master of architecturE
Dr. Sean Pickersgill
The work undertaken by the students within the Masters of Architecture program at the University of South Australia has been ground-breaking in addressing the realities of an intra- COVID and post-COVID world. This has been a pandemic that has not only re-shaped social behaviours and the management of health systems, but has fundamentally changed the nature of urban existence itself. The nexus between urban systems of movement, commerce, domesticity and health have all had to be re-calibrated to make allowance for a crisis that has had an effect on cities the world over.
The students in the graduating cohort of 2021 have taken a deep and creative look at the challenges and opportunities of urban development in our current circumstances. Focussing on the diverse urban contexts of Mumbai, New York, Sydney and Venice the work of this year’s graduates demonstrate that innovation and excellence are sometimes the outcome of limiting circumstances. For the most part they have all considered the role that architecture plays in giving shape to institutions that will protect and manage pandemic circumstances, striving for a fair and equitable level of accommodation while recognising the diverse social and economic drivers of development.
As is often the case with graduands from our School there has been an incredible level of innovation in considering the different forms of architectural responses to these problems. Moving from work that recognises the essentially technical issues of bio-security and commercial viability to work that imagines a more adventurous future, the projects all retain a deep commitment to the idea that architecture has a meaningful role to play in shaping the experiences of twenty-first century life.
While the urban and economic realities of the four locations share cosmetic similarities, the truth is that there are a myriad number of micro-influences on each site that the graduand work has identified, exemplified, and celebrated. The work proves that while we may share many common challenges within a globalising environment, it is always important to see the particular in the general and understand that architecture is the principal discipline through which societies will re-shape their cities to adapt to future issues, including that of climate change and social diversity.
I commend the work of the students exhibited within the live exhibition and the published catalogue to you as demonstration that the coming generations of architects have clear and responsive answers to the questions of the future.