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Master Design Studio D (individual)

2021 Semester 2

1st year Master of Architecture

This material research + teaching hub explores the design of a material research hub with focuses on site-specificity and sustainable use of materials.
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The project began with the research and application of new material technology. I selected bio cement technology that utilises construction and demolition waste to produce masonry units, creating a smaller carbon footprint than traditional clay bricks. In the first half of the semester, the biocement factory was designed on the north side of the research hub site.

Material technology

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Adaptive reuse & recycling

For the research hub design, three primary materials were selected: Corrugated steel cladding disassembled from Scienceworks, the Pumping station’s brick envelope, and the Biocement masonry produced at the adjacent factory.

Through adaptive reuse and material recycling, the design aims to reduce the embodied energy required for construction.
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Site analysis, response & massing

The site is located in the industrial neighbourhood in Spotswood, adjacent to the Scienceworks, the Pumping Station and the bio cement factory sunken in the ground (designed earlier in the semester). 

In terms of functions, the new research hub offers spaces for material research, public engagement and teaching. The positioning of these functions is informed by the user demographics and their engagement with the existing buildings.

Despite the different architectural styles, the surrounding buildings share the same idea of “shells” containing programmes, which establishes a compositional relationship between them. Also, in response to the external envelopes, the new buildings aim to generate a sense of transition through bridging the Sciencework’s flat roof and the Pumping station’s gable roofs.

On the site, there is a 5m drop towards the river on the east, which presents an opportunity to create two levels to improve the access to the Pumping station and the factory. For the open space, there is a potential for creating a green corridor between the central lawn and the green roof of the factory.
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The design outcome is a series of shells with various roof forms that indicate nuanced relationships with the site contexts. The landscape design incorporates a series of timber decking with seating, rain gardens and permeable paving.
The orientation and juxtaposition of buildings ensure the view from the new entry point on the northwest to the Pumping station. The spaces for public engagement are located close to the existing Scienceworks building for functional continuity.
On the lower level, classrooms are located among the workshop spaces to accommodate theory and practical activities. The informal spaces in between workshops and classrooms accommodate social interactions and informal study.
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