UC architects assist around the world

UC architects assist around the world

Alison Dance

2 July 2012: From designing cities in China to building basic amenities in the Solomon Islands, University of Canberra architecture students and staff are using their skills to make a difference. 

Part of the team of 12 were contracted to design a city in Cheng-Du in Szechuan Province, by Beijing company HYHW Architects and Planners, with the help of local architect, Ronan Moss, and have used their payment from this work to fund a new project in the Solomon Islands.

Ten members of the group travelled to the Solomon Islands this week to construct toilets at a community school on the small island of Bellona near Bougainville.

Teaching labs

Student Shai Lambert and Ronan Moss in the Forbidden City, China. Photo: Shai Lambert

Professorial fellow of architecture at the University, Rodney Moss, founded the project, saying that although many architects focus on who has the “biggest and flashest buildings”, it is important to remember the core of architecture is bettering society.

“What we’re doing is of value and one of the things about architecture is being concerned about society and having a social conscience. It’s getting down to the things that are really relevant, interceding the plans of a city is relevant, building a toilet is relevant,” Mr Moss said.

Mr Moss said the project enables students to experience two contrasting cultures by traveling to the rapidly developing China and a third world village in the Solomon Islands.

“We’re looking for a way for students coming to this University to do two things today which I think are really important: to go to China and see how China is developing … and also exposing students to remote communities and social disadvantage.  So we put it together in the same scheme.”

Teaching labs

Students Shai Lambert and Nathan Evans with Ronan Moss at the "Birds Nest" Olympic Stadium. Photo: Shai Lambert 

The project will be accredited to the student’s degrees, with Shai Lambert, a masters student involved in the project, saying he did not expect to design a city or end up working in the Solomon Islands before graduating.

“The chance to be part of a small team involved in such a large and exciting design project in a foreign country is not something that comes up very often … we get to have fun, visit all these places and it goes towards our degree as well,” Mr Lambert said.

Assistant professor Michael Jasper is responsible for the projects, which involves the following students: Caila McQueen, Dean Kensit, Fergus Smith, Liam Bryce, Lloyd Gina, Nathan Evans, Shai Lambert, Sarah Herbert and Will Mendham.