John Hong to Teach Masterclass, ‘Devious Topographies’ at UTS:

John Hong has been invited to teach the international masterclass, Devious Topographies at University Technology Sydney from Feb 1st through Feb 12th.

de·vi·ous /dēvēəs/ Showing a skillful use of underhanded tactics to achieve goals

Design at the scale between urban planning and architecture is rapidly gaining relevance as cities increasingly grapple with cultural, ecological, and economic viability. However, the limited tools of the architect that lead to ineffectively conceptualizing the territorial scale as ‘extra-large buildings’ have opened up a disciplinary void. Meanwhile, cleverly branded but ambiguous concepts such as ‘landscape urbanism’ have claimed this important operational field, but without architecture’s efficacy in coordinating interior and exterior civic domains.

This workshop will begin with a reinvention of the nimble and potent topographic line. Originally a centuries-old mathematical invention before its now common use by the landscape discipline, we will release the contour line from its assumed relationship to the ground and redeploy it as a powerful design tool that can synthesize the territorial scale of building, landscape, and city.

The site of inquiry will be White Bay in Sydney, a highly topographic seam between city and waterfront that has an uncertain future and even more uncertain present relationship between its infrastructural use and the relationship with the adjacent residential zones. Through ‘devious’ techniques that intentionally misuse its conventions to achieve specific goals, the topographic line will be imbued with new spatial capabilities in the coordination of physical and socio-political urban dimensions.