Fiona Harrisson




RMIT University & University of Sydney


Fiona Harrisson is a design practitioner and academic with a background in horticulture, landscape architecture and urban culture. Currently she is a Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at RMIT University in Melbourne. She completed her Masters in Architecture and Urban Culture at Universitat de Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona. Her research explores the human dimensions (such as social, political and experiential) of the design and education process. Design is explored as something that is operative in the everyday world. Educationally tactics are employed that offer a bridge between inside the institution of learning and the outside world of people. These undertakings include 'live' projects, where students tackle challenges confronting communities in small urban and rural communities. Projects include designing and building private gardens for public display and generating ideas around food security for public discussion. Books offer another device with a public life, as story telling and performative pop ups. In parallel to teaching she also practices as a design consultant on public projects and private gardens, many project of which have been awarded with the Institute of Architects in Urban Design.


POP-up: binding landscape architectural learning and bookmaking - presenting with Marian Macken


This paper will present a practice of producing artists' books in the teaching of design, as a form of alternative architectural and landscape architectural representation and production. Various pedagogical results have arisen from this including the importance of the act of making and of crafting products within design learning. The making of books allows 1:1 scaled objects to be produced so students are working at full scale rather than through an intervening medium. Yet interestingly, these books simultaneously work to scale, due to their content. The artist's book has a strong relationship with the model due to its three-dimensional qualities and the reading of the book as a form of 'folded' model is also explored. Books implicitly embrace the notion of documentation, as records of past events. This requires the students to curate, compile, edit and reformat their work; the books they made held the unfurling narrative. This then allows, and values, documentation to be admitted within the design process. This notion of documentation as interpretation acknowledges the recursive and reflective elements within the design process.

These ideas will be explored through a series of case studies that use artists' books in various ways to teach design, including the book as documenting site analysis, as a generator of design development, as a presentation tool, and the role of hybrid representation. This paper proposes that artists' books offer a lens through which architectural and landscape architectural representation may be examined and critiqued. Artists' books offer a complementary representation to be explored as a new means of investigating spatial interpretations and propositions in three-dimensional form.


Friday 30 September


11:00am - 12.30pm





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