Students design humanitarian architectural solutions: Xavier Barnett

Bachelor of Architectural Design students are designing housing solutions for neurodiversity, cultural and social differences.

photo of xavier barnett. he is wearing a grey tshirt and is smiling. there are bushes in the background and a purple flower

The Humanitarian Architecture Travelling Studio (HATS) historically travelled internationally to engage in cross-cultural and humanitarian design experiences, but the challenges of 2020 saw the program begin to work in collaboration with local South Australian partners to continue to deliver it's unique experience to students.

Bachelor of Architectural Design student Xavier Barnett’s design centred on creating a safe and secure place for first nations people near Adelaide, repurposing a site near public transport, the library, and walking distance to the city providing residents’ easy access to essential services.

Xavier said that he chose to title his design 'Nganana - Kumapurtu' which translates to 'All of us' in the Pitjantjatjara language, and 'Together' in the Kaurna language, to represent the relationship between First Nations people in Adelaide and the APY Lands.

"My design is centred around the idea of a space that honours and respects cultural traditions, based off my time spent learning in the community of Mimili in the APY Lands. A keystone idea is having separate spaces for men's and women's business, as an imperative aspect of culture. This is supported by a facade that is unsuspecting from street level, but open and individual on the interior,” Xavier said.

Check out his poster and concept below.

About Xavier

Why did you choose a Bachelor of Architectural Design?

I chose my degree last minute because I wanted to choose something totally unlike what I had previously studied in High School. I went for Architecture without knowing what to expect, and I haven't had a moment's regret in the last 3 years.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Adelaide?

I chose to study at the University of Adelaide because of the culture, the facilities and the ease of sustainable access to class. The central location allows me to easily cycle or train in.

What was your favourite/most important learning or experience from taking part in the HATS design studio?

My most valued experience from the HATS studio was learning about humanitarian architecture from a totally new perspective, learning about it assisted by professionals that have real world experiences working with people in need on a daily basis. The final exhibition showcasing our work in November was special, proudly exhibiting our polished designs to the public, friends and family.

What are your future career goals once you are qualified?

I would love to work in the field of social or public housing, working to re-assess how housing is approached, and how people's lives genuinely can be improved through spaces at the human scale.

What are your top tips for someone who is considering studying a Bachelor of Architectural Design?

Take the plunge. I was worried I would be totally out of my depth through not having studied or even experienced design prior to my studies, but there is a niche for everyone's skills and the degree truly fosters the individual's ability to create. You are in small classes with the same people, so you make really amazing friends and are presented with amazing opportunities.  It is just a matter of taking the first step.

Thank you to Xavier Barnett and to Dr Amit Srivastava and Associate Professor Peter Scriver, HATS course coordinators

Tagged in Architecture and Civil Engineering, student experience, Student profile