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 / Art & Architecture
Architecture Australia

Architecture Australia March 2017

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


4 min.

Design matters The value of public architecture and public places, and the value of architecture to the public, are matters of increasing interest, particularly as we consider the future of our cities and towns. This discussion is alive internationally and locally, and ensuring an effective role for architecture and related design professions is essential. The Australian Institute of Architects has a significant responsibility in articulating and advocating this value, and our National Council has recently committed to developing a solid focus on policy platforms that can support all architects in developing a strong voice. This includes setting up a forum for policy development and reactivating a National Practice Committee. Architecture and design directly touch all of our lives in so many ways. Fired by imagination and creativity, design is at its most…

2 min.

The penultimate presentation at the Institute’s 2016 National Architecture Conference – How Soon is Now? – was the keynote address of Thomas Fisher, professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. Using his ongoing research into the ethics of architecture, Thomas proposed exciting possibilities for architects and architectural intelligence. Without eschewing the primacy of buildings within the discipline or practice of architecture, Thomas introduced a new mode of practice that expands the role of the architect beyond the built outcome. One likely consequence of Fisher’s thesis is an increase in the number of people who graduate from architecture school but have parallel or perpendicular trajectories. Very little empirical research has been done into the careers or practices of these “lapsed,” “improper” or “defrocked” architects. Addressing the lack…

6 min.

Exit is a video installation by Diller Scofidio and Renfro (DS+R), Mark Hansen, Laura Kurgan and Ben Rubin, in collaboration with Robert Gerard Pietrusko and Stewart Smith, currently showing at the Sydney Festival. The Voynich manuscript is hand-painted on vellum and carbon-dated to the early fifteenth century. What’s the connection? Voynich, heavily illustrated with watercolour drawings that range from botanical diagrams to nude bathing scenes, is regarded as the world’s most mysterious document. Although intensively studied and considered by most cryptographers to hold genuine linguistic content, it remains anonymous, unsourced and untranslatable – because its language is entirely unknown. Such documents are the defining mark of a Dark Age. In the eighth century, outside the monasteries, they were commonplace. In the future – if Exit’s predictions hold – they’ll be commonplace again.…

5 min.
research through design

It’s my first visit to Newcastle in New South Wales and as we drive past the dark hills of carbon around the city, it occurs to me that I have brought with me, if not the proverbial coals, then at least conceptual ones. I’m here to see the Research through Design exhibition from the University of Newcastle’s School of Architecture and Built Environment (UON), the first major public airing of work by the UON Design Practice Based Research Group initiated by recently appointed Head of School SueAnne Ware. This group show of creative projects from fourteen higher-degree candidates and supervisors gathers both emergent and established practices in a diverse display of architectural “evidence” and exposé of how they work and think. I’m only months out of a similar exhibition of…

5 min.
perspectives on architectural design research

At the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014, a group of architects and architectural theorists convened a symposium to discuss design research. Although another biennale has come and gone since then, the effects of that symposium live on in a book, Perspectives on Architectural Design Research, edited by Jules Moloney, Jan Smitheram and Simon Twose. It brings together thirty short, snappy pieces that explore design research in practice and in the academe, under the themes What Matters? Who Cares? And How? Design research is in its middle age: we have successfully navigated the early years when academics felt the need to define design research and defend its existence, but it is not yet mature enough to have become a clear and agreed on research methodology. This book goes some way toward…

11 min.
victorian comprehensive cancer centre

Healthcare facilities are characterized by constraint, required to organize complex systems, services, movements and processes. Disrupting existing models of practice necessitates that we find new ways of responding to old problems. Plenary Health led the project team that delivered this challenging project and asked a bold question: what happens when you invite a healthcare newcomer into your design team? The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) was delivered by a consortium that included two architectural practices with strong track records in the delivery of healthcare facilities, Silver Thomas Hanley (also responsible for Monash Children’s Hospital, Bendigo Hospital and Box Hill Hospital) and DesignInc (Bio21 Institute, Royal Adelaide Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital). The newcomer was McBride Charles Ryan (MCR), a firm known for projects that border the spectacular and for whom…