2018 UNSW TEACHING – Extreme Urbanisation Lab, Ahmedabad old city, India

Studio Tutors: Rajiv Kadam, Rob Brown + Carly Martin

2018 | ARCH

UNSW Masters of Architecture + Masters of Urban Design


 This intensive studio allows Master of Architecture and Urban Design students to explore and engage with the contemporary global challenges of rapid urbanisation, affordable mass housing and urban resilience in a context in which these challenges are most amplified. The studio is a collaboration between the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, CEPT and UNSW Built Environment. Students will be required to do an analysis of the existing fabric, traditional urban morphologies and building technologies, (construction and environmental systems) that have sustained the world heritage city of Ahmedabad over many centuries. The challenge is to regenerate and adapt this fabric for 21st century living while maintaining the critical conservation values of the precinct. Students will be expected to propose innovative uses, adaption and architectural interventions that while specific to a place and building, can also be strategically applied as a model for other adaptive reuse projects within the city, providing a compendium of adaptation strategies and lessons for wider application.


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2018 UNSW TEACHING - Lake Pedder Wilderness Encampment

Studio Tutors: Rob Brown + Carly Martin

2018 | ARCH 7111/2

UNSW Masters of Architecture Program Architecture + Design


Contemporary society has placed both advantages and difficulties before the young people of today. We live in a fast-paced world of material affluence, peace, freedom and every changing technology.

On the other side of the ledger, adolescents today can be isolated, be unfamiliar with risk or failure. unsure of boundaries, treated as consumers from a very early age, and suffer from issues of self-esteem or body image. The contours of adolescence are changing.

Current educational practice is rapidly acknowledging the benefits of taking students out of their comfort zone of home and class rooms into nature to an alternative ‘outdoor campus’ to help facilitate personal development, an appreciation of nature, and to develop mental strength to face the challenges of the 21st century.

This project aims to tackle youth resilience and confidence through a high school outpost in the wilderness of Tasmania. The student wilderness encampment will give students the opportunity to discover, explore and strengthen traditional courses of strength, growth and fulfillment which form a diminished part of contemporary thought, life and educational practice. It is the aim of the facility to give students the tools and skills to face the challenges of the 21st century with personal confidence, intellectual versatility, academic hunger and optimism.


The encampment is located in South-West Tasmania – part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The area is remote and far removed from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Lake Pedder itself is a contentious site in this beautiful region. In the 1960s, Lake Pedder became a battleground for one of Australia’s first major environmental struggles, giving birth to the Australian conservation movement. The original Lake Pedder featured a unique 3km long pink quartzite beach, which in 1972 was flooded to provide for a hydro-electric scheme. In more recent times, there has been a renewed push to restore Lake Pedder to its former glory by modifying the hydro scheme and allowing the beach to resurface. The student wilderness outpost will form part of the initiative to realise the return of the lake.


The aim of this studio is to design a wilderness encampment/campus for high school students (12-18 years old) to experience/learn/explore the Tasmanian wilderness. Groups of students will be staying at the campus for varying period of time – from a few days to a few weeks.

The main building and center-piece of the build will be the Lodge, which will contain a reception with communications area, kitchen and dining space for 120, and social space for 120 students/staff. Additional facilities will include teaching spaces with classrooms, an observatory, laundry facilities, storage facilities for outdoor education equipment, staff meeting spaces, and a camping area for 120 students/staff. Accommodation ‘units’ to be provided for students, including common room areas, washroom facilities. Separate staff accommodation must also be provided, which allows adequate supervision of student areas.

The wilderness encampment is to be an educational retreat, not a hotel or indulgent holiday camp – it is an experience of living with less in direct contact with the environment.


Students will be asked to research the history, environment and culture of the South-West Tasmanian wilderness. The aim is to ground the understanding of the project in an understanding of the problems and issues building in or adjoining a World Heritage Wilderness Area, where there are particular issues of conservation and development.

Emphasis will be placed on the students’ capacity to search for meaningful architecture beyond the issues of functional problem solving and pure composition. This should lead to the complex integration of architectural issues resulting in an innovative solution in direct response to the brief, the site, the environment and the concerns of the conservation community. The resolved design should consider issues of cultural appropriateness, building skills in remote locations and environmental appropriateness.

Studio Aim

The studio will provide an opportunity to develop necessary skills for the major design project in graduation year. Students will be exposed to the different methods of research, brief writing,
conceptual development, programmatic diagrams, design process and design testing. The studio will encourage both the traditional art of sketching and the use of the latest 3d/Photoshop/photomontage skills to create a highly descriptive but equally artistic image.

In conjunction with the production of these images the studio will explore the art of model making. These techniques are essential student skills and ideally suited to creating powerful and evocative representations.

Student work

Sasha Lesiuk

Awarded the Andrew Taylor Memorial Prize

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Jincheng Jiang

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Nailah Masagos

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Studio Tutors: Rob Brown, Carly Martin + Jed Long

2017 | ARCH 7111 Design Studio 1

UNSW Masters of Architecture Program Architecture + Design

This is real life project for RAW Impact (Raising Awareness Worldwide) an Australian nongovernmentalorganisation (NGO) working in Cambodia, sited near the Mekong River outside of Phnom Penh. The RAW Impact organization seeks to ‘raise awareness worldwide’ by creating powerful change through sustainable projects in Cambodia. This is done by teams of volunteers from high schools, universities and corporate businesses assisting the poorest rural communities by hands on building projects including schools, community buildings, housing as well as providing education for teachers, agricultural projects health, sanitation and water resources.

 With the rapidly expanding city of Phnom Penh outlying villages are being engulfed as suburbs of the city, many of these villages on the outskirts of the city are slums whose occupants do not own the land they live on. The government policy is to relocate these slum dwellers to a distant agricultural part of the country as part of any redevelopment of the city surrounds. RAW has built a school and individual housing for these slum dwellers to date. In these buildings, RAW has increasingly been looking to use bamboo, which has the potential to be an affordable, sustainable building material for their projects.

Cambodia is home to some of Southeast Asia’s oldest forests, and is losing them through illegal clearing at a rate of 2000 square kilometres every year. This deforestation has seen Cambodia’s rainforest cover decrease from 70% in 1970 to 3% today. Bamboo is a strong, versatile building material that has the potential to largely replace timber products in the construction industry, particularly in Cambodia. RAW is currently sourcing their bamboo externally, but as the growth cycle of bamboo is very short (only a few years), RAW wants to grow and process all their own bamboo. This will also help to reduce costs for their construction projects, allowing them to help even more people. In order to do this, RAW will need to construct a bamboo workshop and factory, which will allow them to process the bamboo to use in construction.

For this project, students will need to develop a comprehensive understanding of the process of planting, growing, harvesting and processing bamboo. It is through this knowledge that the brief for the bamboo workshop will be developed. Students will be asked in groups to develop a comprehensive flow chart for understanding the processing of bamboo.

The workshop/factory building is to be built using mainly bamboo, but students may also choose to use supplementary materials in their design. In addition to this, students will be required to design and build a piece of bamboo furniture or an item which could be produced in their bamboo factory.

Student Work:

Jincheng Jiang

Awards: Renzo Piano Award in Architecture

Siyue Zhang

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Work by Jessica Gottlieb | Graduate Architect at Casey Brown Architecture

2015 | ARCH 7201 Graduation Studio

UNSW Masters of Architecture Program Architecture + Design

Initially responding to a studio brief for unconventional housing -  

‘Excavating the Edge’ responds to the challenge of exploring a totally new kind of city, one that shifts from Australia’s densely populated coast to its under - utilised centre.

The city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is 600km inland from Perth. Along its eastern fringe lies the KCGM Superpit, the world’s fourth largest open cut gold mine. 4km long, 1.5km wide and 600 metres deep, it forms a deep scar in the earth. Its decommissioning in 2021 provides a unique opportunity for rejuvenation.

The design itself is a two-faced puncturing of a man-made berm that currently lines the pit edge and presents a closed wall to the city. All new cut is re-constituted as a multi-functioning rammed earth wall that connects the entire edge. Driven by economic, social, environmental and material imperatives, and serving both private and public uses, the intervention extends and links the city to the pit, suggesting and promoting future growth.

There is an inherent contrast of scale evident in the design, whereby a barren expanse has been broken down, remediated and repurposed. Significant vertical and horizontal relationships are established. Responding to the crudely cut pit, a series of fine geometric edge excavations articulate unconventional, semi-subterranean housing typologies that filter into semi-private courtyards, which open onto public spaces.

The proposal both celebrates and provides protection from the desert climate. It is powered by a solar road / proposed bushwalking track that runs through the mine, and recycles all grey- and black-water. Providing a major economic driver for Kalgoorlie are climate-specific, food-producing greenhouses that utilise the pit groundwater as the primary water source.

The intervention is inherently social, totally self-sustainable and economically viable as an agricultural producer. ‘Excavating the Edge’ represents one exploration of repurposing an exceptional outback landscape for future urban settlement. The potential for similar intervention into other dramatic sites provides future architectural food for thought. 


Awards: -

Masters Graduate of the Year UNSW – Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter 2017

RIBA Presidents Silver Medal - Royal Institute of British Architects 2017 (Nominated)

NSW Design Medal- Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter 2016 (Nominated)

Margot + Neville Gruzman Award for Urban Design - UNSW 2016




Studio Tutors: Rob Brown & Carly Martin

2016 | ARCH 7111 Design Studio 2

UNSW Masters of Architecture Program Architecture + Design


This design studio takes a worldwide view of architecture, and emphasises the important role which architecture can play in assisting communities in need.

The studio will examine the variety of prospects offered by bamboo in architecture, in particular investigating the work of Colombian architect Simón Vélez, who famously described bamboo as “the vegetable alternative to steel”. Perhaps less well known is that other architects including Buckminster Fuller, Frei Otto, Renzo Piano, Toyo Ito and Arata Isozaki also experimented with the versatile material, despite bamboo’s reputation as “the poor man’s wood”.

Over one billion people in the world live in bamboo houses in Asia, Latin America and Africa. In addition to houses, it has been used to make bridges and other buildings, and can be processed to be eaten, fed, exported, turned into paper, used in furniture or even turned into musical instruments. It is a low-tech material with high innovative potential.

Bamboo is affordable, sustainable, lightweight, flexible, and can be easily manipulated - how can it be developed into the architecture of the 21st century?

This project involves designing a self-sufficient community for 100 families using bamboo as the principal building material, as well as associated community buildings (kindergarten, iconic community sheds).


Student Work:

Mengying Li


Junyue Xia


Over one billion people in the world live in bamboo houses in Asia, Latin America and Africa.  In addition to houses, it has been used to make bridges and other buildings, and can be processed to be eaten, fed, exported, turned into paper, used in furniture or even turned into musical instruments.  It is a low-tech material with high innovative potential. 

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