Winner Leon van Schaik Medal
In Search of a Suburban Domain is a hypothesis on an evolving social crisis in Melbourne’s middle and outer suburbs.
Melbourne’s suburbs continue to be labelled as a place of ‘soulless beings’, a product of spatial polarization that is recasting the landscape of our city. This major project aims at removing this label by bringing the event to the suburbs and providing families and individuals with an architecture that is symbolic, active and representational of a new beginning.
The project is set in 2031 and the current urban growth boundary has been revised and placed within a 30km radius of the city in order to restrict development and absorb a forecasted population increase of 49000 people beyond South Morang. In doing so, we have been forced to re-think unconventional sites for living and increase density to support and seed public activity that is currently minimal, scattered and ad hoc within the middle and outer suburban rings.
In order to successfully form public domain, a new infrastructural system has been put in place that merges both housing, rail and public space to invert our inhabitation trends, unify the suburbia and eliminate the continuing trends of division and displacement. The proposal is intended to act as a catalyst that injects itself into an existing town centre and amplifies public activity through large scale entertainment and sports, as a way to intensify, bring together and restart the suburbs. This architecture takes form of a stadium that amplifies and celebrates an existing sporting culture, and becomes fractured, inverted and manipulated to establish new relationships with its context.
The intent of this major project is to rethink infrastructure, scale and suburbs to facilitate a public space that allows the suburban dweller to experience essential social and physical interaction and be exposed to an active lifestyle that can create a sense of self-worth and belonging in a collective society.