This final year project is another library with a unique, small site just outside of Melbourne in North Melbourne. The population of North Melbourne is a multi-cultural, largely working class area that is undergoing a shift due to a large
population migration.
A large emphasis was placed on good documentation and strong presentation skills for this project.

The Site

• North Melbourne is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. It is located only 2km north of Melbourne.
• North Melbourne has a population of 12,000 people.
• North Melbourne has a strong migrant mix with most recent arrivals being refugees from countries such as Somalia and Eritrea.
• North Melbourne’s population has grown reasonably quickly over the past six years.
• The area has a higher median age than the municipal average.
• North Melbourne has a high proportion of children aged under 12 years.
• It has a large concentration of older persons.
• North Melbourne has among the largest average household sizes in the municipality.

The Brief

The Library project challenges students to address the wide range of issues in architectural design such as;
• Social, cultural and physical contexts.
• Environmental and civic responsibilities.
• User’s needs.
• Formal and spatial compositions.
• Material realisation and construction techniques.
• Accurate communication/presentation

We are not expecting great original ideas, but rather simple ideas that are well resolved and evolved
high-end products that demonstrates design rigour and strong presentation skills.

The Design

Due to the multi-cultural population of North Melbourne I interpreted the brief as more than a library, but as a civic precinct or community centre. The centre/library was designed so users can access community-related, social welfare, youth and health information. The following site study heavily influenced the design of my library and the facilities that were to be provided.
I placed a large emphasis on movable furniture to take advantage of the possibility to use the space for social functions and in becoming a multi-purpose hall.
The design serves as a response to the evolving physical and cultural landscape of North Melbourne. It features a well lit glass ‘shard’ with views to the sky punched through a concrete ‘vault’ where books are to be stored. The form is a representation and tribute to the industrial heritage of the area.

The Internet of Architecture Things

Architects in the adaptive city

Benjamin Bratton proposes that one half of all architects and urbanists stop designing new buildings. Instead, they should be focusing their attention on the design and development of new software that provides for better use of structures and systems we already have.
Bratton proposes the above as an ‘experiment,’ I would go further and suggest that in the coming decades, the architects and urbanists in Bratton’s proposal will have very little say in the matter. Architects will surely have to drastically redefine themselves and the entire profession if they are to survive.
For centuries, one person, or one group of architects, urban planners, politicians, whatever have been defining their perfect city, suggesting that their solution is the perfect answer to urban living. The daily living and working conditions of a city should not fall to one person or one small group. The city and its people are constantly changing, perhaps now at a faster rate than even before, both in population size and culture.
A population can quickly outgrow its city or region in the space of one generation. The people change and the city lags. It’s for this reason, the future city should be an adaptive, inter-connected, self-organizing network that can respond to users’ needs on a scale and at a rate not currently available. An adaptive city that can respond to change immediately, relieving the population of the short sightedness of politicians and urban planners.


The unoriginal manifesto

It’s a strange feeling when you realize that your ‘original’ design philosophy is anything but. When your personal “aha!” moment has been aha-ed long, long before you. What’s more, its one thing to be beat to the punch by your colleagues or contemporaries, but entirely another to be over 50 years late to the party.
My naiveté was made painfully apparent whilst reading the works of CIAM, Jacobs, Archigram, Chtcheglov and Constant in particular.
To give some context, let me quickly present what I thought was my personal contribution to centuries of Architecture:
A self-organized, inter-connected, digital city. One continuously in flux. Responding and adapting to the populace on a scale and at a rate currently unavailable to today’s technology. The city, (though, perhaps urban-organism is a better word (that an architect would use at least)) observes patterns in its people and responds accordingly. The city is a continuous feedback loop: the people shape, both physically and culturally the city and the city in turn shapes and influences its people. Interaction is encouraged, the collective efforts of the people mold the city, rather than one urban planner or one planning committee. Finally, and most importantly, the architecture profession will be a thing of the past.
Admittedly, the modernism critics of the 50s and 60s may not have been thinking of a “digital city,” but an adaptive, self-organizing, user defined city has made itself so clearly unoriginal that I cringe to think it was mine.