Student look - Vanessa Wood

Student look - Vanessa Wood

Vanessa Wood talks design philosophy, her first impression of the BIA & how her graduation proposal will provide something new to the civic environment of Sydney.

1.Describe your proposal in 3 key words:
Pop, playful and pink!

2. What is your design philosophy?
I strongly believe that design is a non-linear process that is specific to each individual project. Therefore, I never try to predict the end result of my project, but rather refer to a set of principles that I have developed throughout my four years of study. These help me to make clear and informed design decisions:
1) Design is a process. The first iteration is never the final product, so it is important to keep experimenting in order to push your design forward.
2) Research is fundamental to excellent design and should be constantly referred to throughout the project. This includes understanding of the sites various contexts and physical attributes.
3) Spaces should be designed for people. They should aim to connect with people both physically and mentally through engaging the senses, appreciating the human scale and evoking thought or memory. They should also be user friendly to all people regardless of age or ability.
4) Collaboration is essential to personal and professional growth. Understanding the design thinking of other professionals within the built environment will allow you to create more well- rounded projects.
5) Design shouldn’t be taken too seriously! It is important to remember to have fun with design by breaking through the ‘architecture bubble’ and gaining inspiration from other disciplines. Visiting art galleries, watching art-house films, attending a fashion show or even just going for a walk will help to clear your brain and encourage creative thinking.

3. First memory / impression of the BIA:
Capsicums. I don’t remember much about the beginning of first year, mainly because it was so overwhelming, but I do remember our first communications assignment requiring us to draw a plan, section and elevation of a capsicum. According to my tutor it was a BIA tradition! In retrospect, first year was probably the most challenging degree of the course. I like to think of it as an ‘architectural crash course’ where we learnt how to build a physical model, draw plans and sections, learn software such as Google Sketchup and adopt the lifestyle of an interior architecture student. I also remember receiving advice from an older student that “the course doesn’t get easier, you just get more used to it”. At the time I was mortified but now I can understand their intention. The learning curve in first year was definitely greater than I anticipated and I had no idea about how to balance life with university work. However, after you acquire all of these basic skills and understand the expectations of the course, it does become easier to find this balance and adapt the course to your lifestyle.

4. How will your grad proposal provide something exciting and new to the civic environment of Sydney?
The White Bay Centre for Traditional and New Media Arts aims to introduces a new arts and cultural precinct to the city of Sydney. With the rise of the digital age, art and design is being rapidly transformed. Therefore, this centre allows the exhibition and creation of these new forms of media. There is also space for the creation and exhibition of traditional artworks, with workshop areas and classrooms. Hence, my proposal will revitalise this unused precinct, transforming it from a place of the production of electrical energy to a place of the production of creative energy that can be enjoyed by all local, national and international guests. Each of the seven buildings at the former White Bay Power Station now accommodate various functions that appeal to local and international visitors. My proposal is focused on detailing the Creative Exhibition Space that is located in the former Turbine Hall. This centre provides exhibition space for traditional, new media and collaborative art forms and also includes an interactive gallery. These extensive exhibition spaces will provide visitors with an experience that is unlike any other in Sydney. Collaboration studios are located on the ground floor. These are accessible to both professionals and members of the public, therefore creating a unique approach towards art, architecture and design. The Creative Exhibition Space aims to challenge conventional notions of a ‘gallery’, while also providing fun, interactive and inspiring experiences that will encourage local and international visitors to engage with the visual arts.

If you would like to find out more about Vanessa's project please head to: