Urban + Architectural Designer for Roberts Day, NSW. Completed Master of Urban Design. 2012
What is your professional background?
I originally studied architecture in Portugal, where I come from. Upon graduation, I went on to work for a multinational company in Angola (Africa). The work consisted largely of planning and urban design projects in cities located along the southern regions of the country, near the border with Namibia. This experience seeded in me a curiosity for all things related to the creation and development of cities and their relationship with their local setting.
Why did you decide to study urban design at AUDRC?
The time had come for new adventures and I was seeking to further my studies in urbanism. After considering the courses on offer across several countries and cities, I found out about the original Urban Design Centre, now AUDRC. It seemed the right choice. The concept of working in a research centre dedicated to urban design, located in a booming and progressing city, with the potential for future employment opportunities, paved my gateway to Australia.
How has studying urban design at AUDRC enriched your practice?
I found that going back to university after a few years of professional experience provided me with a 'different set of eyes'. I felt more mature and focused in the items I was studying. The topics we explored in theory were highly interesting and aligned with the most up to date thinking in urbanism. The studios provided the 'laboratory' to test my ideas and creative skills in relation to the ideas explored in the other units. I would say, the most relevant skills I learned at AUDRC were the research skills and the capacity to cross reference several sources and information with my own ideas.
What inspires you? Professionally and/or personally?
Professionally, I am inspired by the relationship between creativity, rationality and technique. Which, in my pragmatic view, provides the basis for all good design projects.Personally, I currently derive my inspiration from thinking of ways to improve the future. I feel a bit of a geek when I hear about plans for space travel and the technology which is unravelling from such exploration.
Can you talk about a specific project or projects of interest that you worked on?
I normally choose one from each of the places I have been during my professional career.
In Angola, my team and I were developing large scale plans (equivalent to structure plans) for the development and reconstruction of the cities, after a long period of civil war. The city of Ondjiva is located in the Cunene region, about 25km north of the border with Namibia, on the Cuvelai River Basin, which flows north-south towards Namibia and suffers annual floods during the rainy season. It is a unique landscape setting that challenges any urban settlement throughout the region. The urban design team, which I was part of, worked closely with environmental scientists to understand those challenges and provide a response which would minimise the impacts of urban development within the river basin. Meanwhile, we also raised awareness with local and regional government officials towards the necessary solutions for the challenges the city was facing. Unfortunately, in 2010, in response to a large flooding event, the central government decided to create a system of dams encircling the city, much to our dismay.
Moving forward to Perth, I worked with CODA Studio for 2 years and was part of the team developing built form studies which informed Local Planning Policies for several infill projects in the Metro Area. The main project I would refer to is WGV, for Landcorp. It was again a unique opportunity to test the development of design guidelines which inform the design process for the single residential properties in the development. However, as part of the process we had to understand the solar access, ventilation, separation and privacy requirements between neighbours in order to generate the building envelopes which currently guide this experimental development in Fremantle.
I have been working with Roberts Day in Sydney almost for the last 2 years. The bulk of my experience has been with large scale infill projects namely Edmondson Park, Town Centre North. The site is located within an 800m walkable catchment of Edmondson Park Train Station, and currently sits vacant. The challenge was to test the planning controls currently approved for the site and determine their suitability under the current property market from an urban design perspective. Then, we would provide a necessary update to the planning controls in order to unlock the potential of the site.
From all of your professional and academic practice what is your definition of Urban Design?
The best definition I can come up with at the moment is: 'To think creatively about the future of the urban realm'. In order to do so one needs to bare in mind a raft of different inputs from several areas of knowledge and be able to summarise them in drawings and pictures. This is the best way we know to communicate the vision of a reality, which is still to come.
Join other postgraduate professionals for an exciting and rewarding opportunity to study in the dynamic and contemporary field of Urban Design. AUDRC offers a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, and Masters in Urban Design, with units often delivered after-hours to accommodate full time work and other commitments.
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