Ioa Studio principal Amy Bracks said her firm imagined the city block as filled with green space and shops while large buildings, powered by renewable energy, recharged electric cars.
“These mobility hubs within a city block would house the cars, charge them and then use the car batteries when they are fully charged to power that neighbourhood,” she said.
“We also looked at those mobility hubs as scaffolds for green architecture, embedding solar panels and water tanks and productive rooftop gardens and adding restaurants and office spaces.”
Ms Bracks said the design competition had thrown up “fascinating concepts” for what would happen when cars take 30 minutes to refuel and their drivers can take a break and refuel themselves.
RMIT Urban Design Architecture program manager Ian Nazareth said the challenge was more complicated than it first seemed, because students had to rethink how the materials they used could be carbon neutral, as well as how changing cars could change buildings.
“If we look back at how we design buildings, how we plan cities, no other entity has been as dominant as the car in those decisions,” he said.
“How do we look at the change from (petrol to electric cars)… as an alibi to rethink how architecture and urban design engages with a post-carbon economy?”
Mr Nazareth said the challenge was like tackling a “three-dimensional puzzle” and students broke the challenge into five projects, including redesigning the petrol station.
“We have electric cars charging, we have a public space developing through that, high-yield farming and there’s a new typology that emerges from that,” he said.
The resulting designs, he said, could be used as “prototypes” for future developments.
Electric vehicle purchases grew 65 per cent in Australia during 2022 and make up 3.39 per cent of all new car sales, according to the Electric Vehicle Council.
But only the ACT has announced plans to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in the country, with a deadline of 2035.
Extracted in full form: How electric vehicles will change cities | The Canberra Times | Canberra, ACT