An initial series of 3 design studios called 'All Change' were run from 2011 to 2013, investigating urban areas in Horsham, Natimuk, Mitre and Goroke (studio 1, 2011), Goroke and Edenhope (studio 2, 2012), and Aspley and Goroke (studio 3, 2013). These works established and increasingly consolidated close partnerships with local stakeholders, including government, community and land-care organisations - the role of Greening Australia was relevant in setting up and initiating these partnerships. The studies associated to these 3 design studios and related theoretical investigations were also part of an international mobility project (DARC - Designing the New World: Developing Architectural Education in Response to Climate Change) with the collaboration of 3 Australian and 3 European architecture schools (RMIT Melbourne, UTS Sydney, QUT Brisbane, and UPC-ETSAB Barcelona/Spain, ENSA Toulouse/France, Turin Polytechnic/Italy), involving students and staff's exchanges engaged in collaborative design that tested the Wimmera towns as relevant case-studies for rehabilitative interventions towards urban and landscape resilience. Outcomes of this initial phases of the design laboratory were in the forms of exhibitions and symposia in the region (Nati Frinj Biennale, Natimuk, 2011 and 2013; Mauro Baracco's presentation at 16th Wimmera Biodiversity Seminar - Exploring the Links, 5 September 2012), Melbourne (All ChangeConvergence - Transforming our Future, Design Hub, Melbourne, May 2013; Urban Case Studies in West Wimmera, Border Inn Hotel, Apsley, November 2014), in Australia (RMIT Melbourne, October 2011; UTS Sydney, June 2012; QUT Brisbane, June 2013) and internationally (ETSAB Barcelona, November 2011; ENSA Toulouse, November 2012; Turin Polytechnic, November 2013)  

edenhope: urban renewal in wetlands


Areas in the urban context of Edenhope are investigated through a design approach in empathy with revegetation processes undertaken by land-care organisations associated to Habitat 141. Exploring degrees of continuity and integration of indoor and outdoor space as a principle for sustainable design and resilient urban environments, the outcomes of this research project test such strategies of urban renewal as instrumental to also different and parallel levels or urban rehabilitation, including social, demographic, economic and cultural conditions among others. The architectural/landscape projects promote strategies of urban planning and urban renewal that rely on open and distributed spaces rather than the typical production of individual mono-functional buildings. The projects, undertaken in relevant case-study areas through the town (some urban blocks along the main street, the swamp wetland on the south, and lake Wallace on the north) call for a more organic vision of Edenhope as a settlement integrated with wetlands rather than a town between a 'front lake' and a 'back swamp'. The outcomes of this research projects were exhibited in Edenhope (Edenhope: Urban Renewal in Wetlands, Red Tail Gallery, Edenhope, November 2014)   

Mount arapiles: gateway to the west wimmera


This research project is focused on ideas for the transformation and reactivation of urbanised and natural landscapes located in the extended region that surrounds Mt. Arapiles, expanding from the north edge of the Grampians to the Little Desert. Mt. Arapiles is explored as a pivotal area in the region – a gateway to the West Wimmera. Aim of all projects is to integrate potential tourism opportunities to tourism activities – and associated infrastructures – that are already consolidated in the nearby Grampians region. Some of the strategies tested by the projects include the following:

- Re-adaptive use of existing dismissed and poorly used infrastructures

- Conversion and reactivation of existing vacant and dilapidated architectural and landscape spaces

- Cross-programming and alternative use of existing and new tourist facilities

- Envision of alternative everyday 'green/sustainable' programs and tourism economies in urban and rural environments

Investigating urban renewal strategies that focus on the consolidation of open and distributed spaces through ‘acupuncture’ interventions integrated with re-vegetation and reforestation activities, this research project provides an unconventional angle of exploration in regards to the field of urban planning and urban reactivation.  Envisioning a future of productive and economic strategies that are distributed instead than centralised, this research project effectively considers the whole West Wimmera region as a connected and interrelated territorial network - a geographical system of natural, urban and infrastructural environments with the potential of alternative sustainable and resilient economic models for the existing communities. The final works were discussed in a forum/workshop addressed to key stakeholders and publicly shown in Mitre (Regenerated Towns in Regenerated Nature - Architectural and landscape projects for urban and economic renewal in Mt. Arapiles, Mitre, Goroke, Little Desert and surrounding areas in West Wimmera, Mitre Hall, 6+7 November 2015)