This April 8 – 20, 2015, AA/RMIT VS Broken Hill invites you to travel to the remote, outback town of
Broken Hill set within the inner, semi-desert regions of Australia. Here, the Architectural Association School of London and RMIT Landscape Architecture will come together to conduct a 10-day architectural workshop that will design a set of proposals that will respond to the specific urban and landscape characteristics of this old mining town.

Whilst questioning the definition of heritage and the role it plays within the drawing up of a towns tourism strategy, participants will investigate the sites and characters that stand as landmarks and forebears for two of the towns’ key historical narratives and past capital making industries – mining and cinema. Whilst acknowledging its past, participants will then re-approach the present day Broken Hill and its current actors, props and day-to-day scenarios and extract current spatial typologies as highlighted by the narratives that are weaved throughout the town. These spatial typologies will also be comprehended as artefacts of local social, cultural and economic operations.

By engaging with local residents, participants will make use of their points of the view with the objective of proposing a set of time specific events in order to lead to conceiving Broken Hill as a map of operations and events. The studio will produce a series of drawings and moving images that will ultimately be presented to a forum of local community and council representatives and be part of a wider conversation that speculates on sustainable economies of towns whose main and historical industries are in declination.

Participants will learn a set of skills that begin to define a particular approach to curatorial and urban practices that incorporates the construction of fictional narratives to respond to the role of existing conventions of heritage, temporality and context including nostalgia, occupation, deployment, cultural significance, industry and disempowerment. By conceiving Broken Hill as a testing ground for the proposal of temporary events, participants will be asked to question the impact of both small scale and larger scale operations and their effects in terms of both cultural and capital production, especially within the context of tourism.

What students will gain from this course:
• engage directly with the unique urban conditions and semi-arid surroundings that Broken Hill presents in a hands-on manner
• engage in an actual project pitch scenario in front of invited guest who are the potential end uses of their proposals during the final day’s forum
•  learn a cross-disciplinary design methodology and presentation method that combines moving imagery with architectural drawings
• be part of a research group that can place this unique, Australian town within the overall global conversation surrounding methods of regenerating regional, post-industrial towns


For further background information, see document below