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The Charrette 15 Experience
Pt 2

In our latest Student Hub pieces, we handed the reins to Architectus Graduates Saran Kim and Amber Young.

They both participated in the annual Design Charrette, joining teams from our Melbourne and Adelaide studios to solve a hypothetical design challenge along with colleagues from across the country. Following Saran’s account of her experience in Adelaide, we hear from Amber as she shares key takeaways from her time in the Melbourne team.

Part 2: Team Melbourne with Amber Young

Architecture as a discipline is inherently collaborative and multi-disciplinary. It’s not just architects working with other architects, but traffic engineers working with project leads, interior designers working with associates, the list goes on!

These collaborations can be small, such as crunching NLA numbers on tracing paper with the designer you sit next to, attending a project team meeting with a client for a design review, or even as big as a project team collaborating with another international architecture firm to deliver a large-scale project. However, we all have a common goal – to deliver amazing design outcomes. Still, people often forgot about how a solution will impact Country and surrounding native ecological systems.

This circles back to one of the core themes of Charrette 15: Designing with Country. Designing with Country is also a form of collaboration that allows us to reflect on how Country isn’t just land, but also encapsulates tangible and intangible spiritual and cultural knowledge of the land, sky, and waters.  

Team Melbourne’s approach, titled ‘Beyond the Riverbank: Re-connecting to Country’ explored how, at present, the Adelaide CBD is a Western approach to what a city should be, making it disconnected from Country and the people. Re-connecting to Country is a means of re-establishing placemaking, knowledge, and personality of place through the principles of human and ecological agency – something that can positively impact “beyond the riverbank” and into the greater Thebarton area.  

Through this approach, we explored how we can re-connect with Country while restoring the placemaking agency of residents, users and native ecological systems in the project area. This collaboration between the past, present, and future of the place created an interesting dialogue between how we can allow Karrawirra Parri (River Torrens) to ebb and flow through its natural seasonal cycles, while also designing for an adaptable and flexible city of the 22nd Century.

This dynamism between ecological cycles and human habitation allowed us to apply lessons from Country to flood management in a contemporary context, allowing the river to encapsulate the site.  

Overall, Charrette 15 allowed me to see a different side of what architectural collaboration could be – collaborating with Country, native ecological systems, and the future. 

Photography by Oliver Lagasca