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Collaborative urbanism: The Architecture Symposium, Sydney

The Architecture Symposium, Sydney, a one-day symposium, will interrogate the state of Australian cities. In particular, it will look at how individually successful projects collectively contribute to the quality of public spaces.

Curated by Adam Haddow (SJB) and Laura Harding (Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects), the symposium will assemble a group of Australia’s leading practitioners at the Art Gallery of NSW on 24 September.

The architects will present case studies that encourage reflection on the role of time, scale and procurement and consider the impact of diverse ownership.

The curated selection of projects make explicit and lyrical contributions to the framing of the public realm. These are projects where a more engaging and responsive civic conversation is being staged.

Discussion will be shaped by a number of themes, investigating approaches to elements from urban and landscape design, large-scale city quarters and infrastructure, to the architectural definition of streets, parks and arcades, down to the intimacy of the city’s finer grain.

The projects will be presented as “urban pairings” to the themes of urban campus, urban ensembles, civic catalysts, aggregate urbanism, civic evocation, accretive architecture, urban punctuation and architectural edges.

Among the projects to be presented is Peter Elliott Architecture’s Parliament of Victoria Member’s Annexe Building, the design of which was driven by the architects’ interest in how a building relates to its host city, as well as an understanding of the architect’s role as being to “negotiate within an existing environment.”

Reviewing the project for Architecture Australia, Dimity Reed described the extension to the historic parliament building as “embedded into the landform and engulfed by the fine nineteenth-century garden.”

Elsewhere, Tai Ropiha of Chrofi will present the Maitland Riverlink, the centrepiece of an urban revival project in the regional NSW city of Maitland.

Maitland Riverlink by Chrofi with McGregor Coxall.

Maitland Riverlink by Chrofi with McGregor Coxall.

Image: Brett Boardman

The project, which created a new pedestrian channel between the high street and the riverfront via a new grand arch, was designed with the needs of the town foremost in mind. In a review for Architecture Australia, Kerry Clare and Sueanne Ware described the project as “a sublime lesson in addition and subtraction,”

“The street furnishings are chunky and stout; they feel durable but somehow appropriate to the place.

“The spatial rhythms of large encircled specimen trees, simple benches and tables with umbrellas create moments of repose alongside slow-moving cars. The designers have resisted the temptation to pedestrianize the street entirely, knowing that in country towns this is often the kiss of death to local businesses.”

Elliott and Ropiha are two of 14 architects so far announced set to present work at the symposium.

The speakers and projects are:

Aaron Roberts (Edition Office): Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial

Adrian Iredale (Iredale Pederson Hook): Highgate Primary School

Angelo Candalepas (Candalepas Associates): project TBC

Ilana Freadman (Freadman White): Whitlam Place

Jared Webb (Richards and Spence): Ada Lane

Kerstin Thompson (Kerstin Thompson Architects): Balfe Park Lane

Nigel Bertram (NMBW Architecture Studio): RMIT University precinct

Ninotschka Titchkosky (BVN): Kambri cultural precinct, Australian National University

Penny Fuller (Silvester Fuller): Loftus Lane

Peter Elliott (Peter Elliott Architecture and Urban Design): Parliament of Victoria Annex Building

Tai Ropiha (Chrofi): Maitland Riverlink

Tony Chenchow (Chenchow Little Architects): Waterloo Apartments

Victoria Reeves (Kennedy Nolan): Nightingale Village

The Architecture Symposium, Sydney, part of Design Speaks, is organized by Architecture Media (publisher of ArchitectureAU). Early bird ticket sales close 23 August. For more information and to book, click here.

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