed.”

“What experiences, thoughts and feelings can the building provide that not only interests the people of both sides but makes them want to stay, to come back, to tell other people?”

“Street level is all important, the buildings here are not engaging or particularly architecturally interesting (apart from the key ones discussed in assign 2) yet people still come here. They come for the activities within the buildings; they are looking at what is happening on street level. The first impression is the ground floor and anything above comes after. Interior experiences seem to be more important.”

“Materials should be ‘honest’ and not too loud. They should create something close to a canvas, a back drop. The community has vibrancy, the people have colour and this should be allowed to be expressed without unnecessary colours and finishes clouding ti. The community has a mix of personalities which combine to form a whole and a mix of materials may be desirable provided they do not become an eclectic jumble;  they must be addressed sensitively and cohesively.”

“Think about a hierarchy of privacy, small and intimate spaces as well as open public space.”

“Do not give it all away at ground floor, create a need for people to explore the building by drawing them through it.”




Development | Programming

The following are spatial relation diagrams which helped develop ideas of space arrangements and led to floor plans. They are a beginning point and the next stage was to expand on them by arranging scaled spaces within a scaled site plan.




Development | Diagramming ideas

The following are a selection of diagrams which explore ideas for a range of elements in including and interactive facade, for laneway style cafe experience, interactive information nodes and others. They represent starting or early ideas which were fed into later design development including 3D modelling and were evaluated based on future site visits.





interactive facade - zinc

node station

inside outside blen

laneway 1


Week 12 | Influence of a real-world scenario

Having a real client, site and so forth has certainly added a positive new dimension to the assignment and generally I think the benefit has been in focussing concentration on developing something which is more ‘realistic’; by adding a degree of practicality which has been absent or at least present in a minor form from previous units.

It seems to me that the earlier units have focused on developing creativity and original ideas and while this is important, the nature of real world practice is that creativity must be controlled or narrowed (as a result of financial and other interests from clients and stakeholders). Therefore it is much easier to have developed creativity and to narrow it than to be taught practicality and then have to widen it. For me, the narrowing process or using real world scenarios in this design project has been interesting in learning to control or to use creativity in an effective way that incorporates the practicalities of the client and site as well as providing an interesting, creative design.

Week 11 | Digital & analogue process


Scaled models offer perspective. Sketches, plans, etc illustrate elements of the design but do not give a complete picture or understanding of how the building works. Scaled models do offer a clear view of how a lot of ideas and elements come together and function (or fail to function) so that the designer might more clearly envision the experiences of the future users. They are a direct form of observation and critique and are useful in the early as well as late stages of the design process. They can illustrate the relationship of materials, the proportions of spaces, the relation to context as well as other attributes including constructive feasibility. The scaled model is a tool and an important one but is one part of the design process and most effective when used in correct conjunction with the other tools.