From the 19th to the 23rd of September 2015, in the framework of the course ARCH 7037 – Experiential Studio Onshore, a group of 26 students of the Master of Architecture and Landscape Architecture of the University of Adelaide spent a week in Port Augusta to participate in an intensive workshop on site.
The course provided the opportunity for students to learn from direct experience through a full immersion situation in an Australian regional community with a strong indigenous component.
The studio has been organised in close cooperation with the local City Council Planning office and has seen the participation of representatives of the local aboriginal communities. The program was funded through the Indigenous Course Enrichment Project of the Faculty of Professions, University of Adelaide, and supported by the Wirltu Yarlu Aboriginal Education office in Port Augusta and Adelaide.
Before departure the students attended the Aboriginal Cultural Awareness course presented by Uncle Major Sumner, a Ngarrindjeri Elder, and Dawn Hawthorn-Jackson, Director of Emu Consulting.
During their stay in Port Augusta, the students had the opportunity to develop project proposals through an accurate understanding of the local spatial and cultural context and aimed at supporting the Council planning office in drafting a revitalization plan for the central areas of the town.
They interviewed local residents, including a group of Aboriginal persons, on urban renewal expectations, and undertake field surveys and urban analysis. The themes developed included, among the others: cultural heritage and cross-cultural issues on public space, urban space reuse and urban consolidation, water/climate sensitive urban design, sustainable mobility, infrastructure optimization, application of new energy paradigms, etc. finalised to a proposal for a more environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive public urban space.