Design Studio

Second + Third Year
ARCH1108, ARCH1109, ARCH119, ARCH1121


Tutors: James Carey


This studio is an exploratory-led process of investigations into concepts of time, process, maintenance and care, in the context of future residential design. As our populations and middle to upper classes grow exponentially, how do we as designers accommodate for small scale, multi-generational and flexible living? Australia has the largest houses in the world, has what is described as a ‘knock-down- culture’, has increased housing unaffordability, gentrification and urban sprawl. But it is in the inner cities that, as designers, we should be placing more of our attention to ideas of
medium density occupation, readaptation and the malleable.

The first half of semester will entail small scale experiments utilising the key elements of the studio – time, process, maintenance and care. The second half of semester will incorporate a residential design for a multi-generational family situated in Melbourne’s inner north.

When does time effect the interior?
When does process effect the interior?
When does the material and immaterial effect the interior?
When is the interior maintained?
When is the interior cared for?
When is it important to work responsively?
When do these confluence of forces come together to shape what it is we
call ‘home’?



Tutor: Caroline Vains


This studio focuses on making models, specifically physical models.

Physical model making is integral to the design process. It is as crucial as drawing and the two often go hand in hand. Model making is particularly important in the spatial design disciplines. It enables designers and others to see what is otherwise difficult to visualize. Namely to visualize space in its full dimensionality, from multiple perspectives, all at once.

The spatial design disciplines are those that work in three or more dimensions in space (eg. the dimension of time). They include interior design, exhibition design, installation design, event design, urban interventions and pop ups, set design for stage and film, and performance design. Designers practicing in these spheres make models for a wide variety of reasons. To explore materials, carry out spatial experiments, test construction systems and detailing, trial new ideas, express theoretical, political and utopian ideas, and communicate design schemes.

Spatial designers have traditionally used model making in two primary ways - as ‘process model’ and as ‘representative model’. Through the semester we will investigate and build skills in both these modes. We will then turn our attention to what Thea Brejzek and Lawrence Wallen have called the ‘autonomous’ model.

In this process we will explore how model making enables designers to creatively experiment with
attributes such as: scale and size, object and idea, viewpoint and occupation, fixed and moving, abstract and immersive, materiality and immateriality. We will look into how to use the material practice of model making to design immaterial atmospheres, and affective and sensory experiences. Atmospheres are felt and experienced rather than observed. In Stuart Grant’s words:

Atmospheres shroud. We know we are in them, we recognize them, we experience them, but we find it hard to locate their origin or source. They are diffuse… We are immersed in [them], intermingled with them, permeated by them…[But] we cannot grasp their substance.
The studio will be made up of a sequence of projects through which you will make lots of models.  They will progressively introduce you to the three modes of model making – process, representative, and autonomous - and provide a framework for building your skill base.



Tutor: Pip McCully


This studio focuses on retail design, context and experience, with the term ‘ephemera’ offering concepts of fleeting, short lived moments, interactions and transactions.
Situated within a saturated retail landscape, how does the design of a retail space entice a customer to engage and ultimately allure through seemingly ephemeral experiences? How do interpretations of atmosphere result in tangible experience?

We will explore an innate relationship between material selection, detail, object, site and encounter using the framework of retail design as an experiential case study. Questioning and experimenting with techniques of retail display, occupant ergonomics, engagement with site and responsiveness to site and market context, the studio aims to give students a conceptual insight into everyday processes of commercial interior design practice.


ROOM 237

Tutor: Georgina Cue + Narelle Desmond


Memory is elusive - it slips away, deceives, constructs and falls. The interaction of remembering and forgetting is a time-based process, a re-presentation of immediate experience. Thus, remembering becomes an act of re-inventing the past.

Room 237 memory + space will examine the relationship between memory, history and interior space. Drawing from a range of archival material and historical sites, this subject explores how personal narratives and events from the past can inform and shape our experience of the present.

The studio aims to investigate how spatial structures form in our memory, and the role of memory in the creation of our built environment. Through a series of exercises, students will experiment with how the act of recollecting and forgetting can be used as an instrument for spatial production. By asking students to draw on their own recollections of spaces and objects, this studio aims to investigate the potential for the act of remembering and forgetting to be used as an agent for design.

The reinterpretation of historical artefacts and events become a device for understanding how we interact with and narrate space. This subject will borrow from a variety of discourse on memory and space, drawing from psychology, art, popular culture and literature. During the course of this studio, we will look closely at how memory and amnesia have been articulated in contemporary art and design. Students will experiment with traditional mnemonic devices such as the Method of Loci and Memory Palaces as a means of heightening their ability to memorize spatial details.



Tutor: Tim Percy & Phoebe Gervaise


studio INTERFERENCE seeks to investigate the relationship between Psychology and Design, while exploring the effects of the Digital-Physical world through producing interior INTERFERENCES in everyday environments and public interiors.

Using the lens of environmental psychology and its underlying theories, studio INTERFERENCE will examine the interplay between spatial environments, INTERFERENCE and human behaviour. As a studio we will explore the role of experiment, data, intervention and measurement and their responsibility in design. We will investigate the concepts of stimulation, perception, INTERFERENCE and spatial interaction through questions including:

Can we predict behaviour from an environment? (Stimulation theory)
Why do people bond to particular places? (Place attachment theory)
What are the interior considerations of INTERFERENCE?
What research methods are appropriate for place and space?
How can we manipulate behaviours and outcomes through INTERFERENCE?
How invasive / intrusive are the methods of INTERFERENCE?
How do we apply, test and refine our knowledge?
What are the ethical considerations of INTERFERENCE?

These questions will allow us to use digital technologies to INTERFERE within site, creating affective interiors within the urban environment. This iterative process of measuring and ideating will be used to explore how studio INTERFERENCE can create meaningful propositions and outcomes. The semester will be broken into 2 Chapters, much like a novel, a story will be developed.



Tutor: Nick Rebstadt & Giselle Laming


‘Now’ has the appearance of simplicity but
is complex - ‘now’ is immediate, immanent and impatient. ‘Now’ is urban-acupuncture, interventionist, pop-up, event and playful. But it is also make-shift. It is not something that is for ‘then’ or ‘in the future’ it works with what it has available. Now is a hack. ‘Now’ has engendered in it an economy of innovation that takes advantage of available opportunities and conditions - whatever they are.

‘Now’ is also resonant of our current moment in which time itself (arguably) has collapsed. Downloading has tuned into live-streaming, time has accelerated and consequently condensed the vast expanse of the globe, and all its cultures into a cosmopolitan sensation of instant gratification. At the centre of this we thought of Now Space. A methodology for approaching spaces and designing within them, using their spatial qualities and any means at hand to alter spaces and cater for new potentials. From rearrangement, to model making, mock-ups and body storming, through to the omnipresent-ness of networked media (or “softspace”) students will be invited to experiment in their process of interior making - ‘now’.

Theorising and practicing interiors of ‘nowness’ has of course, implications for a wider interior design practice. Does ‘now’ engineer interior designers with a sense of agency that moves beyond traditional ‘project’ paradigms? What is the industry/workscape of ‘now spaces’? What are the complications of designing with speed and within environments? What is altered or compromised? What is gained? Now Space asks students to cultivate ‘immediate interiors’ through a process of analysis, critique, imagination and action. Students will be provided with a toolkit of theoretical, practical and performative design skills from model-making, bodystorming and networking; focusing on the way that these operate as a medium to cultivate the culture of spaces, challenging existing programmes and the power structures that enforce them. This sits within a wider conversation about how design can envision, affect (immediate) change, and practical ways designers can do it.



Tutor: Christopher Kaltenbach


As global demand on limited agricultural resources continues to increase, the need to diminish the heavy burden on plant cultivation is critical. The investigation into insects as a chemical and food source provides avenues to rethink the materials from which products and pharmaceuticals are made, and energy is generated, to alternative sources for food.  How can design support and promote these science-based initiatives?
In this semester-long speculative project each student will create her/his own project brief and proposition for an interior design installation centred on the investigation of one insect.  Within a trade show booth project, students will define the form, structural system and programme of the installation from the analysis of that one insect. The semester will be divided into two phases: the first is the development of a single insect inspired building brick and second, the design of a trade show booth with that brick.
The title of the interior design studio, IN-SECT[ION] provides a conceptual framework to understand the three primary areas of investigation in this insect-based spatial design project: subject, aesthetic and communication.
INSECT (subject: Design Applied Environmental Entomology): Christopher Kaltenbach’s PhD design research explores the relationship between design and insects. One area of this exploration has been the design of large and small artificial insect habitats. It is his hunch that through a different appreciation of insects, brought about by a better understanding of how we perceive insects and manage our proximity to them, that new design strategies for engaging with an “environmentalism of the built environment” can be created. The research envisions insect terrariums and interior architectural installations that house terrariums for purposes that include bioengineering and food production, as well as keeping insect pets.
ION (aesthetic): It can be said that a similar aesthetic to the dense aggregate of ions can be found with insects, seen in massing morphologies of fire ant flotillas or hornet’s nests. The building brick the student will design can be understood as an ion. This metaphor allows us to understand that the brick, like a molecule or atom, comprised of one or two entities, is encircled by positive and negative components. What is at the centre of this building brick? How does its form (convex and concave sides) link with its identical corresponding bricks? What is the overall effect of the pattern of bricks?
IN-SECTION (communication): As a neologism, combining the “in” prefix (and in this instance an abbreviation for “interior”) with the word “section,” we find an expression to differentiate the section drawing in interior design. What are the differences between the section drawn for an interior proposition versus those drawn for architecture? What interior depths can be reached in a design proposition with this mode of communication?  In Phase 2 of the studio the function and the latent design potential in the interior section will be explored. 



Tutor: Alice Parker


How can Sutton Gallery utilise existing surrounding streets, laneways and sites to create public spaces that offer quiet moments of contemplation? How does this idea relate to the existing gallery sites? This project will engage with Sutton Gallery as a primary reference point - and the aim is to explore how the gallery might expand their engagement with their audience through place-making. The objective is to address the City of Yarra by establishing connections with under-utilised existing spaces. This project will be used as a program initiative for Sutton Gallery – a space where ideas can be explored – not only about showing art, but how to engage with the public and heighten the experience of contemplation, conversation and education.

Aimed at the existing market as well as aspirational and young art collectors who are well travelled and culturally aware the project aims to provide a counterpoint to the existing gallery sites through creating softer environments that are approachable, warm, layered and engaging. The studio objective is to investigate how ‘spaces of contemplation’ can build a dialogue with the existing
community in Melbourne and beyond. The concept will respond to both existing gallery sites and specific Fitzroy streets, laneways and sites. Addressing issues related to interventions, revitalisation and the ordering of space. A concept for an intervention will be proposed, the responses will occur through several briefs that will address this idea by thinking through making.

The methodology of place-making will be explored during this studio, in particular the idea of a house becoming a home. A house is an object, but ‘home’ refers to the fabric of our human interaction with that object; the same goes for space and place. In the context of Sutton Gallery, place refers to the human elements within the existing site that co-exist alongside of the typical ideology of the gallery. The aim is to design ways to utilise aspects of the surrounding environments and to connect with users by creating opportunities for secondary activities that complement the gallery offer.



Tutor: Bryan Spier


This studio posits narrative structure as a model for the design of interiors. We will focus on the design and construction of visual narrative, and how its structure controls and distorts our experience of space and time. We will also examine how narrative structure can forge connections between unrelated elements, and bestow significance on otherwise neutral objects and events.

Workshops will focus on the understanding and application of visual narrative strategies. This will begin with broad formal aspects: such as the spatial arrangement of forms, the use of colour to direct the eye and add dramatic emphasis, and also how pattern can be employed to slow and quicken the viewers apprehension of space. In the second part of semester we will look at constructing the content of narrative. For instance, identifying and documenting the key elements and broader context of the narrative, the construction of characters and the personification of inanimate objects, and finally the authorial voice of the designer/ narrator.

The studio will emphasise the use of sketching, observation, hands-on construction and the use of physical materials. This is because the peculiarities of individual style and decision making will be shown to be crucial to the narrative discourse. The final project will ask students to design a multifaceted interior that leads the user through distinct phases, creates unexpected connections, overlays an authorial discourse, and transforms inanimate interior objects into irreducibly complex entities.



Tutor: Robbie Rowlands & Michael Graeve


How can you enter the complex potentials of sites and situation?
What do we pay attention to and what do we ignore?
How can you continue to challenge the notion of interior and interiority, exploring the boundaries and thresholds these attempt to define?

Observe, reflect, challenge, reject is a design studio that explores site-specific, responsive and spatial and sonic practices. Through multi sensory deep investigations students will research specific sites, building critical knowledge that can inform new ways of reading and responding.
The title works as a series of prompts that question our preconceptions of our usual modes of experiencing site and situation. Through site audits, collecting and research, students will develop creative outcomes that offer new ways of challenging and interpreting environments.

Working with a variety of materials, processes and sites, students will be encouraged to explore, construct, deconstruct, improvise and record their experimentations and outcomes. Working with peer and tutor feedback students will develop new thinking and resolutions for iterative project outcomes. This studio challenges perceptions of site and situations looking for ways to see and hear beneath the veneer of our built environments. Students are encouraged to question the political and social layers within sites through the structures and traces that exist.

At Site Works, there is potential to consider the many and varied interior, exterior and (ex)interior spaces that reside within the boundary of the site and the broader landscape and sites. From these you will develop considered creative responses based on your own development of a design brief.



Tutor: Roger Kemp & Liz Lambrou


Situated in the heart of Melbourne in Federation Square, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is Australia's national museum of film, TV, video games, digital culture and art. Formerly the State Film Centre, ACMI opened in 2002 and recorded its highest visitation numbers in 2013.  ACMI is currently undertaking a review of its operation and future direction which will encompass an assessment of all spaces including the foyer, gallery spaces and public areas.  

This studio will generate interior propositions that respond to the key objectives of ACMI’s current renewal project.

“The Renewal Project significantly alters the interior architecture of the whole building and provides significant new social, creative industry, and educational spaces, combined with a visitor flow more conducive to a modern museum experience.”

“ACMI has refined its future vision and it aims to ambitiously re-think and broaden its embrace of the moving image in all its forms. Central to achieving this aim will be re-envisioning of all the areas of the building in which visitors engage with, or create, content. The ultimate goal is to animate the entire building, integrating objects, storytelling and a bold use of technology to create an entirely new visitor experience that will deliver greater reach and ongoing impact, and also put ACMI at the forefront in museum presentation for the next decade to come.”

We will consider the role of ACMI as an integral part of Federation square together with its relationship to the broader urban environment. We will explore ways in which people can occupy and navigate within and around both public and exhibition spaces, exploring modes of way finding, spatial experience and spatial sequence in relation to physical environments, contemporary media and digital devices.

“ACMI’s challenge is to employ technologies that transcend individual fixed-screen- or mobile-style interactions, and support visitors as they encounter a new kind of digital platform which is woven into the fabric of the museum.”

As agents of change you will develop collaborative approaches to design, engaging with specialised fields such as lighting, projection, curation, and wayfinding.


Urban Eco Acupuncture: Melbourne Innovation Districts 2018

3rd Year Students ONLY

Tutor: Dr. Michael Trudgeon + Chris Ryan


This semester, VEIL will join forces with the RMIT School of Architecture and Urban Design to deliver a multidisciplinary super studio. The collaboration will focus on developing design proposals and implementation strategies that transform the inner Melbourne urban landscape, incorporating the aspirations of the Melbourne Inno vation Districts Project, underpinned by dramatically enhanced sustainable transport supply including three Melbourne Metro Rail Projects (MM1, MM2 and an airport Metro), additions to the tram network, cycling and walking infrastructure.

15 teams will each develop their own project for a nominated site at a range of scales including transport interchanges and new public spaces, through to future forms of living and working spaces. The design proposals will integrate innovative responses centered around public realm, resilient and distributed systems of provision, adaptive reuse, digital infrastructure, spaces in between, future living and education, addressing three main targets:

• Distributed production Systems: Energy and water production and consumption
• Transport: Car-free city by 2030
• Intensification: Accommodating a population of 8 million by 2050.

The teams will then stitch and blend their individual projects to form a combined, considered and holistic masterplan showcasing the potential development and transformation of Melbourne. Here is an opportunity to create a set of vibrant, sustainable urban experiments, a living laboratory to test radical propositions across may scales of intervention from urban design, architecture, landscape architecture to industrial design and service design. There will be an emphasis on physical model making in this studio and we will hold an introductory session in the Fab Lab at MSD. The studio will be taught at MSD on Mondays and with our RMIT collaborators on Wednesday evenings from 5.30pm to 8.30pm at RMIT.


Eco-Acupuncture is a process that supports urban communities to co-develop visions of transformed, low-carbon, resilient futures – in response to the anticipated environmental, social and technical impacts of a changing climate. These are twenty-five year visions of new urban conditions that are then used to design and plan many small interventions in the current environment, as seeds for the development of the transformed futures. The program has operated across thirteen urban projects in Victoria and in Europe since 2008. Decarbonising the economy and building adaptive capacity to deal with changing climate and extreme weather events is an urgent societal challenge.

This is particularly critical for cities where addressing climate challenges requires complex transformation of the existing urban environment and its support infrastructure (energy, water, food, waste, transport). Because cities are complex social and cultural entities, transformation of the physical and technological environment involves the re-framing of urban life, the negotiation of new, desirable patterns of living that are compatible with the altered bio-physical
form of the urban environment.