Exploring Regenerative Practice in Architectural Design Processes

Through her practice-focused PhD research, Angelica Rojas has developed an approach that recognises the ability for design processes to enable individual and collective agency, support communities through significant change and increase living systems awareness. In this guest blog on Regenerative Practice, Angelica discusses projects as an opportunity to not only develop design, but also ourselves through an ongoing commitment to reflection and learning.

The Venny adventure playground Kensington, Melbourne. The story of the relocation process of the Venny illustrates how design process can be a medium to support children wellbeing and potential . Photograph Source: Project records City of Melbourne. Photographs by Andrew Wutks.

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Cornucopia

Through storytelling, Andreas Markides reminds us of family and reinforces our concept of “the collective environment”, one human environment integrating the natural and constructed.

Image: Graham Beards.

My family have recently returned from a holiday in the Loire valley, France. We all fell in love with the beauty of the region. A majestic river surrounded by lush countryside and picture postcard villages, dotted around this magnificent landscape.

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Te Whare Pūkākā & The Agile Collective (Part 2)

In Part 1Nick Kapica and Nick Mouat discussed the creation of the Te Whare Pūkākā activity based staff workspace at the College of Creative Arts (CoCA) at Massey University in New Zealand. In Part 2, they share the story of the enabling of the CoCA staff workplace.

Food and drink to forge relationships. Image courtesy of Nick Kapica.

Te Whare Pūkākā, a new Activity Based Workspace for staff at the College of Creative Arts (CoCA) at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand opened in 2015. From day one, Te Whare Pūkākā evolved and responded to user needs. The Agile Collective was proposed as an idea for a group to facilitate Te Whare Pūkākā and evolve its operation without focusing attention on a single individual. The collective would use agile project management to develop evolving working practices within the Te Whare Pūkākā community. Using ‘agile’ in both workplace and project management definitions, the Agile Collective would revisit the original keywords and workplace concept to provide users with an improved workplace experience. By forming a ‘collective’ the responsibility for this evolution aimed to not focus on an individual and thus avoid hierarchical structures.

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Te Whare Pūkākā & The Agile Collective (Part 1)

There has been significant evolution in the design of commercial work spaces from cellular offices to hot-desking, Activity-Based Workplaces, co-working, and now, hybrid working. Academic workplaces however, have been much more resistant to change. Massey University’s College of Creative Arts (CoCA) in Wellington, New Zealand, provides a valuable exemplar in the exploration of new ways of working in the tertiary sphere. In this two-part blog, Nick Kapica and Nick Mouat share the story of the making and enabling of the CoCA staff workplace.

The central ‘forge’ meeting, eating & sharing space. Image courtesy of Nick Kapica.

When a new workspace for staff at the College of Creative Arts (CoCA) opened in 2015 it quickly gained attention within Massey University and also externally as an exciting exploration into Activity Based Working and Co-working. Te Whare Pūkākā (which loosely translated from Māori means the Hothouse) quickly helped staff discover other ways of working, improving their workplace experience, becoming more efficient, and building a healthy community. Within the first six months a number of other colleges began exploring similar principles, seeking advice from the CoCA design team and coming to use Te Whare Pūkākā to understand the experience, the possibilities and challenges it presented for the community who use it.

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Architecture Beyond Buildings: Reframing Sustainable Design

As we become increasingly aware of the need for regenerative design, Jim Gall discusses traditional architectural perspectives of sustainability and the need for architects to re-think design to ensure a more sustainable future.

Image courtesy of Jim Gall.

An overarching problem for now and the future is the design and making of human habitation that can sustain and be sustained by the ecosystems that support it. This makes sense as the way humans can continue to inhabit the Earth.

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Southbank Centre – the most vibrant arts centre in the country

Southbank Centre is an organisation whose deep cultural output and audience engagement
requires that they are skilled in curating experiences that embrace every dimension of time
from the most ephemeral to the most enduring, within architecture, landscape and events
across their entire site. Steven Smith of urban narrative discusses how low cost temporary interventions were used as part of the festival programme to test ideas before making commitments to expensive permanent alterations
.

Southbank Centre is the largest integrated arts foundation in the world. Created in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, the 21-acre site on the Thames Embankment includes Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, the Hayward Gallery, and the Saison Poetry Library.

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LLV Life (Part 2): Enabling a bold idea for education

Traditional schooling models, characterised by cellular classrooms and ‘chalk and talk’, have been prominent since the Industrial era. Although there’s been much discussion around the need to evolve this model to one which is more engaging and relevant for today’s students, from the limited number of schools that have successfully shifted from conventional structures, it is evident how difficult this is to do. Fiona Young and Meredith Ash share the unique story of the Lindfield Learning Village.

Image courtesy of Lindfield Learning Village.

Lindfield Learning Village (LLV) in Sydney, Australia, is an innovative  K-12 public school which challenges traditional educational approaches whilst demonstrating excellence in practice and outcomes. Located 20 minutes from the CBD, in an iconic neo brutalist building fringed by the Ku-ring-gai national park , the school opened in 2019. Its unique educational model, based on stage-not-age, student-centred and real world interdisciplinary learning, has attracted widespread interest with wait-lists of up to 2500 students.

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LLV Life (Part 1): A student’s perspective

Lindfield Learning Village is a progressive new K-12 comprehensive school located at the former Ku-ring-gai College of Advanced Education site in Sydney, Australia. The school has attracted widespread interest for its innovative approach to education and is one of the three schools profiled in the recent documentary New School, which presents the challenges of 21st-century education and explores the importance of design in generating productive responses. Although students are one of the primary users of schools, they rarely have the opportunity to contribute to or provide feedback on the design of their learning environments. This guest blog offers a perspective from a Stage 3 student who recently joined Lindfield Learning Village.  

Lindfield Learning Village is located on the site of the former William Balmain Teachers College (Sydney, Australia) which originally opened in 1971. It later became the Ku-ring-gai College of Advanced Education followed by the University of Technology Sydney, before being acquired by the NSW Department of Education in 2014.


This year I started at a new school, Lindfield Learning Village. Now it wasn’t all sunshine☀️ and rainbows🌈 but I got there in the end. LLV is the most hands-on school I know and I like that about it.

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Briefing against risk (Part 2)

In Part 1, Simon Foxell discussed the need to refocus our approach to projects and our professional duty to discover whether the briefing we deliver is effective and results in the intended outcomes in countering risk. Here, he addresses how we need to respond to the challenges of concurrently managing demographic change and reversing damage to the environment in a joined-up way.

Image source: David Eccles

The temptation on the part of governments faced with major challenges could well be a regulatory move to a rigid system with a limited number of solutions intended to deliver certainty. This represents the very antithesis of briefing, with its explorative and open-ended approach, configured to encourage innovation and bespoke solutions to individual problems. Voices may warn policymakers that rigid systems rarely succeed and, with a horse that has already bolted, a far more responsive approach is required; but the temptation to enact strict dirigiste measures may be overwhelming. Briefing urgently needs to develop an alternative to this that combines certainty on a range of outcomes, a relaxed approach to others; possibly including matters of zoning, style or privacy; with flexibility on how they can and should be delivered. Outcome-based briefing and specification is, of course, not new, but the imperative to make it work is that much greater.

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Briefing against risk (Part 1)

In this two-part guest blog, Simon Foxell discusses the challenges of briefing in the context of risk and uncertainty and the need to address concurrent issues of managing demographic change and reversing environmental damage.

Image source: Birdman photos

We live in a risky and increasingly, riskier, world, or at least a world where we are much more aware of risk than ever before and tend to employ avoidance strategies of numerous sorts. That such strategies rarely address real risks and prefer to focus on perceived ones with their, now familiar – but apparently almost impossible to contain, cognitive biases shouldn’t obscure the need to factor in real future risks. Briefing is, amongst other things, a matter of effectively, and with the right tools, projecting rationally into the future, describing its needs and dangers and flagging up possible ways of dealing with them. It is a means of coping with uncertainty by gathering and interpreting information that reduces that uncertainty. It attempts to mitigate risk: to the project, but also to the wider context – social and environmental – and much else beyond.

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