What’s in a name?

Farrah Tomazin, The Age, p. 13, 18th November 2012 architect \ˈär-kə-ˌtekt\ 1) a person who designs buildings and advises in their construction 2) a person who designs and guides a plan or undertaking In Australia, there are many who claim ownership of the name, architect, but who among them truly deserve it? First of the aspirants are... Continue Reading →

Stalinist architecture?

Palace of the Soviets by Boras Iofan (1932) What is it? Michael Gurr wrote an opinion article in The Age recently condemning the Footscray Station Precinct development by SJB and McBride Charles Ryan as Stalinist. "If the communist bloc still existed, Footscray's apartment buildings are what their security headquarters would look like. These buildings are big,... Continue Reading →

The invisible profession

We have observed with growing disquiet over recent years that architecture is fast becoming the invisible profession. Be it in the papers, on talkback radio or coming directly from parliament, rarely are the opinions of architects publicly sought on issues that affect the built environment. Over and over again, builders, planners, real estate agents, plumbers and... Continue Reading →

Good design knows no boundaries

The process of writing How to steal like an architect last year, a series of 10 articles based on Austin Kleon's How to steal like an artist, made me consider other lessons learned over the years. What further lessons would I teach my younger self, given the opportunity? 20. Good design knows no boundaries An article in The Age earlier... Continue Reading →

Evolution of the cyborg

Cathy Hutchinson controls a robotic arm and takes a sip of coffee. She is directing the arm via signals transmitted directly from the motor cortex section of her brain What is it? A team at Brown University in the United States, led by Professor John Donoghue, has developed an electronic device, called BrainGate, that is surgically... Continue Reading →

Regulating sustainability

What is it? A proposal is currently before the Victorian State government that recommends abandoning mandatory 6-star thermal efficiency requirements for housing as part of a broader agenda to cut government red tape. Documents obtained by The Age newspaper reveal state Treasurer Kim Wells has suggested that "consideration could be given to a voluntary thermal... Continue Reading →

Strandbeesten

What are they? Sculptures, art installations, kinetic experiments, inorganic life forms. Dutch artist, Theo Jansen, designs the Strandbeesten (or Beach Beasts in English) to mimic the natural biological processes underpinning digestion and mobility, with oscillating sails to feed on wind energy, bladders to digest compressed air, and muscles to operate spidery legs. Built from PVC tubing,... Continue Reading →

Our Liveable City

What is it? A recently completed, 6-month study commissioned by The Age and undertaken by Tract Consultants and Deloitte Access Economics into the liveability of Melbourne's 314 suburbs. The term liveability is in itself difficult to define, with research into its parameters marking the start of the study. According to Adam Terrill of Tract Consultants, the definition... Continue Reading →

The electric Rolls-Royce

What is it? Currently a one-off prototype, the 102EX Experimental Electric is making the rounds of stronghold Rolls-Royce markets to determine potential customer interest in the car. Based on the top-of-the-range Phantom, it does away with a thirsty 6.75 litre V12 petrol engine in favour of a bank of 96 batteries under the bonnet and... Continue Reading →

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