Architecture, Building and Planning - Theses

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    Learning environment affordances: Bridging the gap between potential, perception and practice
    Young, Fiona ( 2020)
    Over the past decade, there has been significant investment into new school buildings in Australia. This period of educational facility growth has given rise to the emergence of innovative learning environments (ILEs), spaces which exhibit a wider range of affordances for learning than traditional classrooms. Whilst ILEs are intended to offer more pedagogical opportunities for teachers and students, little is known about how the affordances of ILEs are being used. This study clarifies the concept of affordances within the context of physical learning environments, identifies how affordances are perceived by architects and teachers, and synthesises a range of strategies to support teachers to take advantage of ILE affordances to enhance deeper learning. The research is embedded within an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project called Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change (ILETC), which investigates how teachers across Australia and New Zealand can be supported to use ILEs to achieve deep learning goals for their students. This qualitative research project was conducted as two distinct studies. The first study involved investigating teachers’ and architects’ perceptions of affordances for learning across traditional and ILE spaces in five educational facilities. The second study investigated teachers’ understandings and use of affordances in support of pedagogies for deep learning. An innovative methodological pairing of participatory action research (PAR) and co-design was employed to work with teachers from two secondary schools to develop understandings of the processes by which new learning spaces can be actioned for deep learning. Data were collected through workshops, semi-structured interviews and teacher reflections. Findings show differences in the perceptions of teachers and architects with respect to learning environment affordances, with teachers found to perceive more affordances for learning than architects. A taxonomy of affordances for varied teaching and learning approaches was also identified. Furthermore, strategies were developed to support teachers to take advantage of the affordances of ILEs. These strategies related to connections between infrastructure, school organisation and teacher practice.
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    Ethno-Architectural Contextualization of Housing for Smart Villages: A Multi-case Study in Assam, India
    Katharpi, Velyne Ingti ( 2020)
    Based on the Gandhian Philosophy of Adarsh Gram and Gram Swaraj, Smart Villages is a concept to enable rural development and bridge the rural-urban gap in India. It aims to empower the village and its residents to be self-dependent and active contributors towards holistic development of the country. As such, the ‘barefoot college’ in the village of Tillonia, Rajasthan, India, exemplifies the concept by showing that the rural people are able to thrive when given the right tools and environment. It does not imply that the rural has to become urban, but rather, it encourages and demonstrates how the knowledge and technology can be contextualised to the rural. Hence, the Smart Assam Project was developed in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, in collaboration with Assam Engineering College, Guwahati, Assam, India, to provide the environment to conduct research on creating Smart villages. The thesis explains the research problem that though there have been efforts to develop the rural, being regarded as backward in comparison to its urban counterparts instead of recognising the merits of ruralism and rurality, the approach taken towards housing is the same as an urban construction that its results are not as satisfactory to the residents, thereby, failing to contribute holistically towards development. As such, this thesis undertakes a contextualist pragmatic approach to gather and analyse data to develop an Information Framework, which enables the collation and dissemination of information regarding housing design and construction trends in the rural context, aiding a user-oriented bottom-up approach to rural housing. The research is divided into eight chapters where the first chapter states the aim, objectives, and research questions. It defines the scope of the research by focussing on architectural design and construction trends that shape the houses in the diverse socio-cultural contexts of four villages belonging to different ethnic cultures, across the districts of Karbi Anglong East, Karbi Anglong West, and Dima Hasao. As such, the research question addresses the aim and objectives of the research in three steps or sub-research questions. The first addresses the village and its surrounding regions as the causative context while addressing the household, family units and their houses as the subject that demonstrate the effect of the context to understand the causal process within the village. The second addresses the main causes that influence the architectural design and construction trends in the village among the elements that shape the causative context; and finally, the third addresses the missing components within the existing approach to incorporate it into a framework to enable better implementation of rural housing. In the second chapter indicates the scope of the research based on the understanding of rural, the rural-urban gap, the relevance of housing in rural development, and the role of architecture and architects in rural housing. The literature defines the research gap in approach, implementation and perception of rural housing schemes that deters the development of Smart villages. It shows that the socio-cultural aspects of the rural are relevant to the architecture and hence the rural construction trends. As such, a theoretical foundation is developed called Ethno-architectural contextualisation, based on the design-oriented research of environment-behaviour studies by Amos Rapoport (1963) and culture-oriented research of ethno-architecture by Gerard Toffin (1991). In the third chapter, the contextualist pragmatic approach helps shape a multi-case study research strategy which incorporates methods like cultural mapping, to study the village level causative context, and behaviour settings, to study the household level affected result, and analytic induction as a process of analysis to explain the causal process in both the village and the household levels of data collection. For the cultural mapping, transect walks and focus group discussions are conducted to gather data on the socio-cultural, socio-economic, historical, and environmental contexts. A questionnaire survey is conducted among the households to map the population based on the demographic data and socio-economic context of the village. This, along the house-type date of the households, helps to select five cases for the behaviour settings which is aided by an Interview-based projective technique and the AEIOU framework, a mnemonic coding structure, is used to analyse house layouts based on Activity, Environment, Interaction, Objects and User. The data is presented in the following fourth and fifth chapters based on the village scale data and household scale data, respectively. In the fourth chapter, the cases are presented according to the data collected in the transect walk and the focus group discussion that shares the designing and construction principles of the traditional house, before discussing the elements of the cultural ecology of each village. They are discussed based on accessibility and connectivity, historical background, socio-cultural practices and traditions, communication and knowledge sharing, community infrastructure, livelihood, resources and services and the traditional house. In the fifth chapter, due to brevity, only eight, out of the 18 household cases studied in the household level data collection process, are documented. The household is discussed based on the changing house layouts that have come about due to reconstruction, renovation or adding extensions to the house. Using the AEIOU framework, each house is presented and analysed to demonstrate the evolution of the house resulting from the contextual influences of the village. In the sixth chapter, the collective analysis of the preceding chapters of the context, the village and the subject, the architectural design and construction trends of housing is discussed as a complete process in the rural cultural. Through the discussions of the rural cultural ecology, the first sub-research question is answered. This leads to the discussion on the main causes that influences the housing practice and construction trends, which are multi-culturism and cultural assimilation, the role of the government and the role of the construction industry itself, thereby answering the second sub-research question. This leads to the suggested guidelines that need to be incorporated into rural housing scheme to promote a user-oriented bottom-up approach to housing, which answers the third sub-research question. In the seventh chapter, based on the discussion and suggestion from chapter six, the pragmatic contextualist approach encourages the research to revise a typical construction lifecycle project and contextualise it to a rural housing scheme implementation process. The process includes an information framework after the initiation stage and before the planning stage of the construction lifecycle that brings different key roles relevant to a user-oriented bottom-up rural housing in a collaborative approach to build effective forms of shelter. As a result, the Information Framework is used to inform the beneficiary of the skills, materials, and construction methods available to construct a self-built house through the rural housing scheme, thereby answering the main research question of the thesis. The eighth and final chapter reviews the progress of the research by providing a summary of each chapter and concluding the thesis with discussions of the contributions, limitation, and recommendations. In conclusion, this research set out to investigate a way to bridge the rural-urban gap through housing. In doing so, the literature review emphasized on the relevance of architecture and the role of architects in rural housing, which is unfortunately lacking in practice. The pragmatic contextualist approach of the research shapes a multi-case study research strategy which allows the researcher to conduct a research in two levels, the village level across four villages and the household level among 18 households. With the surplus of data regarding the causative context, the village, and the evolving nature of architectural design and construction practice, the analysis addressed the research questions that were presented in the first chapter, thereby explaining the rural cultural ecology, defining the main causes of architectural evolution, and producing suggestions for developing a user-oriented bottom-up approach to existing rural housing schemes. As a result, an information framework was developed based on the research methodology and the ensuing data collection and analysis process of gathering, processing, and collating data to disseminate information towards a well-informed implementation of the rural housing scheme.
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    The architecture of film: Tarr, angelopoulos and how to ride a wild horse
    Amouzad Khalili, Hamid ( 2020)
    With the dawn of moving images, architects started to develop an interest in studying and utilizing film for theorizing, critiquing and representing architecture. In recent years, a myriad of books and academic papers by architectural theorists have been published around the strong relationship between architecture and film. Simultaneously, leading architecture schools established subjects concerning the two interlocking arts, some academics dedicated their research career to studying the relationship between film and architecture, post-graduate degrees on film and architecture were devised and architects and architecture students have been involved in a significant trend toward creating architectural animations and film. However, despite the advances of digital filming and editing and its availability to the public, sophisticated technologies of lighting, modeling, simulation and texturing in CGI programs used by architecture students, architectural films and animations commonly present certain shared symptoms such as fast and disturbing camera movements, aimless editing, weak compositions and narrative-less montages. These symptoms reveal an unfortunate truth that architects still do not know how to use the moving images effectively, and this knowledge has yet to be successfully transferred to the discipline of architecture. This dissertation traces the roots of this challenge and tackles it in a series of research activities. This thesis proposes a toolbox named the ‘film-architecture matrix’ that can be used as a matrix of film design and analysis. Within the thesis, this film-architecture matrix is employed as an analytical tool in three chapters. The dissertation puts forward a pedagogical framework for teaching filmmaking to architects and utilizes the film-architecture matrix as the main design generator. In addition, this dissertation takes on the task of presenting and critically examining the two filmmakers, Bela Tarr and Theo Angelopoulos to architectural discourse. It is argued that the cinema of Tarr and Angelopoulos, and the cinematic movement represented by them known as ‘slow cinema’, entails certain features that make them useful studies to the field of architecture and can influence the quality of architectural films and animations, and the discipline of architecture in a broader sense.
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    Mystic Media: A Historical Account of Technological Transcendentalism within the Immersive Multimedia Environments of the 1960-70s
    Lovell, Jonathan Paul ( 2019)
    Throughout history, there has been a recurring impulse for artists to create Immersive Multimedia Environments (IMEs), which through the combined force of multiple artistic and communicative mediums, surround and suffuse the entire sensory field of their audience with the aesthetic stimuli required to construct an alternate reality. The first declarations of this impulse were often found in religious architecture; however, echoes of this ideal are heard throughout the last two centuries, from Richard Wagner’s demands for the Gesamtkunstwerk to the rhetoric of cyberspace that occurred at the turn of the millennium. This dissertation argues that many of these total works of art are designed with the intentions of implicating embodied and environmental phenomena, as a means of generating transcendental experiences within their audiences. To elaborate upon this contention within a detailed context, this thesis focuses on the Expanded Cinema movement of the 1960s and 70s. The ambitions of this movement were to invent a new cinematic language by deconstructing and reconstructing media technologies (film, video, computer graphics), live performances (theatre, dance, music) and the architecture of their presentation, so that audiences may become an integral part of the art. However, according to Gene Youngblood’s influential account of the movement called Expanded Cinema (1970), this scene of aesthetic inquiry had quickly accrued the transcendentalist rhetoric of the era, such as that espoused by the counterculture and Marshall McLuhan. To these artists, Expanded Cinema used the combined power of the psychedelic and cybernetic as means of experimenting with the embodied and environmental methods of expanding consciousness. To highlight the architectural contribution to this movement, this research conducts a cross-sectional and comparative study on how three IMEs of the Expanded Cinema movement employed different spatial strategies to curate the phenomenological and epistemological conditions that can evoke transcendental experiences within their audiences. Specifically, it explores the Labyrinth (1967), Cerebrum (1968), and the works of Pulsa (1966-73), by interviewing the people involved with these projects and investigating archival materials. These accounts are measured against the technological-mysticism found within Marshall McLuhan’s influential media theory, and against the psychological, sociological and anthropological discourse that best explain transcendental phenomena.
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    Urban narratives : museums + the city
    Norrie, Helen Janeen ( 2013)
    Cities provide the backdrop for contemporary life, with more than half the population of the world now living in urban areas. Cities provide the armature for both the everyday and for ceremony and ritual, establishing routines of movement, spectacle and meaning that are inherent to the conception, perception and lived urban experience. This study investigates the relationships between individual buildings and the 'site' in which they are located, highlighting the experience of the city as a series of related spaces, rather than merely as a set of individual objects. Contemporary theoretical conceptions of 'site' as a constructed concept are central to the argument, which contests that the relationships between buildings and context can be established through the orchestration of traversable (physical), visual, or conceptual connections. Three case studies - the British Museum in London, the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Jewish Museum Berlin, all recent extensions to existing institutions - provide an exploration of the experience, spectacle and meaning of the museum within the 'site' of the city. This study examines the institutional narratives of museums and cities, both the rhetorical narratives that underpin conceptual meaning and associations, and the spatial narratives that are derived from the. orchestration of movement, spectacle and the perception of meaning through experience. This study proposes that through physical paths or traversable spaces; vistas or visual connections; and conceptual associations or theoretical ideas, the relationship between buildings and sites cans be understood as a constructed 'terrain of engagement'. This provides ways to consider the agency of architecture to assist in orchestrating connections between the museum and the physical and conceptual context of the contemporary city.
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    Architectural design studio and the real world out there : an investigation of content in Architectural Design Studio at three faculties of Architecture in Australia from years 1-5 (2003-2007)
    Maturana, Beatriz Cristina ( 2011)
    In Anglophone countries, architects appear disengaged from the public realm despite professional bodies' policies. Critics frequently blame architectural education's core pedagogy, design studio. This research examined studio handouts from Australian universities against professional design brief criteria, and by discourse analysis, seeing how studios might contribute. Few studios aimed to solve problems, most focusing on form-making and aesthetics, under-stressing social, environmental and financial issues, sometimes unintentionally. But rare, conceptually 'thicker' proposals often targeted social housing and engagements with the 'real world.'
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    SAPE : some architectural publications and ethics which requires the positing of a meta-ethics of Architecture
    Brown, Bernard Hugh ( 2008)
    The scholarly journals of architecture are a likely rich source to mine for matters of ethical concern pertinent to architecture. The thesis launches from this premise and develops a research tool, grounded in corpus linguistics and content analysis, to identify words in the essays of four important scholarly journals that are placeholders for matters of ethical concern. The result of this word-mining is the Ethical Universal Scholar of Architecture (Eusa). She is invited into the text of the thesis to make her own commentary on matters in general, and specifically on her four most important matters of ethical concern. Her commentary is interesting enough but if left here the thesis would leave itself open to the criticism that its findings are only constituted by the author's common sense, and Eusa's limited universe, which shows no knowledges of contemporary ethical discourse. For an informed discourse to continue an intellectual framework is required and this ought to be a Meta-ethics of architecture. From the literature it is readily apparent that this does not exist and, encouraged by a call from a few authors for such a construct, the thesis temporarily sets Eusa aside, and goes about to design and construct this Meta-ethics. The thesis, on sound historic grounds, defines the necessary and sufficient conditions for an entity to be named architecture to be that it must be both practical shelter and art. It now appropriates Rorty's propositions on liberal society and axiomatically names the Meta-ethics of architecture as the structure that, in the first place, separates practical shelter and art and deems them incommensurable. It names them the Creative Ethics and the Practical Ethics of architecture. Having done this it observes that architecture, because of its means of production, the material of its medium, and the immutability of the completed concrete artefact, is unlike other art forms and demands that decisions be made in the face of the self created incommensurables of the Practical and Creative Ethics. To effect this, the thesis turns to the affective valuing of Elizabeth Anderson, whilst not ignoring the limited usefulness of consequentualist ethics, makes the central claim that it is not irrational to make decisions and then act on them on the basis of the way we feel, provided we open them up for inter-subjective agreement. Eusa's is returned to, and her utterances, her fragments of texts, her four most important matters of ethical concern are re-interrogated to enable them to be located in the meta-ethics of architecture. This is done and the matrix is cross tabulated with the way she deploys, most probably in ignorance, affective valuing to adequately express her feelings towards the things that matter. The contents of the matrix are considered closely to identify where incommensurability, exists and then to deploy the affective reading of Eusa's utterances to ascertain if it does, or could, effect reconciliation. This is the test of the Meta-ethics in praxis, enabled by affective valuing.
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    Thinking through the space of the body : a performance account of the body and architecture
    Smitheram, Jan ( 2008)
    In the last few decades, there has been a shift within the humanities: may from text, may from objects, away from monuments, and from this the process of reading cultural objects as representations of cultural production. What has been highlighted instead is the dynamic processes of culture - the performative. This shift in emphasis is also shaping the discipline of architecture. Central to this shift in perspective is the focus on the body as a site and medium for understanding processual relations, which augments representational thinking, where architecture is framed, contemplated and mastered by man-as-subject through distance and objectivity. The analysis in this thesis investigates the ways in which the body is thought about in the explicitly theoretical works of both Judith Butler and Deleuze and Guattari, which emphasise a performative understanding of the space of the body. In turn, this thesis then looks at how the 'spacing of the body' is physically and conceptually realised through the performative spatial practices of Arakawa and Gins, Bernard Tschumi and Grundei Kaindl Teckert. Chapter Seven integrates theoretical and practical investigations through Learning-by-Making as a representative case study. The crucial point of this project is to suggest that the constraints and the restrictions that are imposed on the body are not just symbolic and discursive but also impact on the 'lived body.' This thesis also focuses on how the spacing of the body, through a performative rhetoric, becomes a site of utopian possibilities and dissolution, where neither mind, body nor space is privileged. In this framework the agency of the material is understood as an affective force in the construction of meaning. Thus the 'spacing of the body' is explored in this thesis as a composition of the two terms performance and performativity as a way to understand how the spacing of the body is both constrained by normative relations and also produced through bodily experience which privileges the concept of affect.