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Architecture Australia September 2020

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.

Architecture Media Pty Ltd
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min
the making – and strengthening – of a profession

I should have known better than to predict, in my first presidential foreword, a return to a semblance of normality. As I pen my second, still as President-Elect, Melbourne is returning to “hard” lockdown due to a second wave of COVID-19. For some residents in home confinement, the architecture of their apartments will for some weeks be their entire world. Meanwhile, with the Institute’s annual general meeting pushed back to mid-July, Helen Lochhead is now in her fourteenth month as National President, equalling the record of our founding president, Alfred Samuel Hook. We are now somewhat backed-up, with two Presidents-Elect, and I seem destined to set a new milestone (of sorts), with the 10 months of my “decimal Presidency” the shortest on record. The upside is the election of Tony Giannone,…

3 min
the social agenda of architecture

We are living at a unique moment in time; in some senses, our lives as we ordinarily inhabit them have been paused by the global pandemic. Within this pause, many of us find ourselves compelled to think deeply about how we have been living, individually and as a society, and to reimagine a more equitable and sustainable future. For architects and designers, who have the tools to address environmental and social challenges, this is a rare opportunity. This issue’s Dossier takes a closer look at the social construct of gender, the inequities it creates, and its evolving relationship to architecture. Guest-edited by Nicole Kalms and Timothy Moore, both members of Monash University’s XYX Lab research group on gender-sensitive design, this collection of essays and case studies explores ways in which…

11 min
the architecture of crisis

The cliché is that necessity is the mother of invention. But crisis pushes everything up another notch. Throughout history, pandemics, economic recessions and wars of global proportion have been catalysts for quantum leaps in medicine, technology and material science. Human disasters wreak havoc and we react as if in battle. Words change as we “fight” the crisis and “turn back the tide.” But from desperate responses to a devastating, often destructive cataclysm comes also a level of sinister benefit – and architecture is inevitably a recipient. The architecture of crisis almost always has a form of wicked novelty because the parameters of crisis are almost always new and unknown, requiring novel solutions to conditions never before experienced. Generally, the architecture of crisis arises in three ways: first, as a direct…

4 min
exploring gender-sensitive design

Twelve years ago, Hélène Frichot and Nicole Kalms reflected on the often uneasy “coupling of architecture and feminism” and the need for more gender awareness in the built environment in an essay for Architecture Australia (March/April 2008). They noted a flurry of events that undeniably highlighted how “women’s issues,” including representation, were still knocking at the various doors of the creative and built environment sectors. Fast forward a decade and architects and designers are more aware of the need for gender equity in the architecture profession. There is still more work needed in understanding how the gendering of architecture shapes the bodies, identities and agencies of people that pass through it. Conversely, architects and designers have much to learn about how architecture can construct and challenge gender. This dossier investigates current…

6 min
all change: sporting facility upgrades

The rise of female participation in organized Aussie Rules football and cricket at community and professional levels in the past decade has seen an increase in demand for changing rooms at sports facilities that were previously the domain of men.1 This has led to many adverse situations due to inadequate and overcrowded facilities: women have been getting changed on the sidelines, in tents, cars, canteens and loos, and even behind bushes. (And so have some men, too.) To meet the gap between the supply and demand of changing facilities – a gap that is exacerbated by the fact that many facilities are designed for the needs of males – local, state and federal tiers of government have been rolling out facility upgrades that emphasize female participation2 so that, as Prime…

6 min
learning environments: designing space for every body

For many architecture practices working on commissions for single-sex schools, a recurring consideration is how the physical environment of schools should reflect the gender diversity of its students. While there is much debate about the merits of single-sex versus co-educational schools, there is little critique of how the design of learning spaces contributes to definitions of gender identity and how schools shape gender equity. Recent research relating to gender disparity influenced by school experiences has focused on the distribution of recreational facilities. A 2018 study of 20 independent schools in Brisbane revealed that boys’ schools had three times the amount of outdoor play space within their immediate school grounds than girls’ schools.1 The boys in the study had higher aspiration toward outdoor careers than girls. The authors speculate that greater access…