Engineering the Square
Max Maxwell from the University of Canberra will be joined by Nick Borner and Dean Harding from Sellick Consultants to discuss the Civic Square pavilion project, new construction methods and advances in engineering.
About the project
The 2019 Design Canberra Pavilion provides a sculptural intervention into the otherwise vast emptiness of Civic Square. Through, carefully situating the scheme’s flowing geometry within the seating edge provided by the square’s existing fountain, the pavilion’s design both reclaims the civic function of the square through the creation of a new urban room for formal and informal festival events while in parallel reinforcing the important Ainslie City Hill axis as a gateway to the festival’s homebase: Craft ACT.
The design and construction of the pavilion evidences the material and spatial possibilities of computational design techniques coupled to bespoke robotic fabrication strategies and extensive material knowledge. An emerging territory of craft premised on the expert authorship of digital modelling practices and code. Through this unique combination of digital knowledge and traditional making practices exemplifies the ambitions of the pavilion’s design team based at the University of Canberra’s Faculty of Arts and Design. The multidisciplinary team, consisting of industrial designers, architects and makers, enthusiastically embrace the transformative role of emerging technologies on design practice and production. A curiosity that spans the visualisation of complex data; mixed reality; interaction design; the integration of automation within the building, construction and product industries; and critically, how these technologies are enabling more inclusive design and review processes.
Iain [Max] Maxwell
Max Maxwell is an educator, design researcher and registered Architect and holds a Masters in Architecture from the Architectural Association School [AA School] in London. His research operates at the overlap of architecture and technology, specifically the use of design computation, robotics and advanced modes of fabrication to enable the production of unique, culturally valuable and high-performance projects that achieve significant material, labour and energy efficiencies.
As a co-director of the international award-winning architecture and innovation practice supermanoeuvre, Max’s design-led research, uniquely bridges the domains of academy, creative practice and industry. His work has been widely exhibited, most notably: 2016 & 2012 Venice Biennales; 2013 ArchiLab 09: Naturalising Architectures; New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture; and the 2010 and 2008 Beijing Architecture Biennales. While the knowledge and technical contributions of the project work have been disseminated through numerous publications and conference channels. Max is currently an Associate Professor in Architecture at the University of Canberra.
Starting work as a structural engineer with Arup in London for 5 years, covering everything from sports stadia to international airport terminals, Nick Borner sought sunnier skies and deadlier wildlife when he joined Sellick Consultants in Canberra in 2015. Since then he’s made his mark on Canberra’s skyline, designing towers in Gungahlin & Belconnen, apartments in Campbell and Braddon, student residences for both ANU and UC, an attractive concrete box to safely store Australia’s history, and a challengingly cantilevered media centre for the Manuka stadium. Attracted to design from an early age, Nick was always sad that he couldn’t get his meccano helicopters to actually fly. More recently he’s developing an interest in large timber structures and how we can make the construction industry greener through design and collaboration.
Canberra born and bred, Dean has been designing since graduating from the University of Wollongong in 2010. He has designed apartment buildings in all corners of Canberra, shopping centres in Civic, Casey and Denman Prospect, and hotels in Braddon and at the Canberra Airport – you’ve almost certainly walked through somewhere he helped come to life. Since joining Sellick in 2018 his favourite project was a residential tower in the heart of Canberra where the cantilevered precast façade created challenges in both design and construction. Never one to say no to a good puzzle, Dean’s passion for engineering is fuelled by the unique problems that every new project poses.
Selected Civic Square festival programs have been made possible with support from the ACT Government under the City Renewal Authority’s City Grants program.