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The Last Studio

RMIT Master of Architecture, Design Studio Semester 2, 2018

Supervisor: Dr Michael Spooner


Yash Ravi, Georgia McCole, Bryn Murrell, Edward Bainbridge, Matthew No.5 Tibballs, Lok Tin Shing, Nicolas Filshie, Christoper Filippidis, Meagan Brooks, Cody McConnell, Emma Li, Eilidh Ross, Manish Shrestha, Yiling Shen, Simon Sawyer, Stephanie Pahnis

Studio breakfasts recorded by Meagan Brooks



An archaeological interrogation of holes.  Documentation of one construction site in the Melbourne CBD. No hole is ever the same. They can be a large hole or a small hole, be fully holey, or almost holey, or holed up. You should document without prejudice the holey domain.  Secondly, prepare an image of your prior studio project burning.  PS: I dont plan on turning up to class this week. Meet and discuss my ballot presentation. Go as far as transcribing it. The group of people around you will be the best thing for you. I will be your worst.


Prepare a container for an object from your holey site.  Last week was a solid start but Meagan Brooks had the most elegant drawings. Invent a contents page. Hermann Nitsch’s Painting Shirt. The Disegno del reale palazzo di caserta. Robert Venturi’s Iconogrpahy and Electronics upon a Generic Architecture (1996).


Prepare a container for your container containing your object from the holey site.  Written response to a colleagues contents page. Jam was provided at breakfast. John Soane’s ‘comparative sections’ prepared for his lectures on architecture at the Royal Academy in London (1809-1815) The snake head stair handrail from Gunnar  Asplund’s Skandia Cinema (1923). Leon Alberti’s Shrine of the Holy Sepulchre (1467)


Proposal for an exhibition in the Design Hub Gallery.  The gallery forms a container for your collective undertaking. Operate an an architect-curator. Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice (1971). Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (1963). Hans Vredeman de Vries & Jeffrey Smart. Next week: Ballroom dancing and the malevolence of youth.


In groups prepare a 6 act opera with sets giving expression to ideas within Germaine Greer’s Jump Up White Fella (2003), Alfred Hitchcock’s film  The Lifeboat (1944) and Peter Corrigan’s short intro essay to Cities of Hope Rehearsed (2012).  Next Week: Peer Pressure and Hans Hollien.

Emma Li, Lok Tin Shing & Christopher Filippidis

Georgia McCole, Simon Sawyer, Edward Bainbridge & Eilidh Ross

Meagan Brooks, Matthew Tibballs &  Yiling Shen

Cody McConnell, Stephanie Pahnis & Bryn Murrell


In pairs design an Opera House considering Ian McHarg’s essay The Consequences of Today (1971) and Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 (1963). You will design the opera house around your sets… looking out from the stage you will see 80000 years pass before you to reveal the ruined condition amongst the promise of a future, the construction holes. The longest play I have experienced was 9 hours by Robert Laplage.  Next Week: pleasure. Following Week: pain.  Benedict Andrews remains a saint. Go see some theatre.


Revise my ballot presentation, poster and text.  16 studios, all proclaiming to be the last, were presented in a public forum at RMIT Design Hub. The Presentation ended with a funeral march of ‘Amazing Grace’ played by Eilidh Ross on bagpipes. Truely iconic.

Meagan Brooks

Stephanie Pahnis

Matthew Tibballs, Cody McConnell, Georgian McCole, Christopher Fillipidis, Eilidh Ross, Emma Li, Simon Sawyer, Yash Ravi


An archaeological interrogation of a colleagues Holey Opera House from Week 6. Secondly, prepare an image of your last studio project burning.


Select 50 objects from an Auction House. Enjoy the choice.  Select one object and design a container to contain in on site.  Hiroshige but the colours of the aboriginal flag. James Bidgood’s Pink Narcissus (1971). Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Querelle (1982)  Next Week: Bookplates


In pairs  curate an exhibition of 50 of your 100 auction objects in one of the Melbourne Tunnel Metro Sheds. Daniel Spoerri, An Ancedoted Topography of Chance (1963), William Bennie’s Categorising of Things (2018), Peter Greenaway’s The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982), Frank Perry’s The Swimmer (1968).


In pairs you are inhabiting one of the Melbourne Tunnel Metro Sheds and conceiving of an Opera House indigenous to Australia.  There is a sense of a building, of the shed, of its instruments of production as a stage. From this week we are operating from 46 Little La Trobe Street, in the office formerly occupied by Edmond and Corrigan Architects .I have the key.

WEEK 14 – Oi, DARLING EXHIBITION 25th & 26th October 2018

Designs for a ruin, a container, an opera set, an indigenous opera house, an auction house, a transcription, a design studio and an exhibition. An exhibition of student work completed during The Last Studio in  46 Little La Trobe Street, the office formerly occupied by Edmond and Corrigan Architects.


The Final Transcript was captured 24/10/2018 prior to the public opening and celebration of the studio exhibition and captures a conversation between studio leader and studio participants reflecting on the undertaking. The transcript is presented here unedited.

Dr.MS Dr Michael Spooner

MT       Matthew Tibballs

SP       Stephanie Pahnis

MB      Meagan Brooks

YS       Yiling Shen

CM      Cody McConnell

BM      Bryn Murrell

GM      Georgia McCole

SS       Simon Sawyer

ER       Eilidh Ross

EL        Emma Li

MS      Manish Shrestha

YR       Yash Ravi

TS       Tidus Lok Tin Shing

NF       Nicolas Filshe

CF       Christopher Filippidis

Dr.MS: We aren’t recording yet are we?

There’s a recording of me a few years ago recording me swearing my ass off at a crit, and then turned it into his ringtone, so every time someone called it was Michael just like: %(*#@*@*&$ fuck, fucking, fuck $*%*&&%$&


Alright anyway, we’re done.

First off congrats, well it’s almost done…. I feel like we’re at 95%

There’s a few little things that I won’t sour at it here without any commentary on it, you guys can deal with that after. This is both a celebration of your work, your hard labour and your patience with me, or your privileging, one of the two, I’m not quite sure. You’re either foolish or intelligent.

But i guess it’s also an opportunity to reflect on the outcome, having gone through this process for the last two weeks that you don’t necessarily have a final crit, but you’ve actually had to understand 15 peoples work along the way, and you’ve had to put a show together in some way. Conceptually and speculatively over the past couple of weeks, so this is a different thing and you’ve had to realise it.

So I guess I’m interested in knowing how you will reflect on this if somebody would like to begin by putting a question to the table, or putting a question to someone else.

MT: A question that I’ve been really wanting to ask is…. (pause) Don’t worry I’ve got this guys.


If you could summarise what your ambition was for the studio, we’ve been guessing all semester. What’s the purpose of this week, and this, what’s this really all about? We’ve covered so many different grounds, and so many different ideas. Then to not have a final project as well…

Dr.MS: But you have a final project.

MT: Well I am curious, with all these ideas thrown at us, what is your ambition? When you designed this studio, what were you trying to achieve?

GM: How do you pitch it to the Uni?


SP: I had a similar question, moving forward what you say would be the biggest thing to take on from what we’ve done. Because I think it hasn’t really been so much about each weekly task, but more about the way we’ve learnt to approach those tasks or approach the texts…

MT: I’m curious when you talked about how you have talk to the moderation panel, what the studio is about and what the students are doing

Dr.MS: Oh okay, let me see if I can improvise something…

I mean certainly there was no, from the beginning, understanding of the studio trajectory all the way through, there was a sense through the ballot, if you guys know, the ballot was not necessarily about what you’ll be doing in the studio as such, it was going – this is how I operate in the world, if you’re interested in sitting in a room with me because I operate or think like this, and you have the advantage of accessing that… Then cool, that’s all it is. It’s very rare that i pitch the studio going: you’ll be undertaking these things, and bla blalala bla. Because I kind of don’t know. The texts that I was giving you I was finding along the way as I was interested in them, and they perked my curiosity, or maybe perk your curiosity. So my intention was never to realise something at the end. As opportunities came along, I took them. Or if we had to improvise a response, I took them essentially. And partially it is a response to the hyper structuring of university, and the hyper structuring of education, and the hyper structuring of course work, and the hyper structuring of the profession, and the use value of the studio toward the profession and at a professional level. And I kind of see these studios as something else, that the Uni will pass you or fail you and do all of that. But I’ve got a responsibility for that. But it’s up to you guys to get something out of it, and to give it value.

I also like the idea of the studio of being this secret society, where something is happening, but if you’re not in the studio or you’re not an invitee, as it was, or an observer of it from the outside. Then you don’t get access to the information. Which becomes highly tribal and that’s useful, because that’s how you create pairage, that’s how you create a type of intellectual capacity amongst the student body. My ambition is always that. I don’t have any ambition to realise something, or a particular project as such. I think that’s why I was really interested in divorcing myself from a finality that was singular and that you took ownership for that particular thing. This is kind of a collective effort, certainly there are people putting weight in different ways and that’s just the nature I guess of an office, we have been operating as an office for the last couple of weeks and I see more value in that, than in anything else.

That is my ambition,

My ambition is for you to want.

If that makes sense, I mean you know that’s the utopic understanding, I guess in some ways yes I am also interested in trying to source a practice through my teaching, I don’t produce stuff, I don’t work within the discipline. I’m sort of kindly regarded I would say, more as a perversity than a curiosity, than anything else and a particular type of intellect that is rare, I think in architecture. And you know this stuff is used for that essentially, I reflect on it, but I will never produce anything other than some ambition in students, and you have to cross your fingers and hope that something pretty comes out of it. Something beautiful or curious. Doesn’t always happen, in this case it has. So that sort of cuts a course, I think, I don’t think I’ve lied.

CF: I know you, last year, curate a LGBTQIA, would you ever go back into practice or do something like that?

Dr.MS: Oh that’s kind of an interest and curiosity. I have no interest in selecting tiles, or navigating all of that. As there is a certain intellect that has to navigate that and I don’t have that particular intellect. It is quite rare to be able to operate in practice, it’s a hard fucking thing, hard. It’s one of the hardest things you will do in life, to work in architecture. So working on a daily basis through those grinding decisions is just, it’s just not my skill. It’s not that I am better than them, it’s just that i have no interest, intellect or capacity to do it. That was a particular thing, where i was invited in on a team to run a curatorial process to prompt them to produce something other than the one they produced, which is what I do. I can force people, in a beautiful non-manipulative, socially equitable way of producing things that are non-habitual and to come at things that are not habitual. Which is another thing with student bodies, they are terribly, terribly habitual.

My question would be is, where did you think you broke from habit? So if I put the question to Cody.


Or even just anyone really.

SP: I was going to ask, if this is something that you implement into other studios as well, how we were having to repeat the studio from the Last, to the First Studio, and was that a way to reflect on how we approached the task or, how we could approach it in a new way.

Dr.MS: I don’t think it was strategic as that, but I didn’t want to have a determinate finish. The idea that studios progress, you know, from a shit point to a really good point after 14 weeks is a fallacy. You can spend 14 weeks on a project and it can get worse. To be quite frank, so for me it wasn’t quite that, but it was trying to make sure there was a non-linear path, that it was a sort of surface.

SP: But I guess it still was something that was aiming to break that habit.

Dr.MS: Yes, there was an opportunity to reflect on that work, and to invent into it as well. By week 7 we had a body of work that could be understood as containing a particular type of intellect and a particular type of endeavour, and a set of rules and criteria’s, some of those nascent and some of those more explicit, and you had the opportunity to invent into those again. While previously you had been building that domain, so you had a sort of world and you then had to operate in that world, and then you had something to test your decision making against and in some ways what came out of that was you know, these sort of ruins as it was and some of those are the best projects of the studio. Also the best groupings in some cases, and i think because there was a freedom at that point. You were less worried about my expectation, and my ambitions and what this was. You kind of just accepted the world for what it was, in its complexity, in its incoherence, in its absurdity and i always find that if you accept that within a studio and you accept it in real life, then we world opens up, very, very fast to lots of opportunities.

It was less about, you know if I get students to reflect, I will realise some capacity about them.

SP: Rejecting that traditional path of progression

Dr.MS: All the aboriginal stuff we have been navigating, has been me trying to engage with it at a conceptual level and to attend at some particular type of vitality in the studio. Rather than going, let’s try and talk to these people, and those people and understand these rule sets. In some ways we don’t really have the capacity to do that as it requires somebody else saying yes, and I think they are completely obligated to tell all of us to go fuck ourselves. I mean they’re wrong to do that, I mean it’s wrong for us to accept it, but it’s correct for them to say it might be the right word. You are challenged to be engaging with this stuff in some way, and maybe my idea of pointing at multiple directions all the time and understanding the horizon as something encircles you rather than a point on it, it’s not about going towards the horizon it’s literally about walking along it, like a tightrope. That’s my interest spatially.

EL: You know how you said that the strategy was emphasising us to question our ways…I’ve never questioned myself so much, and this is an Architecture School. We’re so set in our ways.

MT: It’s a confrontation.

SS: I think identifying your habits–something that’s usually like, “oh cool, let’s just get on with it for the sake of it”–we never question why.

YS: And usually…

SS: And from there, it’s pretty much a breakdown of who you are as a person.

MT: Emma and I had a revelation when we were doing our opera houses. I was like, “fuck, I am so repetitive.” Like, the things that I would spend a whole semester doing…

SS: I’d like to see you on the dance floor.


Dr.MS: For the record, Matt just awkwardly moved.

MT: That moment when you realise that you’re just repeating the same pattern to get the task done, but you end up getting the same result.

EL: Do you think that’s an explicit strategy? Like Leon and stuff, they talk about ie…

Dr.MS: Eidetics.

EL: And it’s like, a sort of psychoanalysis that we all do but we’re not conscious of. Do you think that’s something you do in every one of your studios? Like on purpose?

Dr.MS: It probably is a strategy. Um, eidetics is something a little bit different, but your time as a student is so utterly privileged. You have no idea. Literally no idea. It is fucking hard to innovate in practice. In the real world, let’s call it that. In a world where you’re obligated to others…many others. Here, you’re kind of obligated to fifteen others. That’s not that bad. You have a five year period to do literally, and look at literally, whatever the fuck you want. And in the manner that you want. And to engage with some of the most intelligent people you will be surrounded by in your world. If you don’t do that now, and you see ways of just getting through it to get the thing at the end, you are wasting your time. Like, that’s it. The time you hit 25, 30…We won’t reference how old I am now…on record…

MT: 36.


Dr.MS: Not 36 yet. 35. it’s really difficult to do, because you’re having to engage with the less exciting things in the world. You’re not actually engaging with that many people. Your lives become highly repetitive.

EL: [indistinct] what do you think the role of university is? How do we move this studio into the profession?

Dr.MS: I don’t know. I can’t answer that question. I have no interest in the profession. I have no interest in feeling responsible or empathetic towards it, because I have no interest in it.

SS: Is that only because of how the profession hasn’t changed over the last couple of years?

Dr.MS: The profession will change, and the profession has other obligations. I’m not quite sure about how relevant they are.

SS: So do you have the ambition to eventually take these ideas into practice? Like how these final projects eventually became a built work, made from all the information that people gathered. Is that something that you are, sort of, striving to achieve? That being like, a change in the profession?

Dr.MS: Years ago, I had thought that might be the case. That I would work into practice. I’m less obligated now, like…I’m not sure whether I’m apathetic or lazy or just disinterested. I haven’t worked that one out yet. I have a sort of trauma around that, I guess. Also the idea that you may not be very good at it is frightening. I’ve had lots of opportunities and I’ve been very successful at those. I have done some great unbuilt projects and writings, and I think that I’m a good tutor, and good at my job…with all of those things, I feel like “yeah cool!” And the idea is that what’s next? Do I put it into a building and does it look like something that Metricon could do? Maybe I’m not that good at it. And that could be a reality that is really frightening. I would say that my way of getting around that, is that I teach my peers. I always felt…slightly out of step with the people around me when I was studying. And even now I still feel a little out of step. I give part of that to my trauma, that’s not exactly what it is. But the idea that the first people that I taught, 11 years ago, are now teaching Bachelors and Masters Studios here. So I started teaching at 24. That’s kind of interesting, do you know what I mean? That they are…you know, I wasn’t really a fully formed tutor at that point. I was a bit haphazard and fiercely optimistic and certainly a bit of a cunt…


Dr.MS: …In almost every sentence. The last few years have been a bit different as I’ve been able to navigate a very particular path with a sense of security about my job, which makes a big difference.

GM: How do you do that? How do you not get into the discipline if you don’t want to?

Dr.MS: Well, I’m part of the discipline. I’m not part of the profession. That’s how I understand it. I mean, it’s pretty easy not to build stuff, it’s pretty hard to build it. You need clients.

MT: I’m surprised that you said you have no interest in the profession. A lot of comments from week to week have been like–”What would it be in the real?”

SS: But that’s like, grounding ourselves a bit. And not just producing art sculpture.

MT: But I remember you saying that if a client came and wanted a house, you have to overlay your ideas about Deleuzian thought, because they just want a house.

Dr.MS: The client is a wonderful armature for teaching students, because it makes them go, “oooh, okay cool!” It sort of puts everything into the real. But the client is a non-existent thing, do you know what I mean? When I talk about the client, I’m not talking about the person who’s paying you. I’m talking about who you’re responsible to. And, sometimes, my work revolves around a community that remains unknowable and unnameable. And even inconceivable. So sometimes, the community that you’re responsible to, is always more than the client who is paying you. You have to move away from the idea of a type of exploitation of your intelligence, and go, look someone’s paying for it, isn’t that fantastic, aren’t they great. Who are you actually responsible to? Who do you want to be responsible to in terms of history, in terms of what might get recorded. What would you actually want your name against?

MS: Michael, who exactly in Australia personifies your design influences most accurately? Anyone in the profession?

Dr.MS: Oh look I’ve always respected the work of built modern was what brought me across to Australia, partly. The other thing was being queer in a rural background. So that was gooood, you know, ARM still do things for me. Still Lyons. I have a particular aesthetic. I like slightly garish whatever. In terms of built work I am less inclined towards sort of shadowy fascism that is alight in Melbourne’s modernist stuff. That’s fine, I probably won’t say too much more on record. I sort of accept that as an alternate view of the world – you kind of have to. I guess i have always been local, essentially. I grew up around some of the Minifie van Schaik things. I mean, some of it is extraordinary. That little triangle thing in Edithvale, the plan of it is something mythic. Things like the NAS building. Some of it is fucking ugly and there are just some weird moments where you just go ‘what is the decision making around that’ but how the fuck did they get that built? How did they get the university to do that. Like HOW? What are the mechanisms. So some of that i look at and go, their ethos in the way that they position the discipline for a community. In that case that thing is nothing to do with the university, it is students and a life-force. It’s something else. You just need to go to every other campus in Australia. Yeah you get a lawn.

BM? It’s a nice lawn

Dr.MS: Again we are left on that question. Again, it’s students. It’s people that I have been teaching over the last couple of years where I can see a particular ethos beginning to appear in the way that they approach their teaching or the way that they position the discipline or the way that they operate in the profession. That’s where you see suddenly what you’re doing. So, I mean, some of you guys were my first, first years four years ago.

EVERYONE: OH really?

CM+YS: We were your first, first years?!

MB: Yeah I thought you had been teaching it for years. So confident.

YS+BM: We were from three years ago.

Dr.MS: You were still some of my first. You were the first where I tightened the course.

GM: I remember. If you were late you don’t get to pin up.


MS: Can you see how generous I am now.


CM: You made them pin up in the hallways.

MS: What is good design to you? If you were responsible?

Dr.MS: I don’t take moral positions. I have no interest in what is good.

GM: How do you define good?

Dr.MS: That is a somewhat sycophantic position. You have to leave those to other departments. I think less interested in taking a hard line on this stuff. You can’t ignore someone’s vital contribution to the world. As soon as you do that you’re a fascist. Or worse. So that’s why when I’m talking about that kind of fascist modernist bend. I’m kind of like yeah cool I accept it for what it is and what it contributes and how it can be understood. Now. I don’t necessarily like it. I would never want to live in it. I would never procure those houses. I have a slightly asservic position on them I wouldn’t want to live in them

BM: What specific houses?

Dr.MS: I am not going to name them.

BM: Who do they …

MS: I’m not going to. We all know that they sort of have a populist esoteric in with particular universities and particular schools of thought. Some of you went to Leon’s conversation. Hopefully you guys understood how generous he has been. The extraordinary level of generosity. I was lucky that Leon was a mentor for me for number of years. I always enjoyed his company and the opportunities he gave to me. That generosity is unbelievable. I think a lot of people go ‘ohh we can’t approach Leon’ that sort of face value of him as being untouchable. But… I think that position is a particularly lonely position. He loves students. He loves what happens. He thinks what you guys do is amazing. He comes to the crits and he wants to be invited to the reviews and he has started teaching electives again. He would spend as much time and intelligence on someone completing their PhD as someone who’s first year. That level of accessibility… name someone else.

BM: Do you see that as something the Uni is actually continuing moving forward now that he is gone?

Dr.MS: Um. I think it can. I think the university is a very different thing. The world is a very different place and Australia is a very different place. So you can’t compare and contrast but you have to have faith in the people that are leading you a bit and the school and the people that are making decisions. I certainly do. I think there are certainly some phenomenal people that operating against them. I can’t even imagine how awful it is coming from above down as the decision making. I mean I have always been surprised that the school hasn’t succeeded from the university proper. I mean I guess there are lots of reasons why that hasn’t happened but there are certainly some reasons why that should be put on the table. I mean the other thing is that the school has, what are there 800 of you studying architecture?

BM: That seems like a lot.

Dr.MS: From the bachelor all the way through. That is a phenomenal body. Intelligence. Resources. I’m surprised more has not been done with it from your point of view.

GM: There is also no real way for students to

Dr.MS: There are moments of it. The level of intelligence surrounding things like Caliper um cannot be… it’s not just money or time or energy but the generosity is quite extraordinary as a collective and you guys certainly should be supporting that. I would hope that that propagates more people to do more things and more opportunities for where they are. So, I think what has come out of this. You guys got given Edmond and Corrigan’s office. And certainly DL and unknowable and we didn’t know what was going to happen and how we were going to use it but we got the keys and we are off. Whether two people turn up or 50 or 150 fuck knows, but it’s not what it is really about. You’ve set the parameters for the way that the school might move forward. My interest in getting the keys for E&C office and doing all of that before the school took over it proper and put trajectories around it is that the student body should be determining what happens in these spaces and how they operate. I certainly think Peter would be interested in that. And I think I’m hoping that this propagates you and the other students to begin thinking what you want to do with this space. How you want to use it. How you want to access it and how that gets communicated in some what shape or form. Amongst all the OHS.

BM: So you talk about how improvisation is vital to this studio and your practice. Do you think this studio is best embodied by this play of improvisation from you in giving us the tasks on what we produced and whatever it is we produce.

Dr.MS: It’s more between you guys. You’re constantly… you don’t have an end game. My ambitions are not made clear. I’m not an author of the work or an authority, so you guys have to constantly improvise your value systems on it.  Because it’s particularly easy to I think in other studios to have a preconceived idea of what would then pass through it.

CF: You say your ambitions aren’t as clear. UM. In week three you said to us…


SS: What time and what date?

CF: What do you want to do guys and then everyone bursts out in laughter


Dr.MS: Look my ambitions may not be clear but like….how can I put this. The ocean moves in particular directions…. I am the ocean. You guys are floating, you might kind of float in different ways and it might all feel like ahhh we are just off but the ocean is moving in particular ways. So it’s not that I have no ambitions outright and I won’t kind of pull on the reigns or direct in particular ways. That’s my, not my authority, but my responsibility I would say. But the idea that you would have a stake in the decisions of how you move forward should not be a foreign thing the student body but it seems to be. That’s something that probably shouldn’t be on record. Why aren’t you asked how you want to move a project forward. No one is going to tell you. And if they do it will probably be wrong. Or worse their and engineer or worse it will be OOOH I was going to name a discipline there and I won’t.

MT: Ooh let’s guess

Dr.MS: It could just be. You. If you can put on the table how you would move the project forward then someone else might also agree with you rather than you ask them and you disagree constantly. It’s awful to experience. The other thing is that you guys are moving towards major projects and you guys need to have strategies and questions. You need something on the table that can shift you from week to week to week. In an unknowing way. Maybe in a sort of slightly directionless way but like oooh we don’t want to go there or there but we kind of what to go in this generalised direction and you need to find ways of doing that. There’s no use getting to major project and going oh now we get to do whatever we want and you just fkksnns.

SP: Sooo, how are you meant to form those questions?

MT: As someone starting next semester.

Dr.MS: Look maybe majors a different question but um my thing is…

SP: It’s also about running your own project.

MS: Yeah I mean you guys had to come and redo a studio ballot and most of you freaked out about it. It was really really difficult to do. But then all of them were exceptional. All of them. There wasn’t one that was rubbish.

SS: I think that was because we had like…maybe at that point we didn’t fully understand what we were going for so it was all personally driven to what we were interested in, so everyone was like, cool, everyone doesn’t know what to do or what the criteria is so I guess it can only be a reflection of myself in this presentation, as yours was

Dr.MS: Yeah I mean aren’t you just putting your own personal thing forward? This is what I’m interested in, but it’s not like you’ve got here and you haven’t travelled down a particular path or been influenced by particular people or been reading things. Like it’s not like suddenly some subjective becoming. You know, the only stuff that I’m interested in therefore it’s not relevant. Those things that you’re interested in have come about because you’ve either placed yourself in opposition or in adjacency to other things along the way. So I mean that’s where eidetics comes into play, where these things, or two various points of access of knowledge or experience or revelations, that then inform the way you want to move forward. What else have you got?

SS: In saying that, I’m more pointing the spotlight off Michael a little bit and towards us. My experience of this studio, like Emma was talking about, was just this relentless questioning of myself and what I think I’m into or what I like and how I design and stuff like that and and I’m curious if everyone else had that feeling across the whole studio.

GM: I’m really interested because I found it the opposite. Because normally in studios I’m just always thinking “Is this the right way? Am I answering the right questions?” In projects I go over them so much. “Is this right? Is this correct?” But because this was just weekly tasks, it was just sort of like okay here’s my idea for this week, let’s do that. I didn’t sort of…not that I didn’t think but I didn’t self-question

MB: I think group work helped a lot with that…To sort of measure

MT: Because there was a point where, especially after mid semester where I was thinking, are we going to keep doing these weekly tasks? Yeah we’ve all put a lot of work into each week but nobody goes, this is the final thing

BM: I think those two are not necessarily in opposition. Because I think he did intend for us to be critical and to critique our own work but I think it’s also like the nature of improvisation in this work means that it’s sort of just important to do it and that’s a bit freeing.

SS: A pivotal week for myself was when Eilidh, Georgia, Ed and I did the stage sets and our whole thing was based on like, okay, how are we tackling this? What’s our experience with this situation? And each one of us were like oh cool, I have something that in the past I’ve just put to the side and it’s just a story that sometimes gets told but being able to bring that to the forefront and be like no this is actually an idea that relates to what we’re doing and what I’m really interesting. So there’s a point where you’re like ok, our ideas or our experiences, as privileged as they are, can start coming into the forefront a little bit more. But my other thing leading on from that is, how justifiable are our own experiences in producing our work? Is it a better piece of work because it means so much to us personally? Or are we using our own personal thoughts to justify our decisions and things like that? Rather than taking into account the context of that situation.

MT: Can people then use it?

Dr.MS: This feels like Manish can answer this


MS: I zoned out for a minute there….



Dr.MS: Now you know how I felt during portfolio babe…

Whole class: WOOOAHHHH

Dr.MS: I’m sorry

BM: All of portfolio or just that presentation?

Dr.MS: Just that presentation


MT: So mean, stop!

BM: That is like ludicrously rude

Dr.MS: Really. Alright. No no I think it’s kind of…I was always interested in the way you were coming to the work in that you would come at the work quite obliquely in compared to your peers. That you weren’t necessarily interested in evidencing it in the work, in a project as such. You were really really interested in the rhetoric around what informed it. Now that served no great gain as an individual but it served quite a great gain when you were in pairs and I’m just wondering how your peers felt about it. In terms of you’re the only here with a type of scholarly position or at least an attempt to do it, whether it’s any good or not…It’s your interest. It’s what drives your engagement with the world. That’s a really rare thing. You don’t come across it. Students don’t really read that type of bodies of work and so I’m kind of interested to know how your peers engaged with it and whether they either took it up or whether there was confusion or whether there was a sense of a type of conflict in the way that you were engaging.

MT: I was enthralled by it at the start.


MT: No I still am. He was so different to me when we were paired together so what my understanding by the end of it was that the ideas are incredibly complex and they’re very different to someone like me who is very…

ER: Rigid

MT: Thank you Eilidh. Perhaps where I have been very focused on the architecture, rather than pursuing ideologies or scholarly interests, I’m very interested in architecture and perhaps that’s a bit rigid of me. So when we came together we had the most interesting conversation in the transcript and we identified a lot of things. How did we get to this point where someone who’s got this endeavour that’s extremely socio-political and it’s above and beyond anything that we’re all talking about…He would frequently ask me “what is your stance?” and you’ve asked me four or five times this semester and it changes each week based on what I’m feeling on the day.

GM: There’s nothing wrong with that either.

MT: But I remember thinking 1. This guy is so intelligent and I’m such a dumb shit but also I remember thinking why don’t I have a stance? Why don’t I have a conversation to have for this? So that meant that I perceived myself as not lesser but recognising that my strengths were more in the execution of a building rather than the conception of it. So in our interaction we kind of went, I’ll let you do the speaking and I’ll do the translating and I think we could have done something a lot stronger had I come in and balanced out the ideas. We sort of took…I stepped back and went, your ideas are fantastic and I went in going, my ideas are less, so I’m just going to be the translator.

EL: Can I say something? (Gets ignored)

MT: That was my biggest regret. We both agree that there should have been some conflict…where I went, these are the strengths that I had week to week. So yeah it was almost like your intelligence impressed me but it was almost like it shouldn’t have in a sense. I should have questioned it more

GM: I have a question for you Manish


ER: You guys are so funny

*Yelling and laughter*

Dr.MS: You guys will block out the recording

GM: Essentially people can read if they want and you have obviously done that.

You can take it. You read philosophy or whatever, you have these concepts of philosophic view you have read. What is your actual motive then for, like anyone could actually like I know all these ideas that doesn’t make you smart or something. So where does that translation…

Dr.MS:  I think the question that you are saying is everyone comes from a very particular strategy and views. You come from a noticeably very particular and very narrow which is not a bad thing, it is just what it was. It is sort of like Manish, how I was the same reading, writing, and tendency towards those things, what would the role you are giving them towards the studio, and what other strategies or the way you saw how they could play a particular role in producing the work. Never made that very clear, I think that is some of the Matt’s engagement sort of didn’t know what your strategy is so he doesn’t know how to engage it. Or even how the studio withdrawing away from the application of it. I sort of want to know how you see it, how do you move it through the world?

MS: Well, um… First, I will response to Georgia.


MS: I have never professed to be anything, you know.

GM: Like you have everyone else yet…

MS: Again, like the thing about anyone can go to the gym and get six pack. It is just the matter of going out and doing that.

GM: Yes, but what do you do with it. Yes, six pack and why…


BM: I think if we peel away the insults….


EB: This is becoming a real housewives recap.


MS: I actually don’t want to design a building as well, you know. I feel like captivated by was how politics and like the social political climate of any location could reflect on architecture and I thought like I should conceive the architecture does that for the generation. That is what I wanted to do.

ER: I don’t think you necessary have to have a reasoning behind everything though. I think that it’s very fair that people are putting you on a pedestal what exactly you need to know what you are doing and reading and i think it is okay to not have an exact answer.

SS: I had a chat with Manish on portfolio. And this is no different to me like cool I am interested in music and I can reflect that in architecture that I do. It is no difference from Manish and anyone of us, or Michael interested in theatre or any of us what we like. Manish’s is philosophy and however you choose to pull apart that is like not elevated from anyone of our decisions.

MT: You might not know the answer yet. You are on the path of figuring out what you are doing. You are still bachelors?

MS: Yeah. For fuck’s sake. Jesus

MB: The same with you Matt though. Like architecture, that is phenomenal. You don’t need to have both.

GM: Yeah it’s no lesser to just focus on architectural experience.

MB: That’s why we work in groups.

MB: That’s why we are at university.

MT: Yeah that’s probably my moment, like I had that moment were I had been working with people, who are honestly very similar to me, I was picking people who were similar to me. You (Meagan) were actually very different to me. We had a conflict a confrontation.

MB: Oh yeah


MT: Like the way you were operating with familiarity and using roller doors and the repositioning of generic architecture to create something, the idea and what you created was actually far more powerful than anything a lot of us produced the whole semester. And you were operating within the simplest tiniest mechanism. When we were together and you were like let’s do these roller doors. I remember thinking argh this is so simple.


MT: I want to do something fragmented and explosive.

MB: you were just like nup nup.

MT: I’ve done boxes all at Melbourne Uni now I want to make things explode, but then i realised how I was operating in formal complexities more so to create the flashy architecture more than trying to create something super simple and effective. And that moment happened with Steph on the exhibition in the metro shed, that’s when i finally, i was resistant with you but learnt from it and then each project it got better and better but then the exhibition with Steph was the just super simple ideas.

Dr.MS: I think it’s that thing where collectively you need to understand individually where you’re being specific, where are you specific? and yeah of you have spoken about where your specifics are and how you handle an idea. Where do your generalisations harm others and are you prepared to harm others in that way. Which is where i sort of came to you about your generalisations. I could see the harm that would engender. All the decisions you will make will cause harm to someone, if you’re not prepared to do that you shouldn’t do architecture. You shouldn’t even exist in the world, one of the biggest things I talk about is are you prepared to live with the consequences of your actions in architecture. And that is everything from your rhetoric to the really specific decision you are making about things that is already existent. I think Meagan is probably one of the best in the group to work within the existing metric of architecture. You could see how it could be built or realized, even if it was just a weird fucking thing, which is a really good skill. I think it is about those things about where you fall into a habitual generalisation. Either producing architecture or viewing architecture or the role for architecture, talking about a sort of social political or economic consequences of the world and also of architecture. And you want to try to undermine those for yourself you want to find rhetoric that undermines it then establish all of those things anew. In a way you can not necessarily resolve but seek to live with those consequences. Which is a pretty big thing to come to terms I think architecture is one of those few ones that has to do that.

MS: I feel like the reason why I generalise is because i have only been in this country for 4 years. It feels wrong for me to specify certain things in a foreign context.

Dr.MS: No you’re at the table, your education is here. Your stake in this is exactly the same as everyone else’s. I think the idea of a durational understanding – otherwise none of us could be at the table because none of our communities or families have been here long enough. Do you know what I mean?

MT: Sometimes the foreign lens is more articulate also.

Dr.MS: It’s a good critique of yourself, using this generalisation to divorce yourself from the specificity of the discussion and therefore having a stake in it. In a way that could produce harm against you. What you always put on the table was always very interesting just to see how others would react. And it was also because I needed to react in a completely different way. But for most of the time I was thinking you need to measure all these ideas against a step, a door handle or a fucking swing you could have whatever you want but how do you know if it’s true? And I think this is a weakness of the studios, where there isn’t a measuring of the decisions that you are making against architecture. Against the built materialisation of it. And that is not because built work is better than unbuilt work or anything like that, but we should understand speculative projects as a built product of architecture. Because probably 95% of architecture is unbuilt.

BM: Aren’t they just basically equal in terms of what the architect products? Because we always produce representation of buildings.

Dr.MS: They have the same value, I think it’s about measuring yourself against it. So that you can begin to understand not necessarily whether what you have done is correct or not but all the thousands of other decisions you haven’t made in that week. You look back at it and go – god we had all these other opportunities, that’s what they are – opportunities. The built, unbuilt, the discipline – it helps you understand the things that you are doing and the decisions that you want to be making.

GM: Like the whole ‘what is it in the real world?’

MT: There are a couple of statements that were recurring throughout the studio that will now be in my head every time I design, ‘if you could take everything away what is the one thing you would keep’, ‘what is it in the real?’, ‘do you think it’s good?’

YS: ‘How do you know it’s good?’

Dr.MS: I’m kind of interested in where you come up – *directed at Ed* – you were initially, not sceptical, but concerned constantly and consistently about the decisions you are making. And I think it’s because you are engaging in questions of aboriginality, and identity as exterior to the studio either through an elective or some other studio. So you are engaging with these things and I was thinking how awful it would be if you took these projects to an aboriginal community or elders and said ‘we are dealing with aboriginality!’. Weird shitty projects of construction sites, and at one point I thought I am concerned but at the same time I also thought they might actually understand the intention of what we are doing. Everything from the erasure of a colonial product, to situate something that you initially conceived as having no value because it was incomplete that it didn’t occupy to the idea of mining into the ground, to seek resources in some way. You guys were having to occupy these resources. If you sit back there is a narrative that I am trying to play out, very far out from my eyes. I am playing it out and I am wondering if these things could matter in some way.

BM: I think at the very least everything we have undertaken has been in good faith.

EB: I think this is something I was interested in, aboriginality, after having been overseas and it was something that I wanted to focus on upon my return. Because I was asked when overseas what my relationship/options were on the matter of indigenous people. And I never really knew how to answer. I guess a general question, overall, looking around, have we all collectively as a group had the cultural sensitivity and rhetoric represented their culture collectively and respectively. Like if we had indigenous people come in and view our work, could we actually be proud of this?

MB: I think the attempt is something to be proud of. People are so sensitive and take a step back where you can essentially couldn’t do anything, you have to try and get it wrong before you get it right.

EB: That’s what Michael said, but I don’t know if I agree. How can you know?

MB: But how can you be offended by people trying?

EB: Because I think we will offend, and maybe that is necessary to progress.

YR: The thing is if you read about paradigms, something becomes the manner of a strict lens which you focus through. The flag, the renders become the flag upon which a conversation can be made. A new paradigm. It doesn’t answer the question and doesn’t need to, but it becomes the object or a lens through which you filter everything through.

Dr.MS: It’s like envisioning. My understanding is that I gave you some particular texts that I came across, like the Germaine Greer texts for all its difficulty was a provocation, something that you couldn’t break away from. This idea of an aboriginality which is an invented product. That means you can invent into it. How do you bear witness to everything that you do without going you have to get these particular people at the table, but what if they can’t come to the table? Sometimes there is no opportunity. There are always these utopic scenarios where everyone has an equal stake in everything, but there is no truth to that. There just isn’t. At the end of the day, the number of people who would orient themselves culturally, politically, identity wise as being explicitly aboriginal and therefore, their politics is so divorced from the decision making, meaning in my mind, that a lot of the decisions we should not back away from. If we went all architects can no longer engage with building works specifically for indigenous and aboriginal communities because they are no longer aboriginal, it suggests that as a discipline we lack the empathy to deal with anyone other than who we identify with. I see that as a huge fallacy. There are lots of people who do not. There are lots of people who believe you should design towards and be responsible to, only the communities you identify with. And I can understand that. But I would suggest that you have to take, not an ambivalent position, but say ‘I am going to get all of these fucking things wrong’, and I will apologise through the eye of the needle if I have to. But, I am trying to put something to work. I am trying to put something to work at an educational level, a paradigm, I am trying to put that thing in front of you, in every oblique way, You have to keep putting these things in front of you, the flag was one of them, the colours were another. And suddenly, you can never remove your eyes from it. How do you reconcile what you are seeing at an external level down at federation square, something that is identifiably aboriginal, a performance, identified by an aboriginal community. How do you reconcile this work with that? Because you are one of the few people who are doing that directly as part of that practice.

EB: I am still not sure. I’ve struggled with it for most of the semester. I’m just being afraid that provoking the discussion the sharing of information, isn’t being properly represented. But then I am also thinking that being a white man’s perspective on further perpetuating the constraints and structures that we put in place.

MT: There is also a certain tension to having a room full of white people discussing and debating about aboriginality without even consulting them.

Dr.MS: Yes we are non-indigenous but there is still a lot of difference here, be that straight, queer and race.  You can’t represent every single person on the earth every single time you make a decision. For me, the reason why I chose an Opera House is because it is something other.  Like I also love Opera, I hate musicals, I love Opera.

MT: Wow, going to have to disagree with you there Michael


Dr.MS: But the question is why can’t I go to an Opera building, an architecture, and still understand a type of aboriginality which might be mixed in a product of our understanding of the world. That it doesn’t have to be explicit. Because I am a Kiwi, everything has ‘Maori’ to it, the roads, the streets, buildings. It is embedded. And I look at that, with prejudice and bad habit, and talking to some of the studio parts here and going what is the aboriginal name for that thing you are talking about. What is it as a consequence, what happens if this thing you knew it as an opera. But the title was incomprehensible to you, but you had to make your way back into that culture to understand the things that you understand. The power of architecture to do that. Not necessarily resolve that, but constantly put the problem on the floor. So, yes you have to be aware of your privilege and your identity, but your identity is not something you should ever be ashamed of, or back away from. Or troubled by. You should never weld it in ideological manner, which is when it becomes a problem, but there comes a point when you have to just do it, saying this is me, and this is you. What have you got to offer, oh this is interesting, I want to engage with this, do you? This idea of an ongoing conversation that might go on over generations, is an impatience. And that’s the thing, architecture takes a long time. Your education will inform what you do in 40 years. I’m looking at what you will be doing in 40 years, not present.

MT: I think what Meagan says, with this idea of provocation, just starting a conversation, even when it’s entirely wrong, is the point when they do not recede into the background and be forgotten.

MB: There is more respect in that. In other cultures, you can get it wrong all the time.

EB: But maybe we shouldn’t be getting it wrong. If the information is available and the consultations are accessible, we shouldn’t just be guessing.

Dr.MS: The idea of a speculative position, where you use a metric of equity across other cultures, should not be used to specify what we do here – the idea that you do not have all the capacity of knowledge to integrate something in a particular worldview means you should not act in anyway. That is a relevant thinking. You have to be prepared as a person, as an individual operating to understand that you may never have all the information needed. You may not ever have access to the required information. It might take 20 years to work through the hierarchies and the systemisation of the knowledge, it’s really complicated stuff. It is also oral history. The way you access that information is not the same way that you access information now. I would say the majority of cultures that we understand, that we engage with it, can be found on the internet. But even as some of you found with your attempts to translate words into something other, you just couldn’t google it. There was no apparatus or infrastructure for the way that you might engage with it.  So it is also, I can’t do nothing, but I can’t do anything is not an irresolvable position. You can’t leave it, I think it is that you would do a hell of a lot of mistakes, be prepared to make them with every single community you interact with – every single one of them.  Huge amounts of violence you have probably procured, absolutely massive, everything from your rhetoric to your biases, to your line drawings to the disgusting render which you put in front of them which is aesthetically disgusting. Like the lax poetics, and then tell them how they might represent themselves.

There is a sense that if you get it totally wrong, and you go, alright what do I do with this information.

EL: I think it is the same as being a straight, white, cisgendered man being an ally for queers, even if you are not in that circle. You will offend, but you have to believe that you are helping.

BM: I think the notion that there is anything uniform in that group is also profalacious. I’m going to piss off first nations with this, but others may like it. Some queers would hate them being described as being queer, even though you are a member of that group. Political correction is everywhere.

EL: Yes because that is when you are thinking of them as one uniformed queer or one uniformed aboriginal group.

Dr.MS: What Bryn is saying is interesting, is this idea of a generalisation versus the level of specificity also what you are talking about, basically that particular people are responsible for the narratives which are communicated outside of that community. In aboriginal community it’s highly structured. Much more structured than say the global identities that emerge around queer and LGBT. That is something to be aware of that is the difference. There are people that are charged with the responsibility to articulate that outwards. There is always a contested narrative, never a singular one. But it is a little bit different, and that is where it gains difference in a socio-political western position.

MS: That’s the same asking the question, do you drive the ship yourself, or do you find the best person to drive the ship for you? Because at the same time, I feel like it could be said that whatever you are doing right now, are you actually doing it with the intention that the projects are FOR the indigenous or are you just doing it for yourself? Because there is something truly selfish about altruism.

Dr.MS: You are never doing something where you do not have a stake in this. It’s very difficult to find the strategies which enable you to do them. It’s about finding those strategies, putting them on the table, and making sure those people at the table who make decisions are also aware. From my point of view, that’s why I am making that clear in the role of the studio.

SP: Having a reflection, in the context of our university. We are able to engage with this without the repercussions of the real world. I think the audience viewing this work will get something out of this, as do we by participating in it. I feel like I have learned a significant amount than what I knew previously. It is heavy content that I am interested in in, but have never engaged with throughout my entire architecture degree. I have my own doubts, but on reflection, it has been very beneficial. I feel like everyone has gained some degree of empathy or understanding to move forward. At university it is the best time to explore that because there are no right answers.

MT: The attitude of trying to do it right, especially in architecture, and the concept of fixing people’s lives and situations is the problem. You’re trying to fix the problem.

Dr.MS: People’s lives are not problems to resolve from an architectural point of view. Homeless is not a problem, it is a situation in which there are a group of people where we either engage with that vitality and seek to increase that vitality over another is your choice. But to see someone’s life as a problem, like I will come in and solve that for you, is extraordinarily violent.

EL: I think that is what Ed has been saying, where in this studio we are using the graphics can be offensive to a certain threshold. But when it comes to designing, houses, centres, architecture, that is when it becomes problematic.

Dr.MS: I would say that how communities are represented in any context is pretty critical. I don’t see this as ‘well now you’ll operate in the real world and it will be different’. Um…

EL: So do you think the same boundaries apply in the real world from this studio?

MS: When are you not in the real world? Your opinions here are getting externalised already. Your options here are relative to a group or collective of people who don’t necessarily share your opinion. People will see this work, people who are invited, people who aren’t invited it. It will go into your folio, the way that it disseminates into the world is very unknown. I would say that you’re in the real and making an effect on the world already by engaging with it. Now, maybe a strategy of just using the colours of the flags. We don’t know until you test it on mass. I don’t know maybe there is something in it where the flag like you said becomes a paradigm for the way we envision the world that we envision our built world as a landscape in the idea of something else, in the image of something else, vs what we have traditionally done. That’s kind of useful. Maybe it’s useful to think around what are the strategies that the studio has put on the table for the way that you want to work or operate in the future. Like I was going to ask Nick.


Dr.MS: You knew it’s as going to happen you look shattered and everything ahhh.

What is one of the strategies that you think come out of the studio that enabled you to move forward in whatever proactive way in whatever body of research you want to do.

NF: I mean a lot of it has already been said in terms of self-reflective and sitting down and talking and not just talking about the project but also realigning your personal ideas. So it comes out and you build on it. In terms of strategies I mean, again, you kind of use the strategies that you’re used to using. Kind of like what Matt was saying. Once you realise maybe that’s right, maybe that’s wrong. Is it better to do it another way? I mean something that I got out of it was doing things a lot quicker than I have in the past. I just to kind of get stuck on the tiniest little detail and have just one detail that was really nice but then 50 other drawings to do then the rest of it…

Dr.MS: Yeah you’re a student whose time works by the rising of the sun and the labour of the sunset.

Full Moon…


Dr.MS: Okay. What about other strategies? What are the strategies that enable you to move forward? Or is it all just kind of dying.

EL: I liked your original question about how you would operate in the profession though, because I can’t answer that question.

MB: Yeah, I think that. We have had these construction sites and throughout the entire semester they have been this kind of constant force of validity in our projects. That’s what always brings it back. We have this thing but how do we take that and put that somewhere else

EL: We can’t use it to measure our actual work.

SP: What do you think the impetus was for the construction sites?

Dr.MS: Agh that’s my least

SP: It obviously is the inherent state of Melbourne right now so that’s obviously a big aspect and it’s the kind of condition that always relates it back to the real world. I would just be interested. You have had a few previous studios now that have been delving into this thing and I have my own thoughts about it obviously.

Dr.MS: What’s your thought?

SP: Well I guess it’s about regeneration and the city always being in this notion of change and a few of our projects have kind of delved into that as well and it’s this condition that is flooded throughout Melbourne, it’s just a huge construction site right now. And it’s been this linking thing, for all of our projects have been brought back to it or reminded of it.

Dr.MS: Yeah I mean it is similar to that. I guess I have been interested in the moment when there would be more construction than city. That fine line between and I guess it kind of is

SP: I think we are almost there now.

Dr.MS: It feels like there is about to be. When you look at the number of apartments that have been approved and are being planned to be built vs the number that’s existent it’s like triple that what there is now. It’s a speculation vs what there are. I was also interested in the temporal nature of them. That they’re sort of shifting and changing and the way that you actually navigate the city at this point, literally you have to work around people with a stop sign or whatever, so that’s kind of interesting. I think they recognise a particular point of time in Melbourne history. They’re a marker post. When I arrived in Melbourne there wasn’t that level of construction. I mean in the last five  years my rent went from what like 75 a week in Carlton to like you know it was crazy little to like what is it probably 400 in a week. Its little things like that that I like. And that architecture is a measure of those place time culture things that we talk about. I was kind of interested in the nature of them that you see them on the horizon, because I look back at it from my place – that’s kind of interesting.  Um

GM: They change.

Dr.MS: When you go, I’m an architect. You’re an armature for what’s being built and then you look at the armatures that are used to build the thing It’s something kind of stranger again that I don’t know how to resolve that. What is the role of the architect in terms of project management stuff or construction management. Um and it was just a moment of erasing Melbourne and seeing these things just digging into the earth. Digging holes into it. Trying to reveal, you could see them as archaeological. The largest most aggressive archaeological dig you could imagine. Just gauging holes everything from the metro shed to whatever and I kind of like that idea set against this idea of an aboriginal horizon that we are trying to contend with and how those things might merge into one identity into the other where you sort of might make overtures in this particular way and then you dig 20m into the earth and how you resolve that. The violence and level of, extraordinary amount of energy that gets done to dig those holes. Now it’s kind of like how do you resolve yourself in relation to that. Irrelevant of identity, Aboriginal identity but just sort of conceptions of space and time and space and culture. I don’t know just kind of a starting point without necessarily having an ambition to seek to resolve it. Again I didn’t see it as a problem I just say it as a situation. That was different to the situation ten years ago or what might happen ten years from now. This is your reality. We have students that are first years that have never known the design hub without construction. There are students who will leave RMIT without seeing the campus completed. That’s crazy.

SP: It’s like all of masters has been a…

Dr.MS: It’s a proliferation of something rather than purely a reflection

SP: Yeah so I guess now you have a record of having students that mapped the construction sites.

Dr.MS: It’s very awesome:

SP: Like 50 of them. 50 holes.

Dr.MS: Yeah I mean, in terms of your contribution to the record of the city – name a different person who has been documenting construction sites. There might be something wrong with us.

GM: Release a book ‘construction sites in Melbourne’

EB: It’s so relevant they’re everywhere

Dr.MS: but you also don’t pay attention to them. Like you guys were drawing them and I was like ‘its wrong’ because I have looked at them for couple of years. Your ability to visually assess these things which are completely incomprehensible. They are the things you imagine manifesting whatever decade dreams you so procure from the client and the budget and the project manager and landscape designers and interiors.

MT: it was surprising how many links you could draw with the construction holes with the idea of time to the opera houses to relationship with the earth and it seems so funny when you’re like ‘I just picked the construction holes for the situation and I just brought indigenous into this because it was a …

SS: Because we were spending so much time looking at it.

Dr.MS: That’s the movement of the ocean

SS: I have a dream that Michael meticulously planned this out and is like cool but if you read 2 things for long enough you can pick up the similarities between them. It’s only because we were engaged with them the whole time.

Dr.MS: I mean I have to say there was in truth a sense of trying to understand these things has having a kind of empathy with one another. Some things are a perversion of mine, I like them, but some things are about trying to find an empathy between the nature of these construction sites and see other things I am interested in, I don’t know how to resolve them, so I kind of use the student body to find ways of engaging with them and I find that it’s a really good way to do a studio where you don’t have any authority because you don’t know how to solve any of it. You may have read the readings and watched the movies but you haven’t watched them with an intent to drive them in this particular way so your authority is removed and as soon as you have done that as a tutor, your studio is exemplary. As soon as you have no authority, you don’t know what the fuck the students have responsibility for your work, holy, because you’re like – I don’t even remember your names

Dr.MS: I do now


Dr.MS: It took me about 8 weeks. When you were like next week I want Michael to put us together I was like ‘class list’.

MB: That was like a week ago!


Dr.MS: Yeah so the less I was involved on a personal level other than sort of reading you. I’m in there for 3 hours, you’re in with each other for how long. I have no authority – I mean I will grade you but I have no authority.

On that note it is noonish.





Dr.MS: Does anyone want to say something profound for the recording.

MT: Wicked is a good musical.

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