Common is a research focused practice. We are engaged in research through the work that we do, and through our partnership with leading academic institutions. We undertake a broad range of research projects exploring the design and occupation of urban environments, building typology, emerging design and construction technologies, and the practice of architecture.

Super Tight

Super Tight explored the culture of spatial tightness emerging in Asian cities and its creative potential. This immersive exhibition considered techniques for living closely, unpacking the delight and difficulty that arises from the dense occupation of large cities.
More than half the world lives in cities, more than half the world lives in Asia, more than half of the world's megacities are in Asia. Asian cities are therefore key in examining new ways of being densely urbanised. The by-product of unprecedented metropolitan convergence is the emergence of new urbanisms and new architectures, new models for living and making culture.
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Saturation City

The SaturationCity project is a response to the curatorial proposition of the Now&When exhibition for the Australian Pavilion in the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale, imagining Australian urban space 41 years into the future.

Our proposition acknowledges that real social and urban change is often during, or in response to periods of crisis. The conundrum for Australian urbanism is not that we have too little land, but rather that we have too much. Our cities expand on a diet of productive farmland and tenuous ribbons of infrastructure stretched to breaking point. In order to simulate the crisis conditions for urban upheaval, we have manufactured a crisis – a sea level rise of 20 metres. This scenario causes a critical evaluation of urban value – asking which zones should be preserved, modified, or returned to the landscape.

The shoreline, which Australia’s urban heritage is intrinsically tied to, is the location where the contemporary environmental debate plays out. This dialogue implies a rise in sea levels causing global change. The shoreline is similarly dynamic, symbolic of the in between, neither wet nor dry, ours nor theirs. These future urban spaces are born of this condition of ambiguity.

This project is not intended as a ‘realistic’ proposition, rather a ‘thought experiment’ for exploring a suite of design strategies within a radical hypothesis. The city, fantastical yet undeniably efficient through its decentralization of the central place, reorganization of feature nodes, and circular transport ring, is not just a city for 2050, but a city for 2500.

Common in collaboration with McGauran Giannini Soon (MGS), Dyskors and Material Thinking

Circular Metropolis 

As mono-centric cities rapidly morph to form multi-nodal systems, what are the planning models that can be applied to facilitate integrated development?

The project proposes a new model of circular metropolis as a rare intermediary stage between a linear and networked city, a state of liminality in which future growth is consolidated around urban ribbon enveloping the lake. The expansion of the city is limited by the commodification of carbon sequestration. By dramatically limiting the land available for urbanization and creating a no build zone of reforested land around the city, we have created a hypothetical scenario in which growth is limited to hyperdense band that spans urban cores. By folding the city to a liminal ring condition, the proposal challenges the concept of land use optimization, and explores models of sharing and mediation.



FarmHD is a design led investigation exploring how high density vertical farming and associated disruptive agricultural technologies might shape the future of cities.  Through the lens of architecture and urban design the project has explored what would need to shift in cities in order to make urban farming a realistic proposition, and where the opportunities for design might be in the future.  

The world is urbanising at an incredible rate.  While the population expands rapidly, more people are living in cities.  As of recently more than half of the world’s population live in cities, and the megacity is the fastest growing urban type. At the same time man made climate change is drastically reducing the world’s arable land, jeopardising the world’s food supply. The future of food production lies in intensive industrialised processes that make maximum use of land and other resources.  While not yet practical, or economically feasible, this future might include high density vertical farming. 

Working with industry partners in Hong Kong, a series of design proposals have been developed that explore how the adaption of existing architectural typologies, including the office tower, parking tower, residential tower and other familiar urban forms could support the adoption of high density agriculture in urban environments. Far from the romanticised view of urban farming, what these speculations indicate is that the adoption of disruptive urban farming technologies has the potential to radically change the way our cities look and work.

Linear Monument 

Urban futures in Australia are currently a source of anxiety both within the profession, media and general public. The perfect storm of rapid population growth and the increasingly accepted un-sustainability of continued urban growth at the fringe, has delivered a pressing need for increased urban density within existing suburbs. Numerous solutions are put forward to 'solve' the issue of densification within the inner suburbs, where wealthy, and increasingly vocal residents agree with the arguments and benefits of increased density with the existing urban ; but oppose any changes to the character of 'their' neighbourhoods. Few if any of these solutions deliver the scope of new housing and other services required to meet the needs of our cites.

Linear monument proposes to occupy and build over the hundreds of thousands of square meters of railway corridors within the most sought after and valuable inner urban land. While this idea is not new, but what has changed is the ability to use parametric systems to link demographic, real estate, topographic and legal information sets, to feasibility analysis/form generation effecting radical architectures from a simple premise. The Linear Monument forms a nexus of the unfashionably poetic utopian mega structure with an intensely pragmatic/rationalist, a solution for urban densification expressly formed by the forces shaping the contemporary Australian urban condition.

The Linear Monument project was awarded a Honourable Mention in the inaugural Open Agenda competition.

Urban Futures 

This book explores an interest in the reconfiguration of architectural parameters as being orientated around fields. The emergent analogy in this discourse is that of the mapping of a vacant site: to the surveyor, the site is an empty plan, but if we consider repetitive, empirical recording as an alternative methodology, we may find it is, instead, charged with activity.

The analysis site, Golden Gai, presented a number of ambiguities. Made up of hundreds of tiny tenancies and at odds with its modernised surrounds, it is already an area of unique spatial character and of some density. Its networks of small lanes and tiny alleys is difficult to navigate as you quickly lose sense of direction amidst the sensory overload of things that crowd the way. Eight projects will speculated on the effects that proposed changes to the site may cause within the urban environment.