This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting


A multi-storey building has been put up anonymously in the heart of Adelaide. It is quite obviously one of the most clumsy and unresolved installations in the CBD. Yet it has not been critiqued. And the reason that it has not been critiqued, I suspect, is because it is bad.

When will we, as a profession, somehow create a framework within which the considered execution of the full range of our skills is expected to be undertaken, without compromise?

The birth or evolution of this endeavour may be when mainstream journals like Architecture Australia are able to follow the lead of The Architectural Review and publish “Radar Outrage” or “Discussion” or “Opinion”. This may encourage architects and designers to be accountable for “every” aspect of the fruits of their practice.


On Monumentality

I would like to point out several errors in the recent article by Justine Clark titled “On Monumentality” (AA Jan/Feb 2003). Firstly the opening paragraph should acknowledge the equal contribution of the University of Newcastle to the symposium together with the three Sydney universities.

Secondly, image number 5 should acknowledge Line of Lode, not the line of Lode Miners Memorial.

Finally, as project architect on the aforementioned Line of Lode project, who also happens to be an academic at the University of Newcastle, I personally contest Caroline Pidcock’s assertion that the “only women invited to speak were academics”. I was a member of a panel, not a keynote speaker, but assumed I was principally invited because the Broken Hill project was included in the exhibition, not because I exist in that “marginal location” called academia. I’d be equally disturbed if I was invited because of my gender. My interest is in architecture not chromosomes.

I agree with the need for greater interaction between practice and academia, but my closing observation would be that practitioners were few and far between at the symposium perhaps indicating that such events just don’t do it for them.

Our apologies for omitting to mention the University of Newcastle’s involvement in “On Monumentality”.


Our New Look

Just wish to extend to you congratulations on delivering such a fantastic first issue for the year! The revised layout, particularly the presentation of photographs and drawings is superb. I found the articles to be insightful, engaging and balanced in their reviews of some very strong projects.

I can’t wait to see more of the same over the course of the year.


Urban Solutions

Architects live in “cloud-cuckoo land”.

We have next-to-no input into community affairs as they affect average battlers.

Sadly, the recent seminar on “Urban Solutions” illustrates the point only too well.

A great deal of care, thought and experience went into the presentations, yet all that transpired was a discussion of symptoms rather than causes. Any solutions suggested were but band-aid remedies.

We live in an out-of-control consumer society. Thus the marketers of the two largest capital items find that the most profitable strategy is to con people into the “outdoing the Jones’s”. Thus, while legal and practical driving speeds constantly decrease, we are persuaded to buy cars with ever more insanely powerful engines.

Similarly, at a time of decreasing family sizes, both medium and low density habitats are exploding into grossly ostentatious piles designed by their marketers as monuments to the owners’ inferiority complex.

Ditto, it is more profitable to both and developers and municipalities to provide snob value above all else.

Such a cock-eyed set of priorities not only produces a social desert, but is also the main reason for both pollution and unsustainable development.

Yet, we architects do not seem to understand that in order to produce good, socially valuable and ecologically sustainable architecture we must first become totally involved with everybody, particularly the battlers who can only afford a spec house at the very end of brick veneers. However, in order to do so – and in order to survive as a profession – we will first have to reinvent ourselves. Truly humility is a great virtue; snobbery is the way to oblivion.

I beg the RAIA to take a lead in acheiving this conversion.




Published online: 1 Mar 2003


Architecture Australia, March 2003

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