Urban Transects #3

…One more transect study worthy of note (memory triggered upon reading Infranet’s recent posting of their arctic port studio: Frozen Cities, Liquid Networks brief) is from landscape architecture student Brock Hogan, which he did for the Hypermobility studio I taught at RMIT in 2008.

The site for the investigation was a terrain vague between sites, sandwiched between the Port of Melbourne (shown above on the left), where a significant portion of the Australia’s material flows arrive and embark, and the new Docklands housing and entertainment redevelopment (shown on right).  The two programs come together at the highly degraded and polluted Moonee Ponds Creek and the overpass of the Bolte Bridge: a site of poorly bundled infrastructure.   The studio sought to find ways to restore the creek and to cross program linkages between these infrastructures and the adjacent luxury development rather than construct the typical, green space “buffer”.

One of the biggest challenges to overcome was the post-911 world-wide security measures in place for all ports – by necessity international ports don’t cross program with anything in the public realm outside of their complex mobility and surveillance systems.

At the start of the studio students were asked to examine how the port infrastructure fit (or didn’t fit)  into the surrounding urban environment.  The image above shows three transects that Brock physically ran, around the outer perimeter of the port, looking for connections and opportunities.  The images below are the representational diagrams from that experience.

(click images for larger view)

His method consisted of stopping every 30 seconds to photograph the edge he was encircling.  The photos were placed in sequence and digitally stitched together.  The line of red outlines the perimeter wall (transparently fenced) that couldn’t be physically penetrated, and the grey outlines are measures of ambient sound coming from within.

The transect merges bodily spatial exploration (in a similar manner to the parkour)  with a graphic analytical framework.  I thought the graphics were particularly successful at conveying the port’s overlooked physical relationship to the city.

One comment

  1. This post reminds of a wonderful new book that does a transect of the landscape of the River Thames from its source to the sea: “Thames: From Its Source to the Sea and Back: The Whole River in Photographs”

    From the description of the book:
    “a photographic journey along the 215 miles of the River Thames from its source in Gloucestershire to the mouth, first travelling along the north bank and then back along the south bank. The journey takes the reader through Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, London and out into the Thames Estuary where the river meets the North Sea. Photographer Stephan Kaluza and his assistants made their journey partly on foot and partly by boat and took pictures of both banks every few seconds, culminating in about 30,000 images. A selection was then digitally combined to form the long consecutive sequences of the astonishingly changing and varied river banks, whether the green fields of the Cotswolds, the university spires of Oxford, the boathouses of Henley on Thames, or the built-up areas of London, from Battersea Power Station and the Palace of Westminster to Tower Bridge and CanaryWharf, or the industrial areas towards the mouth.”

    So you actually have one long photographic transect of the river, looking at both banks. It is fascinating, as I’ve lived and worked along parts of it, see a place I thought I knew, but there is so much more to know.

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