School of Architecture

ARCH7005 – Landscapes and Architecture (Semester 1 2020)
ARCH7008 – Material Experiments (Teaching Period 5 2020 (attached to Semester 2 2020))



In 2020 The School of Architecture UQ will be offering students enrolled in the Master of Architecture program an exciting opportunity to participate in a program facilitated by the China Building Corporation (CBC) as part of their program of built works situated in rural villages throughout China. The aim of the program is to provide new educational and employment opportunities for rural villages that are changing as China redevelops. Part of the program involves the design and construction of small community buildings and landscape structures. These buildings are designed and built by teams of Chinese and international architecture students working collaboratively over the period of half a year.

The China rural village projects are sited throughout the country in smaller communities situated within spectacular landscapes. It is an opportunity to engage with a Chinese lifestyle, livelihood, and culture away from the large cities. UQ Master of Architecture students can participate in this project in 2020 which will involve the design of a small 100m2 building in the Chinese landscape and then travel to China to construct the building over an intensive four-week period in the June/July break between semesters. The scale and ambition of the project will require students to enrol in two studios running back to
back: ARCH7005 Architecture and Landscapes followed by ARCH7008 Material Experiments. Dan Luo and Michael Dickson will coordinate the courses.

The majority of the costs associated with the trip will be covered through sponsorship and scholarships.

Project Detail

Our role will be to design and build a small building approximately 100m2 that will serve as an education facility for a specific craft process. Currently there are a few buildings on site set amongst a carefully curated and well-managed traditional landscape. Currently there is a small meeting and convention building, some small experimental houses, a small library and a new student accommodation building. All buildings respond to their landscape setting situated in a large enclosed valley that gives the area and special and almost other worldly character.

We will be undertaking the project in partnership with students enrolled in the CBC design build program in China. The collaboration will cover the design and construction phases. This will be a highly collaborative project with high levels of cooperation and teamwork at all stages of the process. Students will learn new skills in making and project execution in a complex team environment in unfamiliar settings. Participants will meet new friends and colleagues and gain an understanding of a new place at a very deep level. There will be opportunities to engage with local places and explore the region’s new and vernacular architectural traditions.

Semester 1 2020
ARCH7005 – Landscapes and Architecture

Designs will be developed in teams at every stage of the process. We will be working in parallel with CBC during the design stage. The first half of the studio will be dedicated to developing the design. During this first stage teams of four will work conceive and develop propositions. At the culmination of the design stage one proposal will be selected to move forward from each of the partner universities, one from UQ and one from CBC. A panel comprised of representatives from each university joined by esteemed external critics and practitioners will make the final selection.

The second stage of the studio will focus on resolving the selected designs to construction documentation. The selected designs from each university will be swapped for the second stage; UQ students will document the proposal from CBC and vice versa. We will work through the documentation phase in close collaboration with construction partners from China and technical input from local specialists. We will conduct experiments and large-scale prototypes of design propositions to develop an intimate understanding of the making process and develop our construction skills.

The final propositions from both universities will be developed to a construction ready stage. The final selection will be made by a panel with members from the participating universities and our Chinese partners. Once selection has been made detailed material orders will be prepared and any prefabricated components resolved and sent for manufacture.

The entire process will be carefully and thoroughly documented. Material experiments shall be documented and preserved for a final phase of post design reflection and exhibition of the work in Brisbane.

Teaching Period 5 (Semester 2) 2020
ARCH7008 – Material Experiments

The build phase of the project will occur in China over a four-week period in June/July. Participants will live near the site for the entire period in accommodation provided by our hosts. Food, hospitality, and local transport will also be provided. Students will apply for financial assistance from UQ to cover most of the costs of airfares, visas, and associated costs to and from China in order to minimise out of pocket expenses.

Our time on site will be shared with Chinese students enrolled in the CBC program. Students from both universities will be involved in all aspects of the build alongside a team of skilled Chinese builders and craftspeople and technical support from the partner universities. A program of speakers, evening lectures and visits to local sites will be included in the program. The build will be an intensive experience with high levels of engagement from participants both mentally and physically. Site management, on site safety, process documentation, and productive workflow management will be part of the participant’s remit.

The expectation is that the building will be complete for an opening ceremony attended by local Chinese dignitaries and university representatives. To meet this aim participants will need to be highly collaborative, team focused, resilient, problem solvers, and very well organised.

On return to Brisbane students will be required to submit a reflective piece of assessment alongside a curated exhibition of the process with accompanying book.

Application Process

Participants will need to enrol in both courses. Students who have previously completed ARCH7005 and/or ARCH7008 cannot apply. Enrolment is by application. Application closing date extended to 5:00PM on Sunday, 9 February 2020. Prospective applicants will need to supply the following information for consideration:

  • A succinct statement (maximum of 800 words) explaining why you would like to participate in the program with a focus on how you will work in a highly collaborative environment.
  • A small sample of your best work from one Design studio and one Architectural Technology studio that demonstrates your capacity to communicate evocatively and with precision.
  • Evidence of previous skill sets in hand-on building or full-scale fabrication is encouraged.   

Short listed applicants may be interviewed prior to final selection.

Applications Closed