Studio 12: Reflections.

This year Studio 12 tackled the difficult problem of housing in mid- to high-rise buildings. The brief revolved around how inhabitants arrive to their homes and make the transition from a city-dweller to a home-dweller. The students worked energetically with models to tease out alternatives to the lobby/lift/fire-stair model that is most often found in this type of housing. Run as an experiment it was interesting to see how many students adopted a ‘village’ approach to their designs. Many designs articulate the individual unit rather than subsume it in an overall form. For example, Athol Ruston developed a horizontal low rise village that is the tipped vertically at the back of the site, providing to distinct neighbourhoods. Ajay Majay added an array of dwellings around courts which provide ample opportunities for gardening providing opportunities for local identity. Matthew West also took a village approach, creating a subtle hill-town around the towers. The scheme also provided a variety of small scaled spaces for neighbours to meet and occupy. Taken as a whole the work in the studio this year’s demonstrates that there are many avenues for densifying existing housing without resorting to demolition, providing for a more sustainable approach to housing as well as one that hopes to encourage sociability in housing estates.