Contributor: Tom Ross

Tom Ross grew up on Victoria’s surf coast, always carrying a camera, but never considering it a career. He started out studying marine biology, but a seven- month road trip around Australia caused him to reconsider his path. Graduating from photography at VCA, with a stint at Massachusetts College of Art, Tom has since begun a full-time commercial career in photography, specialising in architecture and editorial work.

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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.

AP x Liquid Architecture: Why Listen to Plants?

In her latest work 'Why Listen To Plants?' sound curator Danni Zuvela invites listeners to spend time with plants and listen to them, in the shared space of sound. So often the loudest voices are the ones we hear in our society, but 'Why Listen To Plants' reminds us that the quiet also have things to say. J.G Biberkopf has created an engaging soundscape, to get you in the mood.

Bakehouse Studios: Culture Is What We Do When We’re Really Living

For nearly twenty years, Helen Marcou and Quincy McLean had been supporting Melbourne's musicians and artists through Bakehouse Studios. Then in 2010 their beloved live music community came under threat, and their position at Bakehouse unexpectedly primed them for political activism - work that continues today.

Escape to the Suburbs mix by Xander Byng

Local label founder, podcaster, DJ and more: Xander Byng's talents traverse the musical universe. We bring you a mixtape from the Melbourne-based party-maker, developed as a meditation on psychogeography: “I’ve always found that experiencing unfamiliar settings, especially in a familiar environment, really helps me to think more positively."

Under and Over and Into and Between Mix by Jon Tjhia

For Assemble Papers, musician, podcaster, and Wheeler Centre senior digital editor Jon Tjhia has created a mixtape that combines expansive minimalism and 'very stretched out sound' with different takes on the human voice: "I pushed the mix through some heavy handed dynamic compression because I wanted its parts to squash together and have no option but to interact."

A Living Legacy: The Robin Boyd Foundation

Influential architect Robin Boyd, known for his sensitive variation of modernism, is a household name that stretches far beyond the architectural elite. Boyd’s is a legacy that has endured in his expansive body of work, lovingly upheld in no small part by the 2005-established Robin Boyd Foundation. Rachel Elliot-Jones visits founder and director, Tony Lee, at the Foundation’s headquarters in Melbourne.

City Edge: Melbourne’s Original Urban Village

South Melbourne's City Edge, built in the early '70s, is inner-city medium-density housing at its finest, with its 'urban village' design by Daryl Jackson and Evan Walker rendering it a landmark development of its time. Rachel Elliot-Jones and photographer Tom Ross head to City Edge to chat with residents about City Edge's significance and value to Melbourne's built heritage.

Tai, Simon, Leo & Gil: Welcome to the Dollhouse

For artist Tai Snaith and architect Simon Knott, good design is less about aesthetics than it is about what it actually means to live in a space: they believe architecture should be about people over built objects. Ghita Loebenstein and Tom Ross pay a visit to the couple's Northcote home, the 'Dollhouse', where they live with their two children, Leo and Gil.

Gulf futures: Doha

In October last year, photographer and regular AP contributor Tom Ross found himself taking shelter from Doha’s blistering 42-degree heat in an “overpriced ashtray” of a hotel. After adjusting to the new climate, Tom gathered himself and stepped out into the desert city, where he captured this portrait of Qatar’s ever-changing and rapidly growing capital.

Jane: house in the clouds

Jane Caught is an architect and co-founder of multi-disciplinary collective, SIBLING. Recently, SIBLING relocated its Melbourne studio to Curtin House, a short stroll from Jane’s rented apartment in the Jackson Clements Burrows-designed, and Piccolo-developed, Upper House. Tom Ross visits Jane at her 75m2 apartment on the 14th floor, before the SIBLING workday begins.

Swarm Traps: The Hive Mind

Australia is currently experiencing a golden age of backyard beekeeping. This is, arguably, one of the last golden ages of European honey bee (Apis mellifera) honey production – anywhere in the world. Nic Dowse of Honey Fingers, takes us through the importance of caring for our bee populations, the basics of backyard beekeeping, and how to build your own swarm trap.

Self-made: Arts Project Australia

Since 1974, not-for-profit organisation Arts Project Australia (APA) has been championing the talents and wellbeing of artists with an intellectual disability through its open philosophy of agency, freedom and collaboration through art. On a wintery Thursday, Grace McQuilten visited our Northcote neighbours at Arts Project HQ to speak with Executive Director, Sue Roff.

Edible only: the community garden

Kate Rhodes is co-curator at RMIT Design Hub, a purpose-built space dedicated to design thinking across research, exhibition and critique. When not striding the halls of the glacial Sean Godsell/Peddle Thorp building, Kate observes a cycle of a very different nature: the seasonal changes of her 8m2 kitchen garden plot at the North Fitzroy Community Rushall Garden. Here, Kate shares her gardening tips.

Remember Me: architecture, placemaking and Aboriginal identity

Timmah Ball combines her passion for creating place and urban planning with a deep pride in her Ballardong Noongar heritage. For National Reconciliation Week, she explores Aboriginal identity in Australian architecture and civic spaces, with a particular focus on 'Portrait' – the intensely debated ARM Architecture-designed apartments in Melbourne's CBD.

Gina Basso on Rathdowne Street

Sixty-one years ago, seamstress Gina Basso left her family in Carmignano di Brenta in Northern Italy and travelled across the world to North Carlton, Victoria to be with her new husband, tailor Giacomo. Now 82, the impeccably presented Gina can still be found four days out of seven at her century-old Dürkopp Adler sewing machine—often with 27-year-old granddaughter Emily on the Janome beside her.

Fallen wood, sabi spoons: Eugene Howard

Like the smooth cup of a shell, or the curve of a well-worn stone, Eugene Howard senses potential in roughly hewn timber, "there's a spoon waiting in every piece of wood". This new perspective quickly reveals hundreds of not-yet-realised spoons in his garden alone. As the world rushes by, Eugene's practice highlights the timelessness of objects within our daily sphere.

Backyard Bungalows: Alex Kennedy

In our third instalment of Backyard Bungalows, we take a turn through the Carlton North cabin of Alex Kennedy. The 35sqm space was once a car garage amidst the lush garden behind her mum's house, until Alex (and friends) took to it with a hammer and plastering board, and designer Sarah Trotter of Hearth Studio helped translate Alex’s ideas around recycled materials and Japanese minimalism into built form.

The Purple Rose of Cairo

The 1930s Best Overend-designed Cairo Building on Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, is an example of minimal living mastery that inaugurated our This Vertical Life column in 2012, with an article that reflected on the modernist apartment building through the eyes of former residents looking back fondly.