lrss masthead sem 2 2017

The Lunchtime Research Seminar Series is the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning’s staff research forum. Featuring presentations from researchers across the design and planning disciplines, the series will touch on all aspects of the built environment and the ways in which we understand it. It is an opportunity to share ideas, discuss research methods and interrogate our assumptions.
This series is convened by Cameron Logan and Somwrita Sarkar.

Where: Room 557, Wilkinson Building
When: Selected Thursdays in Semester 2, 2017. New program to be announced soon.
Enquiries: Catherine Murray


2/11/2017 Associate Professor Cara Wrigley
Putting the patient first: Designing machines to keep the heart beating


Despite increasing attention in the space of mechanical circulatory support, there is a limited understanding of how circulatory support can be improved beyond bio-medical research affiliated with the device itself. Current systems have been shown to be unintuitive, requiring a better design. Additionally, the role medical stakeholders serve as the main point of interaction between a patient and their device is yet to be considered. These stakeholders, including caregivers, cardiologists, intensivists, surgeons and nurses have the opportunity to improve the experience of, and outcomes for, patients requiring circulatory support.

Patient-centric design methods (such as those utilised by industrial and service designers), have been shown to create tangible outcomes in the medical space, and offer a means of holistically exploring challenges associated with circulatory support. This lunchtime talk briefly presents an ongoing NHMRC project that brings design to the centre of cardiovascular research.

About Associate Professor Cara Wrigley

Dr Cara Wrigley is Associate Professor Design Innovation at The University of Sydney, residing in the Design Lab - an interdisciplinary research group within the School of Architecture, Design and Planning. She is an Industrial Designer who is actively researching the value that design holds in business – specifically through the creation of strategies to design business models which lead to emotive customer engagement. Her primary research interest is in the application and adoption of design innovation methods by various industry sectors in order to better address customer latent needs. Her work to date has crossed research boundaries and appears in a wide range of disciplinary publications.

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26/10/2017Associate Professor Sandra Loschke
Game Changers: The Power Of Exhibitions To Drive Research And Innovation In Architecture


The architectural sector represents a significant part of the Australian economy. But whereas other industries have embraced innovation - ranging from new technologies, smart materials to participative design methods - progress in architecture is comparatively slow.

An unenterprising architectural industry and a largely disconnected academic environment means that much research never leaves the lab and innovative ideas rarely make it into the mainstream and succeed. If Australia wants retain its status as a progressive country and provide adequate living conditions and environments for its rapidly growing population, change in the architectural sector is a necessity rather than an option.

To achieve this, architecture exhibitions could be instrumental. Historically, they were used as a powerful means to familiarise the general public, industry and professions with radical technological innovations and discoveries. Creating new tastes, bringing together different fields of expertise, providing a forum for collaborative experimentation, and making what seemed alien and useless appear desirable and indispensable, they are potential game changers, fundamentally transforming architectural aesthetics, design practices and cultural perceptions.

The research conducted at the Getty Research Institute and MoMA New York in the first half of 2017, identified material for a book publication that traces what I have termed here “game changer” exhibitions from 1930s pre-war Europe to the present - a kind of short history of architectural innovation in milestone exhibitions, facilitating the progression of new ideas from “lab to building”. The research proposes to identify key strategies that mark exhibitions as: collaborative research platforms (architectural technology), spaces of experience (architectural aesthetics), and pilots for design methods (architectural practices).

The talk will conclude with a short report about my guest professorship at the Technical University of Munich and share insights into the German research environment

About Associate Professor Sandra Loschke

Sandra Karina Löschke is an Associate Professor and Director of Architecture Design and Technology at the University of Sydney. Her research investigates links between aesthetics, design and technology in museum and exhibition architecture from the 1920s to the present, and focuses on how these linkages played a significant role in progressing new disciplinary paradigms, which expanded the culture of architectural knowledge at its interfaces with art and science. Her work includes case studies, design projects, prototyping and exhibitions and endeavours to engage theoretical and historical frame works with the reality of contemporary architectural design practice.

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5/10/2017 Associate Professor Wendy Davis
Beyond the Bulb: The Future of Lighting


Lighting technologies have advanced dramatically in the past decade, but architectural lighting design practices have not. Researchers in the Lighting Lab investigate drastically different ways of illuminating architectural spaces to reduce the energy consumed by lighting and improve the visual environment. Two recent lines of research will be discussed in this seminar. The first addresses fundamental questions of the design of lighting control systems. The second explores a radical approach to optimizing light for individual objects within a space, which has the potential to reduce energy consumption by half.

About Associate Professor Wendy Davis

Wendy Davis is an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney. Prior to this appointment, she spent over seven years as a Vision Scientist in the Lighting and Color Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States of America. Wendy earned her Ph.D. (2004) and M.S. (2001) degrees from the University of California, Berkeley in Vision Science.

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21/09/2017 Dr Caitilin de Berigny
Mindfulness in Architecture and Design


Dr Caitilin de Bérigny talks about a book she’s writing in collaboration with Freya Zinovieff, artist and researcher from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.
Mindfulness in Architecture and Design draws together a unique collection of designers generating a new movement in history. Through the critique of their work, a new paradigm is unveiled. The book creates a conceptual framework to explore architectural space, and shows how mindfulness inspires the creative design process.
By examining qualities such as mindful sitting, walking, breathing, listening and seeing, the book offers a framework through which to experience mindfulness in architecture and design. The work presented is analysed through an interweaving set of five themes: present moment awareness, simplicity, impermanence, emptiness and interconnectedness.
Mindfulness in Architecture and Design is the first book that documents the intersections of mindfulness and creativity. It is intended as an inspirational platform for architects and artists, forming a sumptuous resource for design professionals, and a blueprint for how mindfulness can be cultivated through architecture and design.

About Dr Caitilin de Berigny

Dr Caitilin de Bérigny’s research is located in interaction design for urban engagement in the built environment. Caitilin is co-leader of the University of Sydney’s Health and Creativity Node at the Charles Perkins Centre and an active member of the Sydney Environment Institute. Caitilin won the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for her contribution to the Indigenous community. Caitilin has over a decade of experience working with indigenous communities, particularly in relation to social inclusion. Caitilin teaches digital media production and visual communication in the Bachelor of Design Computing.

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14/09/2017 Prof Michael Tawa
Atmosphere, ambiance, architecture


A common quality of enduring architecture, a quality that renders buildings and designed environments worthy of valuing, and consequently of conserving, is a certain density of register, of connotative potential (we might say of `meaning'). Such density constitutes what might be called atmosphere or circumambience. It is built by overlay and juxtaposition so that several possibilities of sense coexist as compossibles, simultaneously or side by side, each equally valid, each equally valuable, and which together produce concatenation and intensification. This kind of heightening renders a work resilient and adaptable, since its integrity does not depend on one or another singularity, but on the natural capacity of a network to adjust itself to circumstance. Sense proliferates; as do functions, agencies and capacities to produce differently. The work is indefinitely flexible, adjustable and recombinable—its shape shifting propensity antithetical to the necessity for archetypes and hierarchies. Such characteristics of enduring valuableness apply across multiple degrees—from function to aesthetics, metaphor, allegory or symbol. The more registers and degrees are engaged with by a work, the more multiple the conjugations it fields and operates, the more resilient it will be to the vagaries of what constitute value at any given time. Hence it will endure because it will be cared for, and it will be cared for in recognition—not of its usefulness, although that goes without saying, but—of its compelling longevity.

In this seminar I propose to investigate ideas of atmosphere and ambiance through the precise semantic and tectonic density of a modest yet very rich project - Peter Zumthor’s Saint Benedict Chapel, Sumvigt (1988).

About Prof Michael Tawa

I am fascinated by the way things (concepts, places, spaces, objects) are made – not only that they are made, but more so the way they come to be made. Consequently, I value process over product, and products only to the extent that they open up new perspectives and processes of thinking and making. I value the un-programmable, the uncertain, the makeshift, the incommunicable and the uncanny in language, the image, representation and architectural experience. My approach to teaching is that of an encounter with an equivalent fascination in the other, of a practice focused on opening up and mobilising sense through the project, around which the work hovers and proceeds.

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7/09/2017 Dr Sophia Maalsen
Where is the smart house in the smart city?


Increasing attention is directed to smart cities as their popularity as a ‘fix all’ for the economic, environmental and social challenges facing cities, continues to grow. Contemporaneously, there is a growing amount of literature on the smart home and smart housing, likewise positioned as a smart solution to environmental, economic and social problems. Despite the increased activity in these two ‘smart’ areas, there is little research that addresses smart housing in context of the smart city. Furthermore, in the limited research on smart housing, a comparatively small amount of literature addresses their ‘smart’ nature from a social science perspective. Of the scant literature that addresses both the smart house, even less does so from a social science lens of analysis, with publications predominantly located in the computer sciences and engineering. This is problematic on multiple levels. First, the dominance of computer science and engineering literature on both smart cities and smart houses, privileges technological solutions to city and housing issues and contends that improvement will be an automatic outcome of technology, rather than understanding how people can use the technology for better outcomes. Secondly, the relative absence of housing in smart city discourse makes invisible a key component of the city and its broader web of relations, flows of people, capital, materials and resources. In this presentation I discuss the gaps in the literature, outline why this is problematic and identify where the smart city and smart housing intersect.

About Dr Sophia Maalsen

Sophia Maalsen is the Ian Fell Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, where she is researching the role of technology in ‘smart homes’ as a locus to address future environmental and social challenges. Prior to joining the University of Sydney, Sophia was a postdoctoral researcher on the EU funded Programmable City Project where she investigated the digital transformation of cities and urban governance. In particular, she worked on the development of the Dublin Dashboard, a city metrics indicator designed to provide Dublin City Council and the residents of Dublin with real-time and relevant data on the City’s performance. Sophia has also worked in the Enabling Built Environments Program at the University of New South Wales, specifically on a project that investigated how and why people with a disability were undertaking DIY home modifications. Her particular expertise is in understanding the intersection of the material, digital and the human and how this effects lived experience.



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31/08/2017 Dr David Kroll
Mobilising Housing Histories: Learning from London’s Past


The problem of creating affordable, adequate housing for a growing population is not a new one. David Kroll will talk about his recently published, edited book project which set out to mobilise London’s housing history. Each chapter in the book discusses aspects of London’s housing past - from around 1850 to the present – and focuses on a particular theme, period or case. The book contributes to the contemporary housing debate by providing original historical perspectives and by drawing lessons from past successes and failures. Sydney-siders will probably find many parallels to issues here.

The first part of the talk will give an overview and outline the range of perspectives that the contributors bring to the topic. The second part of the talk will focus on one of the chapters, a case study by the author of the Minet estate, an area in South London, which was built up from 1870 to 1910.

The book is edited by Peter Guillery and David Kroll. Other contributors are Owen Hatherley, Andrew Saint, Ben Campkin, Irina Davidovici, Richard Dennis, Tanis Hinchcliffe, Simon Hudspith, Simon Pepper, Sofie Pelsmakers, David Roberts, Colin Thom.

About Dr David Kroll

Born in Berlin, David Kroll qualified as an architect in London. He has a background in professional practice, academic teaching and research, and is particularly interested in housing-related topics and sustainable design. In architectural practice, David was involved in several high-profile projects including concrete prefab housing at the Athletes’ Village, the Darwin Centre Two for C.F. Moller Architects and the Brisbane airport extension for BVN. His PhD on the history of speculative housing in London was shortlisted for the RIBA President’s Research Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis 2015. He held lecturing positions at the University of East London, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Kent. In 2015 he relocated to Australia, where he has lectured in architecture in the Construction and Environment stream at the University of South Australia.

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17/08/2017 Dr Lian Loke
Experience as Skill: Somatics, Design and Human-Computer Interaction


In Experience as Skill, Thecla Schiphorst and Lian Loke argue that in designing for human encounters with technology, we need to take into account the somatic dimension. Somatic body-based practices train awareness of self and environment through directed attention to bodily sensing, feeling and moving. This self-enquiry at the heart of somatics provides a rich experiential ground from which to understand and empathise with the experience of others, the people for whom we design.

Schiphorst and Loke make the significant shift from understanding experience as something that we live through, to understanding experience as skill, acknowledging the instrumental and skilful nature of the body. They provide a new perspective on designing for user experience, one that takes seriously the proposition that the way we experience the world and ourselves is not fixed, but can be trained like any learned skill.

They provide a practical illumination for human-computer interaction of how to incorporate somatic approaches to technology design. In the spirit of Foucault’s notion of the care of the self, with its ethical and political dimensions, they make a potent case for the transformative potential of somatics in developing personal and collective agency and accountability to make change in the world through design.

About Dr Lian Loke

Dr Lian Loke’s research is at the nexus of design, performance, somatics and technology, and explores the aesthetics of interaction with the body as a central focus. Her research interests lie in understanding the lived experience of people interacting with emerging technologies and exploring how to design future products and systems from such understandings. Her research contributes to one of the major issues confronting the built environment – its ability to foster healthy living. The relationship between creativity, movement and well-being drives the exploration of potential design solutions and methodologies. Lian is the Program Director for the Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts, and teaches design thinking, interaction design, somatic user experience design and the design of body-centric, wearable devices and interactive systems.

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10/08/2017 Professor Andrew Leach
Mannerism and Modern Architecture, Again


Taking its starting point from a reading of Manfredo Tafuri’s L’architettura del manierismo nel cinquecento europeo (1966), this seminar considers how to figure the mid-twentieth-century historiography of architectural “mannerism” into contemporary architectural debate. The seminar will introduce Tafuri’s work in order to track writing on architectural mannerism up to 1950 and the year, therefore, in which Colin Rowe published his influential essay “Mannerism and Modern Architecture”—on which such later works as Bruno Zevi’s treatment of “Michelangiolo architetto” (1964) and Robert Venturi’s embrace of mannerism in Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) one way or another rely. The seminar will consider how mannerism has been understood within the history of modern architectural culture and why that might offer something more than a passing curiosity today. The seminar will introduce Leach's small book Crisis on Crisis (forthcoming 2017) and the larger project it will inform at Harvard’s Villa I Tatti in 2018.

About Professor Andrew Leach

Andrew Leach is Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney. He writes on contemporary issues in the fields of architectural history, theory and criticism. His books include Manfredo Tafuri (2007), What is Architectural History? (2010) and Rome (2016), and include the edited collections Shifting Views (2008), Architecture, Disciplinarity and the Arts (2009), The Baroque in Architectural Culture, 1880-1980 (2015), Off the Plan (2016) and On Discomfort (2016). He has held two fellowships the Australian Research Council, and grants from the FWO (Flanders). Current work concerns the historiography of mannerism and the baroque over the long twentieth century, the recent history of architectural theory, the architecture and infrastructure of the early colonial Tasman world, and the urban and architectural history of the Gold Coast.

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