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Architecture Australia July 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.

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6 Issues

in this issue

3 min
an architect in society

I accepted the role of President of the Australian Institute of Architects with a degree of unease, a question of worthiness and a feeling of trepidation – but, deep down, with a great sense of honour. In my first Foreword, I’d like to reflect on my own journey in order to offer some thoughts on the direction in which I intend to lead the Institute over the coming year – which may be somewhat different to previous years. My business partners and I started our practice, Tectvs, before we were 30, at the beginning of the 1989 global financial crisis. We endured the hardships of the emerging architect and now understand the importance of being able to give back and foster mentorship. Over the last few years, I have accidentally stumbled…

3 min
revival of the suburban dream?

Architecture Australia has been tracing the impacts of the significant events of the last year or so, beginning with an article by Rory Hyde entitled “A new world” in our July/August 2020 issue. We asked Rory, who was living in London at the time, to reflect on how the built environment might change post-COVID. In the piece, he suggests that the new, post-COVID world is becoming apparent not only in small but also in large ways – “at the scale of the city and the region.” In the same issue, Anita Panov and Andrew Scott maintained that our city-centric view of the world has been shifted by the pandemic, presenting the possibility of a more dispersed urbanism that comprises a series of overlapping spatial networks or neighbourhoods. Now, a year later,…

7 min
the suburbs on their own terms

As the countryside vanishes under a top-dressing of chemicals, and as cities provide little more than an urban context for traffic intersections, the suburbs are at last coming into their own. —J. G. Ballard, 19711 We architects have tended to see the suburbs as either a problem to be “solved” or somewhere to be avoided. Robin Boyd famously railed against the stifling limitations of life in a suburban house: “Is it just that the Australian public clings to its depressing little boxes because it knows no better, has seen no better design?”2 Gabriel Poole said, “The suburbs we’re putting up are just bloody inhuman, how people live in them I just don’t know.”3 And according to our only Pritzker Prize winner, Glenn Murcutt, “It’s appalling housing, it’s appalling spatially. It’s not…

8 min
case studies: the future of suburbia?

In recent years, various state governments and universities have sought to re-imagine suburban housing for tomorrow. This is both an acknowledgement of the primacy of the suburb in defining Australian cities, and a recognition of the limited suitability of current patterns of development. Here, we present three winners from competitions in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, and a scheme from a collaborative research project in Western Australia. While all are proposed for different sites with different contexts, they share similar aims: to increase density, to improve sustainability, to be more affordable and to increase the diversity of home types available. Each project adopts a different approach: building along the fenceline, respecting existing trees, constructing a village of tiny homes, and creating a multi-residential block. All are beautiful, intelligent and respectful of…

6 min
john ellway

Brisbane suburban streetscapes are often formed out of roads that cut through the side of steep terrain like a belt that’s worn too tight. Houses on the high side bulge over roads, where they appear bold and pronounced. In contrast, the houses on the lower side shyly sink beneath the road, with only their rooflines visible to passing traffic. This familiar streetscape is present as I drive through the southern middle-ring suburb of Tarragindi. Built on the land of the Turrbal and Jagera peoples Twin Houses by John Ellway sits on the high side of a busy main road full of activity, with tradespersons’ utes and vans lined up along the street. It’s a typical scene for a low-density postwar suburb undergoing renewal, boosted by short-term economic stimulus. Twin Houses offers visual…

10 min
development wa

Built on the land of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation The experimental housing development WGV has been unfolding for six years in the Perth suburb of White Gum Valley. Behind the coastal limestone cliffs of Fremantle and beside a golf course lined with tuart trees sits a series of fascinating experiments with water, energy, landscape and architecture. A space for housing experimentation and demonstration is of great importance in Australia. In contexts dictated by quantity – where housing factors as a commodity before it factors as a place to live – quality can be scarce. Medium-density demonstrations offer chances to prove and experience the gains in sharing and sustainability that can come from living closer together, as well as giving designers, communities and governments a space to lead the marketplace,…