Students to research Brighton’s development

STUDENTS  from Monash University and the University of Tasmania are undertaking a research study that will investigate the changing nature and role of public architecture and spaces in the Brighton’s rapidly growing suburban and regional areas.

‘Brighton Public’ is a ‘live’ research study that will investigate the changing nature and role of public architecture and spaces in the rapidly growing edge suburban / regional area of Brighton.

The 16 Monash and the six UTAS Masters Students (fourth and fifth year architecture) spent two days in Brighton recently being  briefed by Council’s Manager Development Services James Dryburgh followed by a tour of key sites around the municipality and a public information-gathering session on the second day.

A few hours were spent with all participants moving freely between five different tables, each representing a different precinct within the municipality – offering their thoughts on the precinct’s strengths, weaknesses and potential.

Brighton Council is supporting the project that will focus on public spaces and buildings. Two further site visits have already been planned for later in the semester.

During the recent briefing at the Brighton Civic Centre in Bridgewater, a workshop was held with the public and representatives of various stakeholder groups.

Everyone was welcomed by Deputy Mayor Barbara Curran, then given an outline of the project by Ross Brewin (lecturer from Monash) and Helen Norrie (lecturer from UTAS).

“A few hours were spent with all participants moving freely between five different tables, each representing a different precinct within the municipality – offering their thoughts on the precinct’s strengths, weaknesses and potential. It was a great event at which the students gained a huge amount of valuable knowledge from the community,” James Dryburgh said.

“At the same time, it was an interesting and important part of the briefing process and the students gained important first-hand knowledge of these areas with Council and other representatives on hand to point out the salient points and answer their questions.

“They then spent the rest of the day re-visiting sites with the benefit of their knowledge (some with members of the community).

“The students now go away to begin the first stage of concept planning for the different areas. They will return mid-semester to present their initial ideas to the community, seeking further comment. They will then go away and refine their proposals, before returning at the end of semester to present their final proposals,” Mr Dryburgh said.

 “In essence, what we’re aiming to do is build on the municipality’s various strategic design documents.  The project will involve undertaking broad historical research into the urban development of Brighton, close observation and documentation of the contemporary urban setting, and the subsequent proposal of responsive, forward-thinking speculative design projects on a number of specific public sites throughout the municipality.

“Importantly the project offers students the opportunity to put forward ideas and strategies for the future direction of Brighton and be part of the ongoing process of revitalisation.”

The design studio will focus on several key urban sites spread across the municipality including areas in Brighton, Bridgewater Gagebrook, Pontville and Old Beach.

As the project evolves, groups and individuals will focus on more specific sites within each of the precincts to produce their design project.

The project is being undertaken as a collaboration between Brighton Council, University of Tasmania School of Architecture (UTAS) and Monash University Department of Architecture (MADA). It will engage in a community consultation process involving various key stakeholders in the community. UTAS and Monash students will be working together on parts of the project in a cross- institutional exchange that draws upon the expertise of UTAS’s Regional Urban Studies Laboratory and MADA’s focus on speculative design based research.

The whole project is an entire semester unit for the students.

“This is a fantastic way for students to engage with communities, but importantly, provide their insights into a municipality’s future growth using their skills and learning competencies.  As tomorrow’s leaders and designers, they are providing an important and valuable contribution which we, as a Council, will benefit from,” Mr Dryburgh said.

“Hopefully some of the concepts may eventually progress to more detailed design and costing stages and be developed in future.”

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