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saturated terrains

REALMstudios and Queensland University of Technology recently co-curated a speculative design studio in Brisbane with 2nd and 3rd year architecture and landscape architecture students in QUT’s School of Architecture and Built Environment. The two-week intensive studio over July-August 2023, intended to foster collaboration between students and professional practice, was also supported by Brisbane City Council, JDA Architects, Bligh Tanner, Alluvium and Landscapology.

 

Led by REALMstudios’ research lead and QUT lecturer Dr. Dan Nyandega, the studio challenged the students to explore saturated terrains while balancing diverse considerations: environmental resilience, community evolution, biodiversity outcomes, the economics of urban development. The subject site for the investigations was the recently saturated terrains of Brisbane’s Kedron Brook and the adjacent Toombul Shopping Centre, boarded-up after the 2022 floods, now marked for demolition and future redevelopment.

Three distinct propositions emerged from the studio explorations:

RIDING THE WAVES speculated on ways of designing and acting in uncertain futures through adaptability, inbuilt resilience, and regeneration. The project was framed by three key strategies: partial relinquishment and renewal, circular systems, and landscape as memory.

This proposition included; Sophie Richards, Kim Khov, Dylan Nguyen, Suki Tang and Ella O’Sullivan. 

SATURATED TERRAINS aimed to reconnect the site and its surrounding community, reclaiming local land and creek aquatic and intertidal ecosystems, and transforming the site into a new community hub accommodating a complex mix of urban programs. The project was framed by three key strategies, reshaping landform (water), renewing the value(ecosystem) and returning to the community(people).

This proposition included; William Bradford, Angie Feng and Taylor Nunn. 

FLOATING GROUNDS recognises that the site remains a wet territory with varying degrees of saturation and inundation. The project embraces the presence of water in all its manifestations, rather than resisting its actions, exploring modes of co-existence between water, humans, more than humans and natural systems. The project was driven by the celebration of water, the layering of infrastructure, and the creative repurposing of spaces, materials, and processes.

This proposition included; Hannah Pahor, Ksenyia Onisko and Felix Sheahan. 

The results not only displayed nimble responses to constantly shifting conditions, but directly illustrated that facing our transformational challenges directly, but creatively, can point us towards a new future, in saturated terrains. Working in the context of climate and poly-crisis, the studio curation simulates bridging teaching, learning, practice, and research, and suggested a deeper collaboration across disciplines.

 

The outcome of the studio and coloration was curated into a public exhibition, Saturated Terrains, held at QUT Garden point campus, showcasing the student’s work and the works from the multidisciplinary practices involved on the studio. 

Project

Kedron Brook and Toombul Shopping Centre 

Country

Meanjin

Year

2023

Collaborators

QUT’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, Brisbane City Council, JDA Architects, Bligh Tanner, Alluvium and Landscapology

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