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World Architecture Day 07 October 2013

Victoria's World Architecture Day kicked off at a spritely hour of 7 30 am, with a crowd of 90, with breakfast and robustly roasted coffee, teamed with an equally strong discussion chaired Hamish Lyon. The speakers were Sean Godsell and Kerstin Thompson talking on the theme of Culture and Architecture. Kerstin's address gave plea for a higher quality of buildings throughout Melbourne by architects becoming involved in more projects, even if just for partial services, ensuring that quality reached not only the A grade projects, but the B and C grades, too. Sean's definition was to treat a project holistically, with the Architect at the pivotal position of a project that would ensure an excellence of design and deliverability. His bracketing was from design to completion on site, including project managing the process. Not only was his speech on quality driving the culture of Architecture, but also his own plea for a betterment of the treatment of an Architects vision, or intellectual property within an industry where novation of contract and competitions takes away the rights to an Architect's design without the author's continued presence. How does this feed the idea of Culture...? Our friend Wikipedia tells us –

"Culture may be defined as: Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture. An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behaviour. The outlook, attitudes, values, goals, and customs shared by a society".

What both Kerstin and Sean did agree on was that the quality of Architecture and design needs be shown to all works, all projects, so that the everyday and ordinary are also considered. That unlike overseas countries, Australia does not have a highly intuitive, design oriented society, but one still developing, learning from trial and error. This has given rise to much which may be termed the best and worst of buildings, even along the corridor of Swanston Street. Sean asked for all to look along the variety of Chapel Street, of Richmond’s inner streets. Both left the same message; a challenge to treat every Architectural project individually, with equal parts of design rigor. Both by and large had all nodding in agreement, perhaps at times preaching to the converted, but none the less an important message to be verbalise amongst our own and with those we strive to help and give vision too – our clients.

Following the talk Sean provided a gratefully received tour of the Design Hub, giving us the chance to see how the building was been used spatially, accommodating a variety of activities. He helped his clients to write their brief. His explanation of the spaces assisting with melding of ideas - where an aerospace engineer can walk along a studio space and see, comment and interact with the work of fashion designers. A true public building is the one of mutual inclusion, which places a multitude of people helping to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences.

Our thanks go to Sean, Kerstin, Hamish and the Member Services Committee and the Victorian Chapter Institute of Architects for organising.


Studio B Architects team

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