Floating Cities

Graduating Project: Alan Lau Te Hong

Supervisors: Sand Helsel + Gretchen Wilkins

nominated for Australian Institute of Architects Joint Industry Graduate Prize for Excellence

Tags AIA Graduate Prize for ExcellenceBioGraduating ProjectGretchen WilkinsHighlightSand Helsel

The floating city is a temporary mobile float-in communal facility to help facilitate suburbs along the Port Phillip Bay. Buildings on barges can come and go whenever required. They are imagined through a series of montages depicting how they might engage with their surroundings when they dock at the pleasure piers. The project focuses on designing the local stations to build and receive the barge facilities, proposing different strategies which can be replicated for different sites.

The master port in Melbourne docklands aims to promote a mix of industrial areas within the CBD to achieve a working city, by creating an environment where industrial docks share its flexible spaces with the public. Here, barges are built, maintained, resupplied and stored alongside the newly designed waterfront, and may float in the sea when they are not on a mission, like an archipelago of floating cities. Hence, the juxtaposition of different programs creates new experiences and exuberance as the new CBD extension.

On a smaller community scale, the design of a pleasure pier in North Geelong acts as a bridging device for the disconnected residential and industrial area. It adopts a mixed-use strategy which allows it to be used by the community when barges are not docked, such as boat building or related industrial trades. In conclusion, the project explores the possibilities and advantages of flexibility and temporariness to help accommodate Melbourne’s future growth, questioning whether we are building too much, as in the case of the current docklands.