2010 News

Read past news stories from the School of Design's 2010 news archive.

Celebrating architecture and design's finest work

15 November 2010

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Victoria's Faculty of Architecture and Design is hosting its annual end-of-year exhibition, showcasing this year’s finest work.

The School of Architecture's exhibition, Vanguard, showcases a selection of work from Years Two to Five of the architecture, building science, interior architecture and landscape architecture disciplines.

The School of Design exhibition, The End, is a curated exhibition by staff and students of the School’s final year digital media design and industrial design disciplines.

On display are four projects by William Samuels, Shelly Clement, Nick Roberts and Joseph Shepherd that have been selected to compete in the national NZIA Graphisoft Students Design Award 2010, affiliated through the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA). The designers of these schemes will compete against the best work from New Zealand’s other architecture schools, UNITEC and Auckland University, in early December.

Awards were presented at the exhibition opening last Tuesday, hosted by Head of School (Architecture) Associate Professor Diane Brand.

"It was a great way for the Faculty to celebrate its achievements over the past year and I look forward to an even better year in 2011," says Associate Professor Brand.

Shaan Cory won the John Fitzgerald Memorial Award for his proposal "Generic Energy Simulation Models for the Use of Assessing Energy Efficient Design Techniques and Technologies". This award will enable Shaan to carry out further research towards the completion of his PhD thesis.

NZIA Graphisoft Student Design Awards were presented by NZIA president Patrick Clifford and award sponsor Campbell Yule from Graphisoft, to recognise student excellence in Years One to Four in Architecture. The 2010 recipients were Year One Kelly Lambert, Year Two Hamish Beattie, Year Three Grace Mills and Year Four Katherine Walker, who each received prize money of $1,000. Highly commended prizes were awarded to Year One Benjamin Allnatt, Julia Thompson and Georgia Sanson; Year Two Thomas Strange, Harriet Eberlein and Xuanyi Nie; Year Three Duncan Harding, Samuel Skogstad and Hannah Wolter; Year Four Frances Loader, Sophie Hamer and Jennifer Giller, who each received prize money of $500.

A number of Faculty excellence awards were also presented to students.

The exhibition will be on display at Victoria University's Faculty of Architecture and Design, 139 Vivian Street, from 9 to 21 November daily from 9am-5pm.

To see more photos of the exhibition visit the Victoria University Facebook Page.

Theatre show Apollo 13 beats supreme court

11 October 2010

theatre show apollo 13 beats supreme court

Victoria University Industrial Design graduate (2006) Brad Knewstubb fought the law and won the supreme prize in the NZ Designers' Institutes' Best Awards.

The theatre show Apollo 13: Mission Control that Knewstubb co-created with Kip Chapman won the coveted Purple Pin for work that raises the bar of New Zealand design, against some of New Zealand’s best architects and interior designers, including Warren and Mahoney for the Supreme Court building in Wellington. Some other contenders were RTA Studio (K’ Road’s Ironbank building, Auckland) and Jasmax (Coffee Supreme Brew Bar, Wellington).

"It was quite out of the blue to win the Purple Pin, it took us by complete surprise," says Knewstubb, who was principal designer for Apollo 13.

"We were up against some major projects designed by some of the most prominent design companies in New Zealand.

"So to be judged the best by our peers was both an honour and also quite bizarre. We hope our victory hasn't impugned the honour of the Supreme Court, and perhaps they should look at a law to stop this kind of leftfield victory in future."

The show also won the Gold Pin for the sub-category of Best Installation.

Future plans for Apollo 13 include seasons across Australia in 2011, while negotiations for a US tour have progressed significantly.

Apollo 13: Mission Control returns for a final New Zealand season at Wellington's Downstage Theatre, 30 October to 18 December.

More information on the awards and finalists can be found at Best Awards website.

Marsden grants support Victoria’s up-and-coming researchers

27 September 2010

Marsden continues its ongoing support for world-class research at Victoria University, particularly for up-and-coming researchers.

Victoria researchers received 15 Marsden research grants—nine standard grants and six Fast Start grants—worth $8.4 million. Twice as many Fast Start grants as in 2009 were awarded to up-and-coming researchers at the University.

“This bodes well for our future and it is excellent to see our up-and-coming researchers succeeding at Victoria”, says Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh.

“It was also pleasing to see Professor Sir Paul Callaghan receive the largest Marsden grant in New Zealand for 2010—$1.04 million—and Victoria’s largest ever, for his research into nuclear magnetic resonance.”

Victoria researchers submitted a record 158 applications, 38 of which were invited to submit a full proposal, which then resulted in 15 projects being funded. That conversion rate of 9.5 percent was slightly higher than the national average of nine percent.

Professor Walsh said it was pleasing to see the breadth of grants funded at Victoria.

“We had research funded right across the University. Of particular note were grants to researchers in the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Architecture and Design, both of which received Marsden funding for the first time.”

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Science had three awards, continuing their success from last year of receiving the only four standard Humanities grants in the country.

The Faculty of Science was awarded eight grants, with the School of Chemical and Physical Science receiving three of those.

Victoria researchers are also Assistant Investigators on five grants led by other institutions and an existing Victoria contract was one of two awarded an additional period of time to extend their work.

In total, Victoria researchers succeeded as leaders or associates on a total of 21 awards this year. Professor Callaghan was awarded the largest Marsden grant in New Zealand—$1.04 million—and Victoria’s largest ever for his research into nuclear magnetic resonance.

Victoria recently announced that it would confer an Honorary Doctorate of Science on Professor Callaghan, a world-leader in his field. Professor Walsh says that Professor Callaghan has made an immense contribution to the country.

"In addition to his own prolific work and cutting-edge research, he has made significant contributions to communicating science to the wider community and has added much to the debate about technology and its role in ensuring New Zealand's future prosperity."

Victoria University recipient of Marsden Fast Start grant (distributed over three years):

Dr Anne Galloway, "Counting Sheep: NZ Merino Wool in an Internet of Things", $300,000.

Digital ‘pet’ gains international acclaim

17 August 2010

A digital ‘pet’ developed by Victoria University researchers, has won first prize at an international electronic language festival.

The shiny brass device known as ‘Tardigotchi’ references the plastic handheld Tamagotchi, the digital pet from Japan that was popular in the mid-1990s, but with a twist—inside the Tardigotchi is a living microorganism.

A partnership of Doug Easterly, Senior Lecturer in Media Design from Victoria University, Matt Kenyon from Penn State University, and recent graduate from Victoria’s Industrial Design programme Tiago Rorke, created the work, which scooped first prize in the Digital Language category at the 2010 Electronic Language International Festival (FILE) in Brazil.

The design also received a special mention at the international ‘art and artificial life’ competition VIDA 12.0 in late 2009.

It has three main components: a portable sphere that can be carried around by an owner, a docking station and software.

“The look and feel is kind of Tamagotchi meets Harry Potter,” says Mr Easterly, who was inspired by a palm-sized clock set in a magnified glass sphere that he picked up in Hong Kong.

A Tardigotchi owner looks after the microorganism (called a tardigrade) and virtual creature at the same time. The virtual component is a caricature of the tardigrade, exhibiting some independent behaviour, but also reacting directly to the tardigrade’s activities.

By pushing a button on the sphere, you can feed the virtual pet. This in turn literally feeds the tardigrade microorganism with a syringe. Once the tardigrade is fed, the virtual creature shows off its full belly in an animated sequence.

Sending an email to the virtual character triggers a real heat lamp on the sphere for the tardigrade, while the virtual character reclines and soaks up animated sun rays.

Tardigotchi explores the relationships humans have with others. “I got to thinking about what aliens would think of creatures that put other creatures in artificial environments and care for them,” says Mr Easterly.

“There are a few established artists working with living things in the art world, but not many are working with microorganisms. When art and science intertwine, new territories and concepts can be explored.”

“Tardigotchi raises interesting questions, such as whether interaction with an electronic device can lead to emotional attachment,” he says.

“It also serves as a reminder for the special place humans have in communing with other animals, perhaps equally for artificial ones.”

To explain the philosophy and mechanism behind Tardigotchi, Mr Easterly engaged some Victoria University Design students to create a video, which was showcased at the FILE festival in Brazil along with the work and is now on the Tardigotchi website.