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Neil Brenner to visit Melbourne School of Design for Dean’s Lecture Series

Neil Brenner discussing urban spatial ideologies

The first international speaker to visit Melbourne School of Design for the Dean’s Lecture Series in 2015 is Neil Brenner, Professor of Urban Theory and Director of the Urban Theory Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). Professor Brenner holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago, an MA in Geography from UCLA, and a BA in Philosophy, Summa Cum Laude, from Yale College. Professor Brenner, a revered speaker on the topics of urban theory and urbanisation, is also the author of several important books which cover his extensive research into processes of urban and regional restructuring and uneven spatial development, with particular reference to the remaking of urban, metropolitan and regional governance configurations under contemporary neoliberalising capitalism.

Professor Brenner will be visiting Melbourne University for a week in March, as part of the Dean’s Lecture Series, which brings notable academics from across the world to the Melbourne School of Design to share their extensive knowledge on global issues of design, construction and urban planning and environmental research. The lectures are open to staff, students and the general public.

The urban age in question: towards a new epistemology of the urban

In what sense is the 21st century world urban? In this lecture, Neil Brenner critiques contemporary ideologies of the "urban age," which confront this question with reference to the purported fact that more than 50% of the world's population resides within cities. Building on his ongoing research with Professor Christian Schmid of the ETH Zurich, Brenner casts doubt upon the idea of a world that has become "50% urban."  He then proposes a series of alternative methodological strategies through which to analyse emergent landscapes of planetary urbanization.

17 March 2015, 7.00pm, Lecture Theatre 1

The associated exhibition will be available for viewing in the ALKF Gallery from Tuesday, 17 March 2015 - 9:00am to Friday, 3 April 2015 - 5:00pm.

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Francesca Hughes Book Launch and lecture

The Architecture of Error: Matter, Measure and the Misadventures of Precision

The Architecture of Error: Matter, Measure and the Misadventures of Precision

Francesca Hughes is visiting the Melbourne School of Design to give a free lecture and launch her new book: The Architecture of Error: Matter, Measure, and the Misadventures of Precision. Ms Hughes lives in London where she has both run studios and taught in history and theory since 1994.

The rejection of organic materials central to modernity didn’t just produce the steel and glass icons we know so well, but also a generation of newly metalized aircraft that were so heavy they could not fly. These engineered dodos, which resulted directly from architecture’s ideological reconfigurations around predictability, precision and error, ask difficult questions about technology’s exemption from cultural and sociological explanation: What if it does not work?

Proposing error as a new category for architectural thought, Francesca Hughes draws on other disciplines and practices that have interrogated precision and failure in her latest book and associated lecture at the Melbourne School of Design.

The lecture will be held Wednesday 11th March at 6.30pm in theatre 1, with the book launch directly afterwards.

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Architecture for Collective Impact lecture

from the NORD project: The Best Kid's City in the World

From the NORD project: The Best Kid's City in the World

Be sure to register for this insightful lecture by Johannes Molander Pedersen, founding partner of NORD Architects in Copenhagen, Denmark, whose recent works have included healthcare institutions, learning facilities, expansive urban strategies and community developments.

Mr Pedersen is in Australia as a participant in the Droga Architect in Residence program, and will be speaking on how the process of developing architecture and urban areas can commit participants from different sectors along a common agenda, creating a collective impact and social change.

The lecture will be held on Monday, 16 March at 6:30pm in the main basement theatre.

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Lecture on high performance buildings with visiting Professor

Professor Vivian Loftness

Extensive field studies and research on the importance of indoor environmental quality in commercial buildings for human health and productivity as well as energy and environmental sustainability are brought together in this free public lecture by Professor Vivian Loftness, former Head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, and one of the pioneers of high performance and sustainable buildings in North America.

High Performance Buildings for Improved Productivity and Health

Critical factors considered include the changing nature of work, advances in building systems and indoor environment technology and the potential of further technological innovation and ‘the internet of things’.

Professor Loftness will be in Melbourne as a guest speaker and MasterClass instructor for this year's Green Building Council Australia (GBCA) conference in Melbourne. She is an internationally renowned researcher, author and educator with over thirty years of focus on environmental design and sustainability, advanced building systems integration, climate and regionalism in architecture, and design for performance in the workplace of the future. She has served on ten National Academy of Science (NAS) panels, the NAS Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment and has given four Congressional testimonies on sustainability.

Vivian is recipient of the National Educator Honor Award from the American Institute of Architecture Students and the Sacred Tree Award from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). She received her BS and MS in Architecture from MIT and served on the National Boards of the USGBC, AIA Committee on the Environment, Green Building Alliance, Turner Sustainability, and the Global Assurance Group of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. She is a registered architect and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

The lecture will be held Friday, 20th March, from 12pm – 1pm, in the Singapore Theatre.


Digital design and construction meets ancient technology

Graduate students from the Melbourne School of Design completed an intensive workshop in combining digital techniques with low-tech construction methods as part of the subject, Issues in Technology.

The practical workshop resulted in the assemblage of the first post-formed gridshell constructed in Australia using a sustainable and highly durable treated wood product called Accoya.

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Sustainability showcase in new publication

Claire Farrell, one of fifteen researchers profiled

From water, food and climate change to protecting wildlife and improving the way our cities work, The University of Melbourne has an estimated 1300 researchers working in fields relevant to sustainability and resilience, with annual research expenditure of about $218 million.

Read some of their stories in Sustainability at Melbourne, a new publication produced by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute which showcases some of our best researchers and students. Who knows, you might uncover something here that will become part of your daily life in the future.

Read the full publication