Student Look - Julia Farleigh

Student Look - Julia Farleigh

Julia Farleigh talks design approach, surprises experienced throughout her study in the BIA & the role research has played on her graduation scheme. 

Describe your proposal in 3 key words.
Evocative, Sci-Fi, Experimental.

In what way do you approach your design projects?
Throughout each of my design projects, I go through the process of research, experiment, design and resolve with an attempt to respond to the client and brief, whilst still expressing my creative vision. One approach that I find very prominent in each of my design projects is how I respond to the existing site. As Interior Architects, we are challenged to work with the constraints of an existing design. How a new design responds to the existing language and/or historical context is really important to me. Whether this is through respectful intervention, one that contrasts and defies the existing language or a design that flirts and plays on the existing aesthetic and identity.

Inspired by my research and intent, I always find myself with a marker and some butter paper, sketching over the top of plans and sections or experimenting with the existing form. I am always inspired by the existing constraints, shapes, lines and shadows and use these to form my new language and define how it coexists with the old.

What has surprised you about the BIA?
When I decided to study Interior Architecture at UNSW, it was not a decision I made lightly but one with considerable research. I made myself well aware of the tremendous workload, the late nights and immense dedication, which was yet to come. However what did surprise me about the BIA was the high quality of support and encouragement from the BIA staff.

Studying at University is through self-directed learning and in a degree revolved around design you are constantly putting yourself out there through your design vision and problem solving. This can be quite tough as you are often faced with criticism and different perspectives on your work. The great connection between staff (from sessional through to discipline directors) and current students provided an integrated and positive learning experience. I was really pushed to think critically of my own work and to take on tough feedback, however it was always backed with great encouragement.

What role did research have on your grad scheme?
Research played a very significant role throughout the development of my graduation project. It was not only helpful to my design development but was integral to forming my program proposition; SPECTRUM, a center for experimental arts and scientific discovery.

During the first half of the 20th Century, the White Bay Power Station was at the core of creative and technological achievement in Sydney. It’s achievement in generating electrical power not only had a positive impact on the inner fabric of the city but also improved Sydney’s global status.

Research into Sydney’s current status and what it lacked in comparison to the political and cultural context of today, became similar to the Power Station’s previous purpose. Through research, it became apparent that Sydney is lacking in an innovative culture. In particular, there is a lack of permanent Public Art, Digital and Multimedia Art and political support and job opportunities for Natural and Physical Sciences. Research further into Australian Social Trends, showed the popularity of art and museums but also our concern for the environment, with the lack of support for climate change initiatives.

Looking at both Art and Science led me to believe that they are not so different; both explore, experiment and discover. By integrating the two programs, new approaches and different perspectives heighten understanding and innovation. In particular, it creates unique settings for the public to interact and understand the world we live in and its future.

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