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Architecture Australia

Architecture Australia July 2020

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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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Architecture Media Pty Ltd
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
moving forward in a time of crisis

I sit down to write my first President’s foreword at a strange time. Australia is confronting an existential crisis. Businesses, livelihoods and lives have been lost. Our normal way of life has ground to a halt. As devastating as the COVID-19 pandemic is, humans have weathered far worse, from the Plague of Justinian (541–42 AD) to the Spanish flu (1918–19). Between 1788 and 1962, Australia experienced outbreaks of fearsome diseases, including cholera, typhoid, smallpox, poliomyelitis and even bubonic plague. Yet some features of the present situation are unquestionably new. Global travel has accelerated infection: COVID-19 crossed the planet in three months, whereas the Black Death raged across southern Asia and Europe for 20 years before reaching Russia in 1351. But modern medicine has hastened diagnosis and treatment; modern media has increased our…

3 min.
modest in size, big in impact

As Architecture Australia is a journal of record, we aim to publish and interrogate the most significant architectural contributions of a particular moment in time. Given the scale of many of these commissions, this tends to lead to a familiar set of large practices taking prominence in the pages of the publication. Our desire to be more inclusive of smaller practices led us to this special issue on “small” – what is the role of small projects, practices and budgets in shaping our cities? As co-directors of Sydney-based practice Panov Scott Architects, our guest editors, Anita Panov and Andrew Scott, are a duo aptly placed to consider how “small” can be leveraged for great impact. Although we approached Anita and Andrew prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme appears to be…

7 min.
a new world

Looking out of my window in locked-down London, the world looks much as it did a few months ago, and yet everything has changed. Even leaving the house has become a trial. Everyday interactions – a handle, a button, a handshake, a conversation – have taken on a sense of dread, tainted by the threat of infection. Confined to the house and the family, the things that once defined our routines – buying takeaway coffee, squeezing onto the train, making small talk with coworkers – are distant memories. Instead, we are cycling, Zoom-ing, home-schooling, hand-sanitizing and, most of all, dreaming. Dreaming of what’s next. The pandemic has allowed us to step off the hamster wheel for a moment, to glimpse another future. When all of this is over, what kind…

8 min.
embracing limit and finding joyfulness anita panov and andrew scott guest editors

Small … is appropriate for our time of increasing density and scarce resources. … is an acceptable risk within contemporary procurement processes. … is reliant on the immediate context so tends to be inherently ethical. … is architecture’s most prevalent and effective scale. … is both innovative and subservient to precedent and planning. … transgresses disciplinary boundaries. … enfranchises the architect. … describes the majority of practices in Australia. … captivates those outside the discipline. Smallness, or embracing limit Size is among the central preoccupations of an architect. We set the size of elements to enable proportional relationships in the structures we facilitate. There is size within the project, as there is the size of the project in its setting. Of course, measures of size, be it small or large, are relative. The diminutive in one context takes on a very…

1 min.

1. Rem Koolhaas, “Bigness, or the problem of large” in Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau, S,M,L,XL: O.M.A. (New York: The Monacelli Press,1995). 2. Noam Chomsky, in Chomskian Abstract, a filmed interview with Cornelia Parker, 2007. 3. Hugh Mackay, “The state of the nation starts in your street,” 2017 Gandhi Oration, available at youtube.com/ watch?v=jFoOHPfjTXU (accessed 20 May 2020). 4. David Weinberger, Small pieces loosely joined: A unified theory of the web (New York: Basic Books, 2002). 5. Arundhati Roy, “The pandemic is a portal,” The Financial Times, 4 April 2020, ft.com/content/10d8f5e8-74eb-11 ea-95fe-fcd274e920ca (accessed 19 May 2020). 6. Bruno Latour, “Is this a dress rehearsal?”, Critical Inquiry, 26 March 2020, critinq.wordpress.com/2020/03/26/ is-this-a-dress-rehearsal (accessed 19 May 2020).…

6 min.
jock comini reserve amenities kerstin thompson architects

The way we design our urban realm, public spaces and amenities is likely to be significantly affected by the current global pandemic. A series of important historical developments in urban planning and management – such as sanitation systems in the mid-nineteenth century – have been responses to infectious diseases. As I’m writing this article, isolated in my apartment during the COVID-19 outbreak, the thought of using any public amenity, let alone a public toilet, screams viral infection (and authorities have temporarily closed down many such facilities for this reason). But, regardless of global pandemics, public restrooms present challenging and layered design problems. As well as carrying an immense cultural and social responsibility, these structures are subject to the toughest of conditions, including vandalism, maintenance issues and high usage. Commissioned by…