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Architecture Australia November 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

3 min
the public and professional value of awards

Architecture awards attest to our profession’s inventiveness, imagination and multiplicity. The culmination of several Chapter-based awards programs dating from before World War II, the Institute’s National Awards commenced in 1981. They represent the premier awards program for Australian architects and are a key part of the Institute’s advocacy. The peer review process by which they are judged is vital, creating benchmarks for the betterment of the profession, practice and architecture. Awards celebrate professional excellence. But they are also deeply embedded in the profession’s concern for the public interest, showcasing what we proffer to individuals, communities, businesses, governments and our shared futures. Spaces and places imbued with greater beauty, amenity and humane qualities perspicuously improve our cities, towns and rural landscapes. As an Institute, we must uphold the standards and integrity of our…

3 min
a chance to pause, reflect, advance

The final issue of the year usually marks a time to reflect on the year that was. Given the scale of disruption the entire world is still encountering in 2020, the calendar year feels strangely irrelevant. All the major events of the year have been cancelled, or shifted to a virtual format – and in Melbourne, where I am writing this editorial, we are still in a pandemic-induced city lockdown. Australia is currently experiencing the deepest recession since the Great Depression in the early 1930s. I keep reminding myself that it is vital to stop and consider this rare moment in time. We have been presented with an opportunity to pause, to take stock, to think critically about where we are heading, and to decide on whether this is the…

8 min
year in review: 2020 headlines from architectureau.com

Architects rally to support bushfire-ravaged communities The devastating bushfires of the 2019-20 “Black Summer” spawned an unparalleled community response. An estimated $500 million was donated by the public, local communities rallied around those who had lost their homes and, in cities, thousands marched in protest of government inaction in addressing climate change. Architects too rushed to offer support to affected communities, launching the Architects Assist program in January to offer pro bono design services. Founded by Sydney-based designer Jiri Lev and facilitated by the Australian Institute of Architects, the program aimed to put architects and other built-environment professionals in touch with individuals and communities to design architecturally considered, resilient and sustainable buildings. By July, more than 600 firms had signed up, along with 1,500 architecture students and graduates keen to assist…

3 min
leverage: an introduction

At the beginning of 2019, we started discussing the idea of “leverage” as a theme for the 2020 National Architecture Conference. This was a way of thinking about how to generate greater positive influence as a profession; of how to deploy our skills, training, experience and expertise to address contemporary world challenges. Unfortunately, the conference, like so many other events around the world this year, could not proceed due to COVID-19. But Leverage was, and remains, fundamentally optimistic. We believe that architectural wit and intelligence, agility and diligence, cheekiness and humour, restraint and flamboyance, ethics and goodwill can all be deployed to maximize advantage – in social, environmental and economic terms. We wanted to explore the untapped opportunities for impact and to examine how practices are already finding ways to create…

11 min
leverage: better services through design

Kieran Wong: I’m a little disappointed we’ve ended up having a one-on-one virtual conversation when we had planned a conversation with 1,000 people [at the 2020 National Architecture Conference, which is not going ahead as a result of COVID-19]. Hopefully we’ll see you here in Australia sometime – in the interim, thanks for taking time to chat. It seems to me that there are many connections between the theme of Leverage and your practice. We are interested to discuss how Mass was established, and how it now works to amplify impact. Can we start with the practice itself, which is a charitable not-for-profit? There aren’t many architectural organizations working in this way. Why did you adopt that practice model? What impact does it create? Alan Ricks: Thanks for asking about that. We’re in…

11 min
indigenizing practice: to award, or not to award?

As the architecture profession engages more and more with Indigenous peoples across Australia, we are seeing an increase in projects labelled “Indigenous architecture” entered into awards programs. However, the current Australian Institute of Architects awards system and its assessment criteria weren’t necessarily written to account for Indigenous engagement, perspectives and approaches to design. As a result, we risk awarding projects for which the engagement process or outcomes may not be appropriate in the eyes of the Indigenous community representatives who were engaged on the projects. This is especially problematic because awarded projects sit on the permanent record of what we collectively consider and portray to the world as precedents of “good design.” Here, a diverse range of Indigenous and non-Indigenous practitioners and awards convenors, as well as our M ā ori…