Stories

Disability Design: Who has access to the city?

Disability is not a personal problem, but a socio-political question: a question of who is included, and who is excluded from our cities. Writer, educator and activist Jax Jacki Brown unpacks the shortcomings in disability design as they traverse Melbourne in search of an accessible tram stop.

Informal Settlements: Never Just a ‘Slum’

Ishita Chatterjee is an architect who researches informal settlements. We call them 'slums' and think we know them. But what are they, really? And, most importantly, what  are the lessons we can learn from them? In these notes from her fieldwork in India, Ishita explains how an informal settlement is made.

The Long Way Back: Europe

This summer, architect Vlad Doudakliev shipped his car to Vladivostok, from where he travelled overland across Russia with his dad, all the way to his native Bulgaria. In the second part of his travelogue for Assemble Papers, we follow Vlad as he crosses into Europe.

Lesley Lokko: Decolonising Architecture

Just over 2000 years ago, Pliny the Elder uttered: “Ex Africa semper aliquid novi” (“Out of Africa there is always something new”). No-one is perhaps better equipped to discuss this idea than Professor Lesley Lokko. Currently Head of the Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) at the University of Johannesburg, Lesley’s perspective is at once critical and confident, exuding the optimism found in the latent potential of her students, yet acutely aware of the varied challenges they face beyond the safe space of her classrooms. Danielle Mileo caught up with Lesley after her lecture ‘What Pliny Said’ at the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam late last year, to discuss the challenges around decolonisation and pedagogy in architectural education on the African continent.

Japanese Spinach Rolls with dipping sauce

Celebrant, self-taught cook and Castlemaine superstar, Jenny O’Keefe, shares with assistant editor, Cat McGauran, her recipe for Japanese Spinach Rolls and dipping sauce. Both nutritious and delicious, these rolls are made with love and sure to impress!

Ears #37: Updating the Past mix by Evelyn Ida Morris

Evelyn Ida Morris, also known as Pikelet, is a musician who glides effortlessly between looping pop and structurally complex, experimental compositions. With a long career spanning four celebrated experimental pop albums as Pikelet, voted one of '50 Most Powerful People in the Australian Music Industry', a co-founder of LISTEN advocacy group for gender diversity and politics in Australian music, they are a legend of Australian independent music. Evelyn has prepared us a winter mix, which expands on the themes of their 2019 self-titled album: lush, post-classical compositions focusing on the piano, and dealing with the non-binary experience of gender.

Shacks: Somewhere to Disappear

From desert landscapes to isolated places, from mountains to jungles, wilderness is somewhere to rest, find refuge; a place of solitude far away from society. Cristina Guerrero documents a series of discovered cabins and other hideouts found around the world.

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.

Kirsha Kaechele: Transcending the Quagmire

Artist Kirsha Kaechele embraces complexity and contradiction that permeates attempts to do good in the world. Her art projects range from gun buyback programs to cleaning up rivers, and do not necessarily look like art to anyone but her. In her new project for Mona, she is proposing to solve the invasive species problem in Australia - by eating them.

The Outer and Inner Landscapes

For the last four years, photographer and dancer Gregory Lorenzutti has been living in Fawkner, a northern suburb of Melbourne that was cattle country right until the 1940s. In the postwar area, the suburb was subdivided for housing for returning servicemen, but most of the houses in the area were built in the period 1950-1970, as detached brick homes for Ford factory workers. After a heartbreak, Greg moved into one of the original Ford houses with a garden, and has given it a new life.

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.

Borders

Artist Stanislava Pinchuk (also known as Miso) maps war and conflict zones in the most delicate ways - recreating their changing topographies as pinpoints on paper. But conveying the devastation of the Calais refugee encampment has led to an unusual choice of material: terrazzo.

Sarajevo: In Times of Now

Twenty years after the war, Sarajevo is becoming a city of peace. A generation of young creatives, entrepreneurs and artists is bringing in an optimism and an international outlook. Long enchanted by this city, Melbourne writer Ennis Ćehić has returned to the capital of his native country to find the Sarajevo of now.

Holzmarkt: How ‘Business Hippies’ Reinvented Berlin

The development of Holzmarkt has shown that Berlin is capable of both imagining and creating places of social cooperation. Once organisers of illegal raves, a group of friends are now building a whole new district; and with it, reimagining the city's future.

Greening NYC: Piet Oudolf’s New Perennialism

Architect Elliet Spring lived in New York for most of her twenties. On her recent return, she was greeted by a different city: no longer so much a concrete jungle, but a city layered with rich, generous vegetation - from the High Line to The Battery. The turn has been in no small measure the influence of one person, Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. Here, Elliet looks at Piet's seasonally sensitive, emotionally rich approach to planting, which has spanned a movement: New Perennialism.

Cascoland Kolenkit: Global Issues, Local Contexts

The neighbourhood of Kolenkit is not the sort of Amsterdam found in tourist brochures. But, in 2010, a group of community artists moved into “the most problematic neighbourhood in the Netherlands” and started working to improve Kolenkit's title. Rob Snelling tells the story of a community repaired with art and ingenuity.

Easy Noodle Salad

Jenny O'Keefe is a Castlemaine legend: a celebrant and a self-taught cook. With Assemble Papers, she shares a recipe for an easy noodle salad to Cat McGauran (another transplant to regional Victoria).

Ears #36: Autumn mix by Tiny Ruins

For the 2019 season of our beloved EARS mixtape series, Assemble Papers is partnering up with Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher's Milk! Records. to bring you a year of good tunes from the indie Melbourne music scene.  Opening act: Hollie Fullbrook of Tiny Ruins brings us a folkie mix titled, simply, 'Autumn'.

Yandell Walton: Social Change, Small and Large 

Yandell Walton is alarmed by climate change. Emma McRae speaks to the Melbourne projection artist whose ephemeral installations probe the impermanence at the very heart of existence.

AP print issue #11: Transitions

As the eleventh print issue of Assemble Papers is about to land in Melbourne (and then travel beyond), editorial team Jana Perković and Cat McGauran explain some of the thinking behind the edition's theme. We live in a time that demands necessary change: but how do we face this urgency with a spirit of community and altruism?

Redesigning Renting: Housing as a Service

Sharing economy increasingly means that we subscribe to a service (transport, music, even clothes and cars) instead of buying the thing. But how does this work with housing? Alexis Kalagas continues his research into start-ups that are redesigning renting.

Nurturing Collective Creativity: Naomi Milgrom

Melbourne may be Australia's arts capital, but Naomi Milgrom is now pushing it to the forefront of Australia’s design conversation. Jana Perković speaks to the woman behind MPavilion and Living Cities Forum about the importance of dialogue and disagreement.

Janet Laurence: Empathy for Fragile Creatures

Over 30 years, artist Janet Laurence's installations have explored the interconnectedness of all living things: minerals, animals, us. A deeply ecological sensibility permeates her work, which sits between sculpture, architecture and environment. With her first major survey exhibition now on at Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Rafaela Pandolfini visits Janet's studio to talk feminism, gardening and the Anthropocene.

Place & the Afterlife: French & Mottershead

UK artist duo French & Mottershead invite participants to think again about who they are, and their ties to place and one another. Video, performance, photography and sound are woven together to create tangible stories about living in place, borne out of rigorous research. Recently, at Dark Mofo, they gently led us into death. Cat McGauran met with Andrew Mottershead to discuss life & decomposition.