In September 2015, 20 students from the Diploma in Architecture attended an International Masterclass at Pittwater, Australia. During the trip, students were mentored by the award winning architects Richard Leplastrier, Peter Stutchbury, Fergus Scott as well as the previous Dean of Faculty of Architecture at Newcastle University, Lindsay Johnston.
The 5-day Masterclass hosted at Pittwater YHA immersed students in nature with its panoramic views and green trails - a contrast to the concrete jungle of Singapore.
Students were tasked to design a place for contemplation. The group was split into teams to research the land and develop ideas whilst receiving valuable feedback by the Masters. Lectures were held at sundown by the fireplace, teaching students about aboriginal traditions in Australia as well as insightful sustainable strategies they had developed and tested themselves.
Stepping away from technology and doing everything by hand was a challenge but enriching nonetheless. Students were encouraged to study the place through hand drawings, allowing them to observe points about nature that they had not noticed before. The total immersion within the woods enhanced the students’ sensibilities towards a responsible response to nature.
A final critique by the Masters marked the end of the Masterclass.
After the masterclass, students left Pittwater and made their way to Sydney, visiting built works by Peter Stutchbury as well as his very own architecture studio along the way. This opened a window into the workings of an award winning studio and allowed students to see first-hand prize winning projects.
Nearing the end of the trip, students were given a tour of Sydney Opera House and had opportunities to explore the streets of Sydney before their return to Singapore.
Inspired and empowered, the students agree that this trip was invaluable to their journey into Architecture.