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Travelling Studio (Los Angeles) (ABPL90296)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 25On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeABPL90296
Availability(Quotas apply)
Summer Term
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Travelling studios are working laboratories for design thought and production, and involve the exploration of complex, real-life issues. They expose students to unfamiliar cultures, places and people, and stimulate their ability to think creatively and solve problems. These studios aim to bring together students from architecture, urban design, landscape and planning streams and encourage an interdisciplinary focus. Pre-trip briefings or seminars will precede the travel component of the studio. The studio will incur travel costs, in addition to tuition fees. Faculty subsidies will, however, be available.



In this summer intensive travelling studio, you will plan a heist in the City of Los Angeles, California — a site of contention, contradiction, and possibility. Through a rigorous examination of material, cultural, and economic flows through the urban fabric, you will be asked to consider how a transgressive event — like those in classic L.A. heist films — might become a formal generator of architecture. Think Bernard Tschumi meets Heat; Die Hard with a formal agenda; Archi Grand Tour meets Grand Theft Auto.

Drawing on the rich cinematic and techno-progressive histories of Los Angeles, we will use multi-axis industrial robots and custom-fabricated robotic filming instruments to investigate the possibilities of cinema as a medium for speculative storytelling. We will instrumentalise the coordinated movement of artefacts, property, ideas, and power from one space to another. Clearly defined possessions and spatial understandings will be radically revisioned: walls will cease to be barriers; topography will become a tool. It is an opportunity to examine the ways in which architecture and urban design are complicit in the commodification of public space and the infrastructure of our cities.


Return Flights: $1200 (MEL-LAX)
Accommodation: $900 (13 nights, up to $70/night)
Meals and living expenses: $600 (12 days, up to $50/day)
Local Travel: $300 (approx.)

Note: Prices listed are subject to change. Participating students will receive a one-off subsidy of $800 from the Faculty utilised towards student’s accommodation costs and may be eligible to receive a one off payment of up to $1,000 from Melbourne Global Mobility (conditions apply).


This travelling studio can count as credit towards your course in one of the categories listed below:

  • Master of Architecture: ABPL90142 (Master of Architecture Studio C), ABPL90143 (Master of Architecture Studio D), ABPL90115 (Master of Architecture Studio E) or Architecture elective or multidisciplinary elective
  • Master of Urban Design: ABPL90273 (Urban Design Studio B), ABPL90389 (Urban Design Studio C) or elective


For further information please check the following link: https://edsc.unimelb.edu.au/graduate/subject-options/travelling-studios

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should have the ability:

  • To explain the City of Los Angeles as a complex site of contention, contradiction, and possibility using a variety of sources within academic literature, policy, popular culture, and fieldwork observations
  • To formulate a self‐initiated and site‐specific design research agenda and methodology for production of an architectural and/or urban "heist" event
  • To strategically record and reflect upon a broad range of site observations and experiences at a variety of scales and in response to a self‐initiated design research agenda
  • To investigate the concepts and possibilities of cinema as a medium for speculative storytelling, using multi‐axis industrial robots and custom‐fabricated robotic filming instruments to directly inform design concepts and decision‐making in innovative and meaningful ways
  • To demonstrate in‐depth spatial, temporal, and strategic thinking in the design of a new urban or architectural intervention to facilitate a "heist" event within the City of Los Angeles
  • To clearly put forward and argue for unconventional and provocative urban or architectural design propositions
  • To clearly and methodically iterate (i.e. deploy, reflect upon, and refine) complex design concepts, techniques, and outputs in pursuit of a self‐initiated design research aim
  • To communicate a complex spatial and temporal design vision in a clear and professional manner, using a variety of media

Generic skills

  • Interdisciplinary teamwork
  • Understanding and navigating social and cultural difference
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Organisational collaboration
  • Managing risk

Last updated: 21 September 2019