In the absence of a guiding vision to Sydney’s past and future, we turn to the suburbs in search of a distinctiveness to define the actual condition of a city that has grown haphazardly over time. Sydney is a suburban city – suburbs that are the spaces of typological invention. The prevalent Sydney myth of a coastal city no longer holds; the suburbs represent the actual socio-political and environmental challenge of the future.
An ode to ashfield
The project was born out of a love for Sydney’s suburbia, a love for the eclectic, the eccentric, the almost culturally appropriated, macabre ornamentations people use to decorate their homes. The personalisation and expression of individuality and culture with a miniature cast David or goose. While Robin Boyd would have condemned this as Featurism and Adolf Loos would have called it a crime, we believe it is an aspect to be celebrated. It reveals the pride residents have in their homes and provides a glimpse into the multicultural, multigenerational, inclusive communities of Sydney.
When the program of a brief is a school, particularly, a primary school, we believe it encourages designers to take on a playful approach. Our intention with this project was to be able to create an architecture that reframes this “unarchitectural” language of suburbia into something contemporary, beautiful and practical. Following thorough research into Ashfield, we hacked these elements to create a town within a suburb, utilising the language of suburbia with internal streets and cul-de-sacs defining the school. The design of the school is responsive to its immediate context in scale and orientation, the classroom clusters, which take the language of the surrounding houses, are adaptable, added to and decorated, not only by the original designers, and builders but also by the students, users, teachers, and parents.
This academic project was produced in the Master Design Studio NEVER IDEOLOGICAL: ENDANGERED TYPOLOGIES, led by Andrew Daly and Eduard Fernàndez (Supercontext), during the 2020 Autumn Semester at the UTS School of Architecture.
architects: Marni Reti, Adelaide Lehmann | client: University of Technology Sydney UTS | status: Academic Project (2020) | location: Sydney, Australia (0,0) | climate: Humid subtropical, Temperate | material: undefined | environment: Urbanization | visualizer: Studio | scale: 116.000 m2 extralarge | types: house, refurbishment, residential | views: 1.613