What you’re looking at is a more acute case of the general condition of housing in Melbourne.
What is presented is an inspection of the built form of planning. Planning is not pre-emptive or speculative, it exists, now, as an oscillating constellation of objects that approach homeostasis, but are unable to coalesce. It is a network of objects with stringent dependencies, each reliant on another regulation to formalise themselves. What you’re looking at is a more acute case of the general condition of housing in Melbourne. . . This is a speculation that planning regulations and building code could have an alternative form as an object. The resulting form is comprised from minimum standards from the Better Apartment Design Standards, the Moreland Apartment Design Code, the NCC/BCA, Victorian Planning Scheme, as well as some ancillary regulations. . . Planning is not pre-emptive or speculative. It exists, now, as an oscillating constellation of objects that approach homeostasis, but are unable to coalesce. It is a network of objects with stringent dependencies, each reliant on another regulation to formalise themselves. . . The project reveals a space of unthinking, or inaccessible reality that contributes to the forces that shape our cities, and it elucidates a kind of ambivalence that we’re living in. Architects generally know that planning is a form, but are yet to really see it. The result is akin to Musil’s “Man without qualities’, in arriving at a synthesis between strict scientific fact, and the mystical. Knausgaard describes a similar phenomenon as “the world seeming to step forward from the world”. We know it’s there but we’re not looking at it. Translating planning to object presents a disjunctive, and disorientating problem, but induces a more active cognitive relationship between architect and code - or subject to object. It underscores the capacity of that object to act as a mirror that reflects back upon the agenda of the author. . . The project could have taken numerous paths throughout translation. In observing what I perceived as intention or logic within the syntax of planning, I could have pushed definitions to a greater limit. . . in bringing the object closer to the materiality of what constructed ubiquitously throughout Melbourne, my hopes were for it to agitate the axioms between planning and architecture. This also reveals myself as a contingency in the making of the object, despite every attempt to position planning/code as author with objective rules. But planning is not authorless, and it is not objective. It is disregarded, and unprovoked. So really the project has a series of subject-subject relationships, which highlights the nature of the rules themselves. . . At their most reduced form, the rules of planning and building code are accountable to the provision of health (daylight), safety (fire and access), and services for cooking and sanitary facilities. Almost all of the standards in planning accumulate to the provision of these things, but the definition, or aspiration of which is rather minimal. As is our cognitive relationship and scrutiny of them; we do not recognise the rules as an ideological construction. And the project aims to provide a lens to this, and posits questions as to what exactly is the relationship between 9 square metres, and adequate? . . In 1931, CIAM discussed the importance of solar orientation for directional positioning of low cost housing, and since then, planning policies world over have inherited versions of this agenda. We live in an aftermath of ideas and amendments that remain to be tested. This project suggests that architects are no longer the conscious author and arbiter of the design process, or at least not in multiple housing in Melbourne. The problem with architecture is that it does not recognise itself, and perhaps overclaims, or is conceited about its role in design. The architect’s role in housing increasingly seems to be in the interpretation or reconciliation of things. We make versions. If this object is what exists now, it says little of what architects do. There are a number of minor reconciliations that need to be made that could bring the object into alignment, such as the inclusion of a front door, and the problems of overlapping. I concede that apartment designs can vary from what is presented, but I would argue that they can only marginally differ. . . By solving problems the project remains a demarcation, but brings architecture and planning closer and closer together. It would perhaps only take some minor amendments to planning documents, and a recording of the moves made in this project to bring the two into alignment, and we would have the problematic scenario of automated housing, and the question of what happens when architecture becomes law, or law becomes architecture? . . . . . . . . .
Read full text below major project presentation_allan burrows semester 1, 2017