designing for environmental education

Curtin University - Semester 2 2019.

Project Description

This project centred around ideas of community, school-aged children, and environmental education. The aim for the project was for the place to become a learning and community hub while raising the profile of the Baldivis Children’s Forest (BCF) to secure the future of the BCF through self-sustainability, attract future funding and provide a centre for future conservation for the local bushlands. It was important that the project allows the community to be at one with the surrounding bush, building on the sensory experience of the forest as well as strengthening the community’s connection to nature.

This project provided an avenue to identify the key ways in which the sense of place is created for different stakeholders, and what is required to sustain this. The studio project embedded sustainability, cultures and environment in the learning experiences and the designed outcome of this project.

Learning Methodology

As future architects, students developed their understanding of how architects and designers come to know the contexts in which they design and to which they must inevitably respond. Students learned how to understand the meaning that is invested in place by others, and the different meanings that a place may have and how to share their understanding of the experiences of others. Students explored how this understanding influenced their ideas and their architectural response to site and program.

Students were required to work beyond their individual project, communicating and coordinating their work with their peers, using the shared meanings that emerged to demonstrate their understanding of this transformative project and the potential for the community to thrive.

The outcomes of the studio were presented to stakeholders for approval, to promote the project to the broader community and sought out potential funding sources.

How does this studio match PlaceAgency Objectives?

The project provided a platform for students to engage with stakeholders in order to understand the sense of place and value placed on this forest by the community. In this collaborative studio, students developed their skills in negotiation, communication and leadership. They developed and documented their designs and responded to the needs of complex stakeholder groups from diverse backgrounds with different capabilities and capacities to contribute. Students engaged with stakeholders, and each other, meaningfully and critically through effective communication and respectful collaboration.

Activities – Studio Outline

ActivityDescriptionKey dates for activitiesKey learning objectives
Week 2Site Visit10 AugustContextual understanding
Week 7Site Visit14 SeptemberContextual understanding
Week 13The collective response - design review26 OctoberVerbal communication



The following students are enrolled in this studio and have chosen to appear on the Place Agency website. You may access more information about them and their interests by clicking each of their photos.

This subject is available to students enrolled in Curtin University throughout Semester 2 2019.

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Studio Leaders
Lara MackIntoshLara MackIntosh
Project champion

Baldivis Children's Forest

- Architecture