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Porosity Studio


COFA Talk: Dr Richard Goodwin

Porosity : What a Building Desires

Porosity : What a Building Desires


Dr Goodwin on sustainable design and architecture

Porosity Studio

Each iteration of Porosity Studio immerses students in a foreign city to collaborate with a partner university and create experimental interventions in the urban landscape. By considering the city as a porous construction, where the activities of inhabitants sit against a complex backdrop of architectural forms, infinite systems and responsive ecology, research projects address a brief through public art and design works. 

Richard Goodwin's initial Porosity research was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant where mapping methodologies and performance artworks exposed the porous potential of Sydney. Drawing on this research, Goodwin initiated the Porosity Studio in 2005 to expose undergraduate students to this style of practice in an intensive elective unit, and has spread to cities as geographically, architecturally and culturally disparate as Rotterdam and Shanghai.

Porosity Studio engages with Richard Goodwin's practice as an artist, architect and academic, and draws upon decades of research redefining public space in cities and leading to urban propositions of parasitic architecture. Porosity promotes the idea that cities, as built forms, are very plastic and transient, while being strong as social constructions. The studio challenges participants to test ideas and devices at a different scale or through a different lens—to step outside the gallery and to challenge collaboration.

Students of all disciplines, including fine arts, design, digital media, architecture, urban planning, and engineering, are invited to share intensive international studios over full-time periods of two weeks. Each studio is embedded in a major university within an international city and presents a particular focus as a starting point for students. This can be followed or contradicted through each students' interpretation. Examples of past Porosity outcomes are viewable on the Porosity blog.

Project outcomes have been included in festivals, exhibitions and publications including Beijing Design Week and the Shanghai Expo 2010, and have received funding from the British Council.

Previous Porosity Studios and host cities have included:

  • 'Small Spaces with Long Necks,' Hong Kong, Hong Kong (2013) in collaboration with MAP Office and Hong Kong Poltechnic University
  • 'Bamboo City,' Beijing, China (2012) in collaboration with Tsinghua University; exhibited in Beijing Design Week 2012
  • 'Rare Earth,' Shanghai, China (2011) in collaboration with Donghua University
  • 'Expo-Exo Skeleton,' Shanghai, China (2010) in collaboration with Donghua University; satellite to the Shanghai Expo 2010
  • 'e-SCAPE,' Shanghai, China (2009) in collaboration with Donghua University
  • 'Cardiff Chimera,' Cardiff, Wales (2009) supported by the British Council, in collaboration with Cardiff University
  • 'By the Throat,' Edinburgh, Scotland (2008) supported by the British Council, in collaboration with Edinburgh University
  • 'Octopus,' Milan, Italy (2007) in collaboration with Milan Politecnico
  • 'PARA.SITE,' Rotterdam, Holland (2006) in collaboration with The Willem De Kooning Institute
  •  'PARA.SITE Car,' Beijing, China (2005) in collaboration with The Central Academy of Fine Arts 
  • 'PARA.SITE,' Beijing, China (2004) in collaboration with Tsinghua University