Four Sydney Uni students head to Denmark on inaugural MADE by the Opera House exchange

13 December 2013

(L-R): Robert Martin, Jennifer McMaster, Laura Craft and Matthew Wells

(L-R): Robert Martin, Jennifer McMaster, Laura Craft and Matthew Wells (University of Sydney students participating in MADE by the Opera House). Photo: Maja Baska.

Four of the five students headed to Copenhagen on 7 January 2014 to take part in the inaugural MADE by the Opera House tertiary exchange program between Australia and Denmark are from The University of Sydney.

Participants in the six-week Multidisciplinary Australian Danish Exchange program are drawn from 3rd year or above architecture, engineering and design (built environment) courses in NSW universities.

The University of Sydney's architecture and engineering students Laura Craft, Robert Martin, Jennifer McMaster and Matthew Wells were chosen from 128 NSW tertiary students who applied for the exchange in October this year.

MADE participant, Laura Craft, said: "It will not only be amazing to see so many of Jørn Utzon's built projects in Denmark, but to stay in one of his buildings for a week in Majorca will be quite surreal."

Originally a student of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, Laura's fascination with the possibilities of form through integrated structural knowledge led her to transfer to the combined degree with Civil Engineering in 2010.

"Utzon's Sydney Opera House exemplifies the innovative potentials of integrated design in its endeavor for 'total architecture', which is now prevalent in more recent ground-breaking projects such as Beijing's Watercube," said Laura.

"As one of the first groups of students to graduate from a combined Architecture and Engineering degree in 2013, the Denmark exchange will be an incredible start to my fulltime career," she said.

Professor Kim Rasmussen, Head of the Civil Engineering School at The University of Sydney said: "The University of Sydney students selected have a strong appreciation for the complementary principles of architecture and engineering, and place a high value on a multi-disciplinary design approach."

"This will be a fantastic opportunity for them to work in the design capital of the world. The insight and experience they will gain doesn't come much better than this program," said Professor Rasmussen.

Robert Martin, who has just completed his third year in a Bachelor of Design in Architecture, also acknowledges that Danish design has always been at the forefront of the architectural world, both in terms of its ability to be innovative and its unique understanding and integration of nature.

"My growing awareness of the built environment led to an increased interest in environmentally-consious design, the fundamentals of which, such as, orientation, natural lighting and ventilation, overlap with Utzon's design principles," said Robert.

"I want to be part of a new generation of architects who embrace design as a collaborative field, rather than an autonomous artistic realm. Whilst MADE by the Opera House builds alliances between architecture and engineering, I believe there is the potential to expand this to an even wider, multi-disciplinary approach to include specialist fields such as horticulture, ecology, sociology and psychology."

The first stop for the Australian students is Danish architect Jørn Utzon's World Heritage-listed house, 'Can Lis', in Majorca, Spain. Utzon visited the island in 1966 during his return trip to Denmark, after working on the iconic Sydney Opera House project. The house was then built and completed in 1971 as a summer residence for Utzon and his wife.

The students will be placed in various engineering and architecture firms to work in a collaborative team on a multidisciplinary project. International architecture firm Henning Larsen Architects will host the first cohort of Australian students at their Copenhagen headquarters from 13 January to 21 February 2014.

The annual program was launched as part of the Sydney Opera House 40th Anniversary celebrations in October this year, and praised by official Anniversary Patron HRH Crown Prince Frederik.

MADE by the Opera House, gives five Australian and five Danish students the opportunity to travel to Denmark and Australia each year for the next ten years.

About MADE by the Opera House
MADE by the Opera House is a collaboration between the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation and supported by MADE partners Arup and Steensen Varming, both of which have been associated with the Opera House since construction began, the NSW Architects Registration Board, and three Danish foundations, The Bikuben Foundation, The Dreyer Foundation and The Obel Family Foundation.

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