John led a design studio in Master of Architecture Program that explored alternative configurations of the controversial Integrated Resort and Casino at Queen’s Wharf on Brisbane’s Riverfront. The project was reviewed by a number of media outlets including ABC Online and the Brisbane Times.
Architectural practice is continually under stress from the numerous ethical and moral tensions at play in making cities – from program to politics, from performance to place making. This studio takes on these complex dilemmas in imagining alternate configurations for Brisbane’s new casino at Queen’s Wharf. In addition to the internal programmatic complexities, projects of this scale play a vital role in shaping cities. A key question for the studio is the manner in which projects of this nature contribute to the “branding” of the city, from the scale of iconic skylines experienced at global scale to the creation of intimate “public” spaces. Thus, design explorations in the studio will operate at multiple levels; form; operating at the scale of the city and beyond, the interplay between architecture as object and the creation, organization and, potentially, the redefinition of “public” space will be investigated. skin; detailed development of the object’s skin will be interrogated and resolved as surface, envelope and environmentally performative device. space; investigations into the relationships between open space (streets, squares, forecourts) and commercial activities. New definitions of, and models for the creation of “public space” will be tested. These lines of enquiry test ideas mooted in Alejandro Zaera Polo’s “The Politics of the Envelope” and Antoine Picon’s “The Politics of Architecture and Subjectivity“. Whilst there have been numerous criticisms of the use, scale and “architecture” of the Destination Queensland design in the press and social media, the studio does not seek to pass judgment on these issues per se. Rather the studio will offer a critique of the processes that have led to the current proposal by exploring previous studies with an aim to develop a better understanding of the relationships of community and commercial interests and proposing alternate configurations to the City of Brisbane and State of Queensland.
Following is a selection of work from the studio.