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Noting new books at Architext

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting

 

THE AUSTRALIAN METROPOLIS: A PLANNING HISTORY
Edited by Stephen Hamnett and Robert Freestone, Allen & Unwin, $35.
Australia’s history of town planning, from colonial surveyors to contemporary urban designers, is briefly canvassed in this collection of 11 essays edited by senior academics from the University of SA (Stephen Hamnett) and UNSW (Robert Freestone). The papers – organised in chronological chunks written by scholars Helen Proudfoot, Christine Garnaut, Renate Howe, Margot Huxley, Ian Alexander, Ian Morrison, Michael Lennon and Alan Hutchings – provide a valuable but necessarily superficial survey of the major events, movements, planning documents and strategy blunders. Towards the end, there is a debate about whether long term planning helps or harms metropolitan development. In his final essay, Hamnett identifies environmental planning – in particular the program offered by RMIT – as the best way forward for the much-expanded discipline

GROSE BRADLEY: THE POETICS OF MATERIALITY
Introduction by John Hockings, L’Arcaedizioni, $43.

Over 13 years of private practice (between slabs of corporate life with Noel Robinson and Bligh Voller in the 1980s and now Bligh Voller Nield), James Grose became the most celebrated Sydney architect of his generation. He and partner Nicola Bradley, a Melbourne designer who gained her B.Arch from USyd in 1996, were precocious repeat winners of top RAIA medals, including the Sulman, and lightning rods for international publicity. This large-format monograph, part of a subject-subsidised series from an Italian-US publisher, wraps up that period with a revealing essay by UQ’s John Hockings (best man at the Grose-Bradley nuptials) and pictorials of their key buildings. As followers know, many works are refined modernist revisions of the early sheds and farmhouses of Grose’s home state, Queensland. A striking aspect of this document is its chronological sequencing of projects from jaunty, biomorphic expression in the first houses at Wollongong and Whale Beach to the Murcuttian silhouette of the 1994 Newman-Woodhill house (following his mentor’s Mt Wilson residence) to strictly Miesian frame-making in the recent Byron Bay house and Microsoft offices at Paddington. Is this progress? In Grose’s view, rational, legible structure is the path to perfection and reduction is the strategy of creative maturity. But Hockings claims that Grose was deeply moved when he read Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction on a trip to Greece after graduating from his studies with mentors Eddie Codd, Harry Seidler and Murcutt. If that story is true, then it’s diverting to wonder what medicine was later swallowed to rid the practice from all symptoms of its American infection

NEW RETAIL
Rasshied Din, Conran Octopus (Hardie Grant), $125.
Talk about global markets and the word ‘net’ will be implicit in the conversation. However, this book explores physical marketplaces which have been shaped by earlier technologies: the car, the television, full-colour style magazines and the aeroplane. With those conduits for rapid dissemination of images and ideas, it’s not surprising that the modern shop more often displays the culture of its target tribe of customers rather than any sense of place. Despite employing diverse arrays of fittings, posters and packaging, many ‘designer’ shops in international cities now seem homogenously structured, polished and illuminated. For instance, Mark Landini’s fabulous ‘Let’s Eat’ wonderland for Coles Myer in Melbourne could be located in London, where this Sydney designer learned his trade. Similarly, the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, UK, designed by New York architect Eric Kuhne for Sydney developers Lend Lease, is said to be inspired by local landmarks like Kent’s oast houses and the gardens at Blenheim and Kew – yet its architecture is remarkably similar to that of Darling Park and Cockle Bay Wharf, produced by the same team in Sydney. This internationalism is what author Rasshied Din – one of London’s top designers – means by the title ‘New Retail’ in today’s era of global branding

IN BRIEF
Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture, edited by James Corner, Princeton Architectural Press, $49.
An international compilation of scholars’ papers on contemporary theories of landscape, including one on ‘Mutuality and the Cultures of Landscape Architecture’ by UNSW’s Stanislaus Fung

Guiding Development: Better Outcomes, NSW Department of Urban Affairs & Planning, $45.

NSW government guide to DA processes after 1998 changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act

Depth of Translation: The Book of Raft, Paul Carter and Ruark Lewis, NMA Publications, $40.

Record of the authors’ researches leading to a travelling sculpture-sound installation commemorating the cross-cultural exchanges, in central Australia, of 19th century missionary Carl Strehlow and his son Ted

NATSPEC Handbook of Building Standards Extracts, SAA HB61, 1999, Standards Australia with NATSPEC, $35.

Latest update of the useful guide for documentations

Airmail editions of Wallpaper, Blueprint and The Architectural Review (UK) are now available at Architext, Sydney.

Notices by Davina Jackson unless otherwise credited. Architext bookshops are at Tusculum, 3 Manning Street, Potts Point, NSW, ph 02 9356 2022 and 41 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, ph 03 9650 3474

Source

Archive

Published online: 1 Mar 2000

Issue

Architecture Australia, March 2000

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