Australia Does Not Exist

Bachelor of Architectural Design – Design Studio, Semester 1, 2018

STUDIO LEADERS: Stasinos Mantzis and Christine Phillips

Tags BASBAS2018Sem1Christine PhillipsStasinos Mantzis

In this studio, you will be asked to design a new building for the National Gallery of Victoria sited at Federation Square East.  It will house new and old Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art works, performance spaces and outdoor public space and gardens.

Situated adjacent to Federation Square and bounded by the Yarra River and Flinders Street, the site raises challenging urban issues which will be investigated throughout the semester.  Given Federation Square has been criticised for its poor connection to the Yarra River, how can a new gallery better connect to the river and also connect with the city and Federation Square?

The commodification of Australian aboriginal art has been contested by notable figures like Richard Bell, but the current lack of a major public gallery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artworks is also problematic.  As architects, this building will raise the question of how non aboriginal architects should best engage with cultures and histories that are not their own and how aboriginal architects can contribute to this complex problem.

The studio will form part of our ongoing research into the idea of building type and how this can be reinvented, in this case, a public gallery, as civic and public spaces. We are also interested in the cultural, historical and material conditions of a site and how an examination of these conditions can help construct a new civic narrative for the area.

The studio objectives are:

• Research and respond to the idea of a colonised country and how we might design a future architecture charged by multiple histories and different cultures