Japan Travelling Studio

Subject ABPL90296 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: There will be several classes prior to departure and upon return from Nanjing
Total Time Commitment:

240 hours


Admission to a degree in the Melbourne School of Design.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Environments and Design Student Centre
Ground Floor, Baldwin Spencer (building 113)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)
Website: http://www.msd.unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

Nagoya and Melbourne both have extensive and relatively flat urban areas with slightly irregular grid structures supporting respectively networks of subway trains and street-level trams plus radial rail systems. Substantial parts of the subway and tram systems are mult-directional nets operating across areas of at least 100 square kilometres in each case.

Parts of each city have characteristic road and street patterns, which support typical forms of buildings, interchange arrangements and other components. Further, Nagoya's transport system performs well when measured against several sustainabiltiy criteria (e.g. use of public transport, per capita transport fuel consumption, average traffic speed, roadside pollution, etc) which can be attributed in part to the city's particular morphological structure. Also, parts of the Nagoya system are far more volumetric (connected underground + ground + over-ground movement) in their operation than is the case in Melbourne.

Although the two places have been constructed against two widely different cultural backcloths, they have sufficient similarities to make a comparison at various scales of resolution (from sub-region through super-block to street and building/space types) worthwhile. In other words, Nagoya provides something of a counterpoint to Melbourne's present and planned urban structure (and to that of Australian cities in general).

The studio will be a comparative expoloration and evaluation of an alternative urban structure and its component building and spatial typologies, their dimensions and operations. (What are the patterns and component forms, how do they work, and what are the design implications?)

It follows from the 2011 travelling studio, will build upon previously collected data, and extend into complementary areas of the city with greater emphasis on building types (and their potential 'export'): e.g. small footprint car parks, bicycle parks, mixed use building types, compact street design. These patterns and components of Japanese cities remain largely unexplored, and exercises in comparative morphology and more detailed analyses of building types are few, presenting opportunities for original contributions to (urban) design theory and practice. Investigation is however only the means: the intent of the studio is to generate innovative design at local and architectural scales in a Japanese urban context.

  1. To provide students with an experience in international collaboration and a window to China where some of the most active processes of urban renewal in the world are taking place
  2. To encourage students to identify and engage critically with issues of environmental sustainability and social and cultural difference in an international setting
  3. To stimulate creative thinking and problem solving within students through their experience of how local issues govern planning, design and construction processes in a particular location
  • Pre-field trip presentation (equiv. 1,000 words) 10%
  • Presentation (results of main investigative phase - 1st week of field trip - equiv. 2,500 words) 20%
  • Interim presentation - an indicative mark will be given to assist students to understand their progress but no formal mark will be given: however, failure to present will be penalised 10%
  • Final presentation/submission (equiv. of at least 6,500 words) 70% (consisting of: 20% for slide presentation + 50% for panels and/or report)
  • (Rewards: up to 5% for exceptional contributions to the class).
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  1. Basic competence to communicate with design professions in China and Asia
  2. Interdisciplinary teamwork
  3. Understanding and navigating social and cultural difference
  4. Knowledge transfer
  5. Organisational collaboration
  6. Managing risk
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Melbourne School of Design multidisciplinary elective subjects (without prerequisites)

Download PDF version.