AMS MSc MADE students visiting Sydney

For their first international study visit, the MSc MADE students travel this year to Sydney. Together with TU Delft students from Industrial Ecology and Civil Engineering, the MADE students are teaming up with students from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) for an interdisciplinary course on smart water and mobility. Learning from metropolitan areas abroad, the students develop sustainable solutions for Sydney’s Central Busines District. The seminar is a collaboration between the AMS Institute, DIMI (Delft Delta, Infrastructure and Mobility Initiative) and the UTS. Here you can read about their experiences.

Day 1 – First impressions of Sydney and fellow students
After arriving in Sydney and getting used to the hot weather and time difference we were excited to meet our team members at UTS today! All groups had done a small pre-assignment to get to know each other better and we kicked off the day with presentations of each group introducing themselves and their first ideas for their areas. After being introduced to each other, we had an interesting and informative presentation by Lisa Currie of the City of Sydney about their ambition to become a Water Sensitive City.

After lunch at UTS, it was time to explore Sydney on a walking excursion guided by Rod Simpson. Rod showed us around and took us to the Sydney observation point and taught us more about the history of the city and how this shapes the city as we see it today. It was a great way to get an impression of Sydney and of course to socialize with all students and staff. Looking forward to collaborating with everyone this coming week and excited to learn more about Sydney and start designing tomorrow!
– Carola and Marijke –

Day 2 – Sketching, drawing, and identifying problems
Before heading to Sydney the MADE-students booked an Airbnb where all 10 are living during the course. So on the morning of the second day, all of us walked from the MADE-mansion to the UTS-campus, which is about a 15-minute walk. At arrival at the Faculty of Architecture at 9.30 there was a day opening to get everyone on the same page and kick-off the real work of the project.

All groups are a mix of UTS, TU Delft, and MADE students, to create multidisciplinary teams of which some know and some don’t know the city. The 9 different groups have been appointed an area of the city to improve in terms of mobility and water infrastructure. This first day consisted mostly of visiting the own area of the city to take a closer look and all groups have started sketching, drawing, identifying problems and even brainstorming of solutions. After a long day of work, the MADE students returned home to enjoy homemade pizza.
– Martijn –

Day 3 – Hard work & wet clothes?
The third day, all nine groups proceeded to work on their specific case areas at UTS. After the morning briefing, in which we discussed which trends and developments were to happen in the City of Sydney, the groups scattered around to work on tomorrow’s deliverables; eye-height view, 1:200 section, 1:1000 map and an explanatory map. All of these for all three time frames, being 3 months, 3 years and 30 years from now. Synchronising the visions and goals between neighbouring groups are vital as well in order to come to one integrated solution for the whole CBD.

It is really impressive to see how much work can be done in such a short time-frame. And working a bit late on the assignment was not too big of a deal, as it was raining outside in the evening. The MADE students, however, do hope that their stuff did not get too wet, as all windows remained open when they left in the morning.

Tomorrow will see all groups presenting their first ideas. As can be expected; some ideas will survive the high expectations of our professors, and some will need to be revitalized.
– Mike –

Day 4 – mid term presentations

On Saturday, the fourth day of our seminar, the mid-term presentations took place. This morning the lucky ones had time to sleep in, others had to start bright and early for sketching, printing, and preparing. A layout had to be followed, composed by a series of A2 papers visualizing working principles of the design and perspectives of the interventions supporting the vision. All groups had to present their goal and plans to be taken on their respective area in three time frames: Starting from 3 months, 3 years and 30 years. The compound of measures should ultimately lead to the desired vision.

The proposals for the Sydney CBD were engaging and led to a diverse range of solutions, showing mostly many opportunities for integrating visions from multiple groups. The overall strategy returning in all plans was a reduction of cars and a multifunctional green infrastructure, collecting stormwater harvest and providing solutions for Urban Heat Island effect. Concluding from the presentations, the collaboration between the groups proves to be essential for the development of a challenging interdisciplinary assignment such as the improvement of Sydney in terms of mobility and infrastructure. Sunday is our well-deserved day off, so Monday we can all start developing the plans in new group compositions and continue getting to know Sydney in this unique, multidisciplinary and multicultural setting.

– Anthony & Dieuwertje –

Day 5 – Time to relax

The fifth day the students of MSc MADE spent their free Sunday enjoying a well deserved day at the beach.

Day 6 – Let’s shake things up

After a day of relaxing, it was time to start working again. To change the group dynamics, one member of each group was transferred to the neighboring group. The day started with a plenary session, informing us about the personal reflection that is expected of us by the end of the seminar. It continued with reviewing each other’s mid-term presentations, providing all of the groups with subjects to start, continue and stop thinking about. The rest of the day was all about introducing the transferred group members to their new project area, in order to get prepared for the final presentations. Although it took some time to get used to each other, it seems like the new group formation brought a fresh perspective into the designs.
Group collaborations were further developed, ranging from a cable car line to joint storm water catchment solutions. Tomorrow all groups will unite their powers to develop a patchwork map that connects all of the different ideas. Besides, the individual group designs will be captured in fancy visualizations, drawings and maps. It will be an exciting day!

– Anna –

Day 7 – The Aussie vibe

G’day Mate! Yeeeeeee mate. Today was a hard-working day. Most of us got up early to go to uni. I cycle to UTS every day as I can use a bicycle of a friend of mine. Cyclists here have to wear a helmet, so I have to wear a quite silly looking helmet which makes me feel more insecure than safe. But when I enter the main road I start to feel more unsafe then insecure. The route from our AirBnb to our uni is not designed for cyclists, as is the Australian culture. If I cycle with a little confidence on the main road I receive angry looks from car drivers. But when I cycle on the sidewalk I keep on startling people. I lock my helmet to my bike and go to the cafeteria. After a ‘large cap’ (the barista knows my order by now) work starts. It was a full on design studio day consisting of a mix of rhino section prints, copic markers and Adobe software. Tomorrow it is presentation day. It’s 23:21 and see us MADE nerds in the picture still working on the presentation while our Aussie mates are ‘sinking piss’ [Australian slang for drinking beer]. While the stress levels are rising and the Photoshop skills are being fine-tuned the daily routine of reviewing our course and fellow students (read gossiping) takes place.’

– Moja-

Day 8 – D-day in the MADE mansion 

Everyone in the MADE mansion got up early today to finish everything for the final presentations. The future design plans for the nine districts were presented in three ​different timeframes; 3 months, 3 years and 30 years. For each timeframe a street-view visual, a cross-section, a site-plan and a poster with explanatory diagrams and text was required. Together we put the finishing touch to all the plans, stressed about printing, but we managed to construct a large map connecting all the districts. It was very nice to see all the final design plans of the other groups and we were impressed by each other’s work. Our final presentations were reviewed by a very critical panel of experienced architects from Sydney. They appreciated our imagination but were not too enthusiastic about all our plans, though they also recognised the limited time and challenging international group-work that we’ve had. The presentations ended with drinks, which everyone, students and teachers, deserved after a week of hard work. In general we have learned a lot this week about Sydney and its urban challenges, about Australians and how to work with them and – especially those of us with a non-architecture background – about how to do a design studio in one week. It’s been an exciting but also challenging week but we made it!