In early 2019 the Sunshine Coast Council funded a cutting edge experimental design studio which was run as a capstone industry based subject for students at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Students were given the chance to work collaboratively with industry professionals to design something that would be built in a public place.
The subject was “Creativity, Design and Communication” and was a cross-disciplinary collaborative workshop that attracted students from courses as diverse as psychology, creative writing, media and screen production, urban planning, communication design and game design. The students came together to learn how to use design to help deliver a real world urban design project. The co-lab was inspired by the City Studio run from Vancouver Canada.
The urban design project was part of councils streetscape upgrade of Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs being the area in which the university is located. The students were given the task of designing a gateway entrance to the Sippy Downs suburb.
POMO was engaged to help guide the students through a process that would deliver place-driven urban design concepts. The students also gained access to two artist consultants, an indigenous consultant, a landscape architect from council and were supervised in the subject by two university staff, one from communication design and one from urban design and planning. Together this team worked closely with the students across an intense eight week period and together undertook:
>a cultural immersion tour to understand local indigenous history
>a lecture and input from artistic consultants to understand the role of creative practice and art in public places
>a formal lecture and mentorship from POMO to outline a design and research methodology that would help students to create realistic place-driven urban design concepts
Students were required to keep a creative journal, write a return brief which responded to the design challenges and prepare and present their final refined design concepts.
The outcomes from the students proved the value of cross-disciplinary thinking, contextualised to a local place and driven through POMO’s placemaking methodology.
When we set out to design our studio we approached it like any design project, we began by identifying the priorities and creating a strategic framework to guide the decision making.
The initial priority was to create something simple to build, something sustainable, creatively inspiring and something that was cost effective. Through research it became clear that achieving these things was not necessarily difficult.
Working with the landscape design team POMO were able to create a number of key design initiatives that would contribute to the locally inspired placemaking program and deliver on practical community needs.
POMO was engaged to design and construct a number of landscape elements. Each element was custom designed and born from the uniqueness of Palmwoods, they reference local history, using locally sourced materials and were being made collaboratively with local craftspeople and artisans.
Underlying this was a larger design and management process run by POMO involving construction design, design reporting, engineering certification, construction and project management and installation on-site. A true multidisciplinary and multi-skilled program with a wide range of stakeholders and projects participants.
The project won the Excellence Award at the 2018 Queensland AILA awards for Civic Design. It also won gold in the same category at the national awards.