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Upper pool design studio Programme of Landscape Architecture RMIT University

Over summers, Cath Stutterheim conducts studios with a focus on the design process itself, as apposed to her research interets in environemnetal issues. With the architect Dr Stephen Collier, she has co-curated upper pool studios dealing with an urban dilemma: the notion of the landmark (building or space) in the urban field defined by big-ness (Koolhaas) & loud-ness. What of small-ness & silence? But how small, private & intimate can something be before it looses any relation to the city in which it is placed? How big does it need to be for it to say something that extends further than the work? Can small (in size) speak ‘loudly’ about an idea? Can this then hold clues for the city that project the small into the large? Furthermore, the contemporary city needs to accommodate growth & urbanization but with a diminishing impact on energy resources & available land area. This is a motivation in investigating this theme and Melbourne CBD, with its new extensions, provides the large scale.

We can only start to appreciate this relationship by simultaneously looking at the large & small-scale implications of design. How small can a dwelling be (seen as an embodiment of both the architectural & landscape), to provide a space of individual intimacy? How can the design of this personal room or space improve the way we live & allow us to grow the city: to accommodate the personal (& our need for spaces of intimate personality) within a public realm that determines growth patterns & urban form? And can designers influence this process by working (in reverse) from the small to the large scale? What opportunities are presented [from working at two scales] to place a personal exploration of ‘home’ within a public territory?