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Architecture Australia

Architecture Australia November 2019

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Ask architects which Australian magazine they choose to read or to publish their work and the answer is most likely Architecture Australia. If you want to be up to date with the best built works and the issues that matter, then Architecture Australia is for you. Its commissioned contributors are independent, highly respected practitioners, architectural thinkers and design commentators and each article is supported by images from leading architectural photographers. Provocative, informative and engaging – it is the national magazine of the Australian Institute of Architects.

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6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
the enduring value of high-quality design

The Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards affirm the quality and value that our profession brings to Australia’s cities, places and communities. The projects in this year’s awards – from thoughtfully crafted bespoke houses to high-performing commercial office buildings and urban renewal projects that regenerate communities – are world-class. In this edition of Architecture Australia, we celebrate the award-winning projects – those that, through their focus on optimal design, affordability and sustainability, open our eyes to new ways of practice and prompt the whole profession to advance enduring, innovative solutions. They demonstrate what architecture can do when it champions the design and delivery of places that will best serve the people who interact with them every day. In Australia, there is a growing appreciation for and understanding of the value of…

2 min.
embracing new knowledge and effecting change

Architecture inevitably responds to its social and political context. In 2019, there have been a number of progressive developments within the Australian profession that constitute a much-needed response to our changing world. Unfortunately, the year began with both the fallout from repeated evacuations of Sydney’s Opal Tower and a ruling by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal that the architect of the Lacrosse apartment building in Melbourne’s Docklands, which caught fire in 2014, is proportionately liable for damages. In this issue, construction lawyer Bronwyn Weir, co-author of Building Confidence: Improving the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia, uses her insights into regulatory frameworks to clarify architects’ responsibilities and liabilities, particularly under novated contracts (page 17). The relationship between architecture and Indigenous knowledge has finally…

11 min.
celebration, collaboration and conservation

Australian architects declare climate emergency On 25 July 2019, with thirty founding signatories, Australia was the third country in the world to launch Architects Declare and the first to include reference to Indigenous peoples. The global movement was initiated in the United Kingdom to raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies facing our planet. With the building and construction industry accounting for almost 40 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions globally, a transformation is required within the industry’s practices. The technology exists for this transformation to begin now and the Architects Declare movement seeks to mobilize collective will. Signatories seek to “evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown, and encourage [their] clients to adopt this approach.” “Challenging times demand strong responses,” said Architects Declare Australia…

5 min.
room for (in)novation: responsibilities of and liabilities for architects

Many were surprised by Judge Ted Woodward’s decision in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing regarding the fire at Melbourne’s Lacrosse Tower.1 The builder was not apportioned a share of damages despite having undertaken to design and construct the building. Instead, the builder was able to deflect responsibility for non-compliant work to its consultants, namely the building surveyor, architect and fire safety engineer. The decision, now under appeal, has caused many architects to question the impact of novation on their ability to perform their work and how they can best manage liability. What was the Lacrosse case about? The Lacrosse building, a twenty-one-storey residential and retail tower in Docklands, Melbourne, was constructed between 2010 and 2012. On 24 November 2014, a fire occurred as a result of an occupier leaving a cigarette…

10 min.
collective agency

The beginnings of disciplinary transformation Review by Sam Spurr A conference on the subject of collective agency in architecture necessarily asks two questions: What would this look like for the discipline? And how do we make it happen? The 2019 National Architecture Conference grounded these questions in a radical reconfiguring of Australian architecture through its relationship to Indigenous knowledge. While other issues emerged during the two days, this will be the remarkable legacy of the conference. Across diverse scales of practice, we heard how engagement with the First Nations people of Australia is not only a necessity but a way to enrich and propel the design of our built environment. I can’t imagine a more important topic to be brokered at this point in time. The conference plunged participants directly into personal narratives, passionate…

6 min.
the handbook of contemporary indigenous architecture

The Handbook of Contemporary Indigenous Architecture is the single most important contribution to this burgeoning field to date. At more than 1000 pages, it encompasses a wide range of perspectives on Indigenous design across Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Tonga, Samoa and Finland in a single volume. This work will become the first port of call for those seeking greater understanding of contemporary Indigenous architecture, offering not only a huge amount of knowledge but also comprehensive bibliographies that introduce the reader to a much wider body of literature on the subject. Large anthologies like this have become increasingly popular in recent years in academic publishing, but their high retail price (in this instance, $595) places them out of reach for most. They are also often produced in a…