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Architecture Australia March 2021

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
serendipities, practicalities and festivities

Embarking on the Australian Institute of Architects’ ninetieth year, one of my first tasks in January’s diverting calmness was to reach out to a longstanding member. I telephoned Vladimir Perm at his home town near Nice, France, on the morning of his ninetieth birthday, 11 January. Conversing with a member who has witnessed the rise of modernism, brutalism, critical regionalism, postmodernism and deconstructivism was fascinating. This serendipity propelled me to see which other significant architects were born in 1931. As I discovered, they include: Italy’s first Pritzker Prize-winner and leading postmodernist, Aldo Rossi; his countryman Alessandro Mendini, influential two-time director of Domus; the UK’s early proponent of sustainability and social awareness, Edward (Ted) Cullinan; Finland’s Tuomo Suomalainen, who, with brother Timo, designed one of their homeland’s most visited sites, the rock-embedded…

3 min
designing with the past for the future

Regenerative design is the single most sustainable thing we can do in the construction sector. As our cities grow and evolve during a time of climate and environmental emergency, architects are in a position to creatively and tactfully extend the life of existing building stock – which may or may not have heritage significance – rather than simply building new. Expert information gathering and a deep understanding of context is a fundamental component of a thorough design process. As Peter Elliott says, “Our understanding of architecture is deeply rooted in the world as we know it, embedded in our history and alive in our current milieu, past and present inextricably intertwined” (page 12). There is no set formula for working with existing buildings; rather, our judgements about what to keep, what…

16 min
heritage value: what is it, who decides and how can we respect the past while designing for the present and the future?

The question of architectural heritage, and what constitutes it, is an increasingly fraught one in our ever-changing built environment. The existence of a multitude of different organizations, each with their own criteria, might make decisions cut and dried in some cases. But, depending on the site and the structure, a building’s value can be tangible or intangible, obvious or hidden, and tick-box criteria can fall short. Different community and other groups inevitably feel different levels of attachment to different places. And understanding the true value of a place can take significant time and research. But this understanding, and a consideration of the building or site in its whole-of-life context, is crucial for architects responding to existing built fabric. In this age of climate emergency, adaptive re-use – treating buildings as continuums rather…

7 min
koning eizenberg architecture

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania consists of multiple compact neighbourhoods occupying habitable land between its three signature rivers – the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio – and its frequently irregular topography. The city is populated by many old buildings, yet few of them have undergone the kind of stylish and strategic transformation now apparent at Museum Lab, an initiative of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, designed by Koning Eizenberg Architecture. The rehabilitation of disused structures by the museum and its architects matters not only for the preservation of individual buildings but also to the broader host community, and this latest project is evidence that a little care and ingenuity can have radical impact. Until 1907, Pittsburgh’s North Side was an independent municipality known as Allegheny City. Its urban plan dates from the early…

8 min
liminal architecture with woha

Built on the land of the muwinina people of nipaluna Australia’s oldest continuously operating theatre, Hobart’s Theatre Royal has been a catalyst for Tasmania’s cultural life since the 1830s. Described by composer Noël Coward as “a dream of a theatre,” it was established via the philanthropic endeavours of a group of Hobart business leaders. Since its opening in 1837, the Theatre Royal has had a rich and colourful life, hosting a broad range of performances from music halls to cockfights. Saved from demolition several times as the city developed around it, the theatre underwent extensive refurbishment following a fire in 1984. The original splendour of the ornate and intimate auditorium was revived, the stage house, lighting and flying equipment were upgraded, and a new black-box Backspace Theatre was added. In the…

6 min
neeson murcutt and neille

Built on the land of the Gadigal and Wangal peoples of the Eora nation Any house – even a hut – you build embodies a history, that of its own building. For a public institution, the actual business of building may have a complicated backlog of debates and even quarrels that have shaped it. After it is built, time will alter and modify it, year by year. — Joseph Rykwert on David Chipperfield’s Neues Museum (2009)1 The curious in-between ground that school buildings occupy is both private and public – and at the same time, neither. Perhaps the Latin words communicare (“to share”) and communitas (the “community” or “kinship” that develops among people experiencing a rite of passage, such as a school cohort) might best describe the state that binds a school together. The…