Projects by students from architecture, interior architecture, city planning, computational design, landscape architecture, industrial design, construction and project management were on display at the annual exhibition in September.
“You rarely get the scale of design represented in one place the way that Luminocity does, moving from design models of toothbrushes to bicycle racks, to housing, to skyscrapers, and all the way to the design of new public squares and the urban realm,” says Dr Nicole Gardner, curator and computational design lecturer.
This year, the exhibition had a renewed focus on the design process and in particular the role of model-making. It showcased the diverse range of design skills – from hand-drawing, physical model-making and prototyping, to data-rich 3D modelling, coding, digital fabrication, and immersive forms of mixed and virtual realities – that are engaged in the design and construction of the built environment.
“There’s a tangibility associated with physical models, and these models demonstrate how digital fabrication technologies are being used by a range of design students in their courses,” says Gardner.
“Quite a few of the projects feature multiple iterations of the model, to demonstrate the process, different scales of design and also various stages of thinking. The final model looks finished and perfect, but there’s often a long process that takes place to get to that point.”
Many of the projects in the Luminocity exhibition respond to a real-world challenge, with students exploring new possibilities in the design, delivery and production of the built environment.
“Designing an object, building, site or process involves thinking about design as more than functional problem-solving but also as a social and environmental responsibility,” Gardner says.
“It’s a real showcase of how our future designers are engaging and addressing what are very complex problems in the 21st century.”
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1. Urban Block, Ivy Chen, Second Year Architecture: The 2nd year Architectural Design Studio 3: Urban Block addresses the generation of architecture in an urban condition. This explores the Terrace House as representative of a formal, spatial and material language of residential architecture and its integration within urban public space. This scheme for Kent Street, Millers Point uses the porosity of materials to delineate spaces. The series of models shown here demonstrate a process of spatial investigation and organisation at three different scales.
2. Urban Block, Linbei Huang, Second Year Architecture: The 2nd year Architectural Design Studio 3: Urban Block addresses the generation of architecture in an urban condition. This explores the Terrace House as representative of a formal, spatial and material language of residential architecture and its integration within urban public space. The model shown here illustrates the key formal gesture of a gently curving roofline that establishes a relationship between the old and new elements of the site and its topography.
3. Suburban Density, Feiyang Yao, Third Year Architecture: The 3rd year Architectural Design Studio 5 investigates the theme of suburban densification. The design brief calls for a mix of household types to be accommodated on a single suburban lot in Sydney. In this course students explore and analyse the complexities of human patterns of occupation and activity as they unfold over time to inform new configurations. The model shown here shows a mix of household types and their internal organisation configured around central courtyards.
4. Overnight Accommodation, Geremy Yip, Third Year Architecture: The 3rd year Architectural Design Studio 6: Regional Studio is led by Pritzker Prize winning architect and UNSW Professor Glenn Murcutt. The studio investigates architecture as a response to place and not one of imposition. The model shown here is a design for a flexible overnight accommodation structure located approximately 460km north of Sydney on the New South Wales coast.
5. Exploration of Form: Blair Yurong Huang, Second Year Computational Design: The 2nd year Computational Design Theory course explores the theme of ‘digital craft’ as a research enquiry that brings together old and new design and making systems. Inspired by Frei Otto’s soap film experiments that investigated minimal surface tensile membrane structures, the model shown here has been modelled in a computational environment using the live physics engine Kangaroo and demonstrates the equilibrium state of a tensile surface controlled by anchor points, boundary limits, and material properties.
6. Exploration of Form, Digital Making: The 1:1 Centaur Pod pavilion is the culmination of design, fabrication, and assembly investigations across 5 undergraduate courses in the 2nd and 3rd years of the Bachelor of Computational Design. Biomimetic and kinetic principles inform the pavilion’s form and performance and it is assembled from materials that have been digitally fabricated in the UNSW BE Design Futures Lab. Recycled bottle tops were used in the injection-moulded spider-finger joints of the static skeleton and artificial muscles activate the kinetic skin.
7. Bean, Jack Beasley: Undertaken as part of the Industrial Design honours program, this capstone project entitled ‘Bean’ is a bench top coffee roaster for those who want to make their own coffee at home. The design breaks away from a conventional coffee roaster to fit within a domestic kitchen aesthetic. The machine’s glass drum and knobs give users greater control in the process of roasting, and a ‘roast by feel’ experience through sight, touch, and smell rather than mindless digital displays.
8. Doc, David Scholsner: Undertaken as part of the Industrial Design honours program, this capstone project entitled ‘Doc’ aims to mitigate inefficiencies in the medical ecosystem by providing an easy and accurate way to undertaken at home diagnosis. The design comprises a kit of non-invasive medical devices in a charging case. The devices allow users to perform straightforward physical examinations on themselves and feed information to an application to compare and analyse gathered data against existing medical data and provide feedback.
9. Bike Rack, Anastasia Mitnovets, Second Year Industrial Design: The 2nd year Industrial Design Studio 2A responds to the global call for cities to encourage more sustainable modes of transport through the design of more convenient, secure, and amenable bike parking and safer urban environments. The model shown here reimagines how a bike rack looks and functions. Designed as part of a suite of public realm infrastructure, the bike rack also performs the role of defining vehicle and pedestrian zones.
10. Lego Meal Tray, Danny Lee, Second Year Industrial Design: The 2nd year Industrial Design Studio 2B focuses on travel futures and on designing products to enhance the in-flight experience .The Lego Meal Tray project shown here is designed especially for kids. This flexible and playful design features a series of colourful containers of varying sizes to securely accommodate airline food and drink and also doubles as a game to challenge the user to rearrange the containers into 8 different configurations.
11. Coastal Site, Ongwei Seng, Second Year Landscape Architecture: The 1st year Landscape Studio 1: Design Fundamentals addresses how the fundamental elements of the landscape; landform, plants, water and culture can be employed to explore notions of reconciliation at La Perouse. Working in collaboration with Bedegal Elders, students were encouraged to design a space for contemplation. The design exploration adopted various modes of analogue and digital representation. The model of a small-scale landscape design shown here sensitively acknowledges the subtleties of the coastal site and embraces opportunities to reflect.
12. Fifteenth Avenue Precinct, Rulu Yu, Third Year Landscape Architecture: Undertaken as part of the 3rd year Landscape Studio 6: Design with a complex program, this project began with asking what are the contemporary roles of large parks in global cities such as Sydney and in the context of rapid urbanisation, ecological challenges, and demographic and programmatic complexity? Addressing these questions, the project shown here is a detailed scheme that forms part of a Landscape Masterplan for the Fifteenth Avenue Precinct of the Western Sydney Parklands.
13. Paper Bound, Mackenzie Peachey & Grace Jenkins, Third Year Interior Architecture: The 3rd year Interior Architecture Practice Studio 5 introduces students to a ‘real-world’ client through a design brief for an ephemeral structure to house a presentation space within the Design Build expo. The project shown here entitled ‘Paper Bound’ is a scale model of a theatre area within the expo which is defined by walls made up of multiple layered sheets of sustainably-sourced and loosely hung rice paper sheets.
14. Bridge Stair Space, Mackenzie Peachey, Second Year Interior Architecture: The adaptive re-use of the existing Bridge Stair space on Cumberland Street in the Rocks, Sydney, is explored in this 2nd year project undertaken in the Interior Architecture Practice Studio 4. This award-winning design draws focus to the site’s historical context by referencing significant events including the Bubonic plague outbreak that occurred in the area in 1900. Evocative narrative sequencing informs material selection and the spatial organisation of cinema, exhibition and event spaces. This project received a Dulux Excellence in Design Colour Award.
15. Design Build Expo, Isabelle Kleijn, Third Year Interior Architecture: The 3rd year Interior Architecture Practice Studio 5 introduces students to a ‘real-world’ client through a design brief for an ephemeral structure to house a presentation space within the Design Build expo. The brief calls for sustainable materials and consideration of how they can be maintained for re-use following the expo. The model shown here creatively utilises construction scaffolding and debris netting as core materials, both of which are inherently re-useable resulting in zero material wastage for this project