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Latest Articles

Redesigning the Housing Market

Is housing really best left to market alone? Turns out there are many models for financing housing. Urban designer Andy Fergus shares his research into alternative housing models, from for-profit to non-profit. Choose your own adventure!

Assemble: A Contradictory Space

The British architectural collective Assemble (no relation) was founded in 2010, at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, to explore other ways of doing architecture. Today, they are a force to be reckoned with, reforming both the built environment and the art world. Cat McGauran caught up with Jane Hall and Audrey Thomas-Hayes from the Turner Prize-winning collective.

Playable Cities: Hilary O’Shaughnessy

Cities around the world are rapidly growing a new layer of digital infrastructure. But who, outside of the few data engineers, knows what information is being collected and to what purpose? This is something Hilary O'Shaughnessy wants to change. Her project Playable Cities aims to restore agency and creativity to the 'smart city' - and includes dancing under street lights.

How Finland is Ending Homelessness: Juha Kaakinen

In the 1980s, Finland's homeless rates were equivalent to Australia's today: 0.4%. Today, homelessness is all but eradicated, thanks to an innovative approach called 'Housing First'. Juha Kaakinen, CEO of Y-Foundation, Finland's largest non-profit housing provider, explains to Cat McGauran how the Finnish approach arose from the belief that 'everybody should be cared for'.

Ugly-beautiful Australia: Eugenia Lim

“There can be few other nations less certain than Australia as to what they are and where they are,” wrote Robin Boyd in The Australian Ugliness (1960), his examination of the national aesthetics. In 2018, artist and Assemble Papers founding editor Eugenia Lim contemporised the book's provocations in a video installation that will soon travel to Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) for The National 2019. Here, Lim reflects on the book's enduring themes - and how our relationship to architecture is as personal as it is political.


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The Assemble Model

Issue 10 — Out Now

In Print

#10: Housing

In partnership with MPavilion, issue #10 addresses one of the most pressing global concerns. From ‘housing first’ approaches in Finland, to housing associations in the Netherlands and innovative financing in Melbourne, we look at how humans will live in the future, and how we can ensure that all citizens are provided for.

AP#10: Housing

Who gets to decide how we all reside? Jana Perković and Eugenia Lim introduce the tenth print issue of Assemble Papers, dedicated to housing for all, and published in partnership with MPavilion.

Carme Pinós: A Social Constellation

For Catalan architect Carme Pinós, form follows social responsibility – beauty is a by-product of an architecture that places people, memory, context and physics first. Pinós's Mediterranean sensibility unfolds in her 2018 MPavilion commission here in Melbourne. She speaks to our editor Jana Perković about how buildings express their structure and architecture as an act of humanity.

Real Estate Boom House

Some years during the Spanish real estate boom, which began in the mid-1980s and ended abruptly in 2008, more than 500,000 houses were being constructed annually all over Spain. In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, a photography and design project by Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, architect, curator and scholar at Princeton University, examines what is left.

Jack Self: Scepticism & Imagination

It is late 2018, and we're so embedded in a system of global capitalism that at times it seems inevitable. But like any human construct, it is not. Jack Self is an architect, editor and the director of the Real Foundation, a cultural institute that explores alternative models of housing ownership and design of project finance. His mission? To end capitalism.

The Great Disruption: Proptech & ‘Generation Rent’

Move over, Airbnb: here comes 'proptech'. The new generation of apps goes beyond the dubiously-named 'sharing economy' to affect real estate in far more complex ways, from virtual bond deposits to micro-investing. Alexis Kalagas reports from London, where proptech is booming - together with the property market.

Saskia Sassen: The Limits of the Material

Prof Saskia Sassen spent her career researching the processes underpinning globalisation. Her early work described the rise of the new class of high-paid consultants, concentrating in a few 'global cities' and displacing ordinary families. Lately, she has turned her attention to the global housing boom. How have buildings become a speculative asset class? In conversation with Jana Perković, she explains what has happened since the Global Financial Crisis.

Robin Hood Gardens

One of the more controversial displays at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture was V&A Museum's decision to display a salvaged piece of the facade of the Robin Hood Gardens estate, rescued from demolition that started earlier in the year. UK-based architecture writer Owen Hatherley recounts the history of the building and the battle for its preservation. Is there a better way to engage with the historical legacy of public housing?

Unfolding Pavilion

Many people don't know that there is social housing throughout Venice: in the 1970s, the city embarked on an ambitious process of commissioning architecturally significant public housing projects that artfully blend into the city's medieval urban fabric. Possibly the best of them is Gino Valle's project in Giudecca, which featured in Unfolding Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Jana Perković spoke to the curators about why social housing still matters.

Amsterdam Social Housing: A Primer

The residential variety across Amsterdam city is stunning. Some rents are high, but many more are controlled, kept affordable by non-profit associations that deliver the bulk of housing in the Netherlands. From the expressive brickwork of early 20th-century workers’ dwellings to a new generation of refugee-inclusive youth housing, Amelyn Ng explores the system of affordable housing allocation in Amsterdam.

The Architecture of Least Resistance

Photographer Tom Ross has a keen eye for capturing architecture and its atmospheres. He's noticed Geelong, his former stomping ground, transform into Australia’s fastest-growing regional centre. Urbanisation has hit the Surf Coast, bringing a property and population boom and growing inequity. He reflects on the changing corridor between Melbourne and Geelong: the urban, suburban and peri-urban.

How Finland is Ending Homelessness: Juha Kaakinen

In the 1980s, Finland's homeless rates were equivalent to Australia's today: 0.4%. Today, homelessness is all but eradicated, thanks to an innovative approach called 'Housing First'. Juha Kaakinen, CEO of Y-Foundation, Finland's largest non-profit housing provider, explains to Cat McGauran how the Finnish approach arose from the belief that 'everybody should be cared for'.

Assemble: A Contradictory Space

The British architectural collective Assemble (no relation) was founded in 2010, at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, to explore other ways of doing architecture. Today, they are a force to be reckoned with, reforming both the built environment and the art world. Cat McGauran caught up with Jane Hall and Audrey Thomas-Hayes from the Turner Prize-winning collective.

Redesigning the Housing Market

Is housing really best left to market alone? Turns out there are many models for financing housing. Urban designer Andy Fergus shares his research into alternative housing models, from for-profit to non-profit. Choose your own adventure!

Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA: The Artificial Belongs to Nature

Based in Tokyo, SAANA is a multi award-winning architecture practice, renowned for designs that are simple, yet exude a profound sense of purpose. In 2010, architect Keith Little took a highly coveted intern position at SAANA, where he learnt about the philosophy that shapes Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa's practice. Now, he returns to a dialogue with his former mentor.