Contributor: Tom Ross

Tom Ross is a photographer from coastal Victoria with a studio in Melbourne. Trained at the Victorian College of the Arts, and Massachusetts College of Art, he works with architects and storytellers and has been published internationally.

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Mary Featherston: The Slow Evolution of School

The design of our schools still reflects a belief in a hierarchical society: teachers up the front, students sitting passively. Designer Mary Featherston has been researching and developing learning environments for more than 40 years. She tells AP assistant editor Cat McGauran that young people deserve more from the education system. Over the last three […]

Six-pack Living: Type Street Apartment

The six-pack is the unsung hero of Australia’s vernacular architecture. Their sweep through the inner suburbs in the 1970s left a significant mark on the urban landscape. Though often reviled, we at Assemble Papers love them for their solid build and functional design. Jack Chen has carefully renovated a 33 sqm apartment in a modest walk-up block in Richmond, showing what a six-pack flat can do.

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.

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."

Braised Chicken with Root Vegetables

Back from a tour of Japan's culinary and cultural sites, we welcome back Julia Busuttil Nishimura of OSTRO. Australian-Maltese and a fluent Italian speaker, she brings an intuitive simplicity to contemporary Australian cooking. This week, Julia shares with us a recipe for perfect winter comfort food: chicken braised with veggies in a lightly perfumed dashi broth.

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.

Keys to the City: 3000 Acres

Since 2013, Melbourne community garden initiative 3000 Acres has been enabling residents to better access to their city by activating underutilised spaces in urbanised environments. Founded by landscape architect Kate Dundas, 3000 Acres was inspired by a similar New York-based initiative, and has found unique regenerative potential in the grey areas, nooks and crannies of Melbourne’s ever-adapting urban fabric.

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.

Offal, weeds, waste: Cooking with TOME

Late last year Jonny Kirk and Emily Wong of Melbourne design studio TERRA FODA launched their TOME project – a design experiment exploring the idea of the 'subnatural' in food, which manifested in a series of private dinners in Jonny's Brunswick bungalow.

Pizza fritta

While studying in the Florentine and Tuscan countryside, Julia Busuttil Nishimura learnt a thing or two about slow food. Here she shares a classic recipe for pan-fried pizzette – a simple yet delectable treat for even the most fervent of pizza lovers.

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.