Stories

Important Correction to Cassie Lynch’s Story Watershed

My story Watershed is a deep time impression of Melbourne. I collaborated with Boonwurrung Elder N’arwee’t Carolyn Briggs and the story is informed by Boonwurrung cultural heritage concerning sea level rise. Facilitated by Arts House Melbourne I spent twelve months writing Watershed while consulting with N’arwee’t. Aunty Carolyn and I are very proud of it […]

Working Cooperatively: Earthworker Energy

For nearly a century, the Latrobe Valley has provided most of Victoria’s power. While there are distant views of chimney stacks and cooling towers from the Princes Freeway, the enormous size and scale of energy production is revealed along the Power Drive Scenic Route. Between the towns of Morwell and Moe, the route heads north […]

Sydney’s Arkadia: a green revolution

Flanked on one side by major city artery Sydney Park Road and on the other by the fine-grained and increasingly trendy Sydney suburb of Alexandria, Arkadia was always going to appeal to Sydney’s coolest professionals. But thanks to its beginnings, this apartment building is special. Developed by Defence Housing Australia (DHA) as a hybrid of […]

Ears #42: Mix by Hope St Radio’s Pete Baxter

Hope St Radio’s founder Pete Baxter has his finger in many pies — from DJ, to music curator, and maker of fine wine. With Hope St Radio, his roaming radio station broadcasting from different venues around Melbourne, he brings people from all walks of life together through music. In 2021 Hope St Radio will find […]

Hot Pursuit: Melbourne’s Queer Nightlife

It’s not difficult to imagine why those most often at society’s fringe would dream of spaces immune from everyday living. Utopias crop into focus in many queer theories and texts… a paradise, a promised place absent from malice or complication. For many queers, like myself, an extended Melbourne lockdown has us dreaming of sweat and […]

Footpath Trading: Pavement & Public Realm

Melbourne is (touch wood) finally exiting a dark winter of homebound isolation, hour-long walks and delivery food. As good weather arrives and rules are loosened, the government has outlined a pathogen-conscious plan for restaurant reopening that relies heavily on outdoor dining. This has already spurred debate about how we allot space on our streets and […]

Back to the Burbs

Morrison on the Verge “Can everyone get off the grass, please?” a man yells, pointing at his front yard. “I’ve just re-seeded that.” An unremarkable appeal, except that it is made to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, in the middle of briefing the press, orchestrated to have homes under construction as the backdrop. Morrison then […]

Mind the Gap

All of us, on some level, need support. This was highlighted by the events of the past year, when we all watched as our systems and bureaucracies, these invisible infrastructures that govern and coordinate our worlds, crashed under the pressure of a virus invisible to the human eye. Through this time, we noticed another invisible […]

Ahakoa He Iti He Pounamu*

In the heart of the far north of Aotearoa New Zealand sits the small farming town of Kaikohe. Often referred to as the centre of local iwi (tribe) Ngāpuhi, whose hapū (smaller tribes) spread all the way to Cape Reingā, the area is steeped in Māori history. Rolling farmlands that surround the small town are […]

Watershed

Beneath the pavers of North Melbourne, under road, and concrete, and gravel, and sand, lies a landscape in wait. Birrarang-ga, the River Country, as it is known in the first language of this place, is the largest wetland in Australia, currently buried under shops, houses, police stations, and playgrounds. There is a river that lives […]

Future Homes: Density Done Well?

Design for civic and for everyday realities have always been at the centre of architect Jill Garner’s practice. Since 2015, in her role as Victorian Government Architect, she has advocated for civic buildings and infrastructure to be considered thoughtfully, acutely aware that design decisions impact Melburnians in their day-to-day lives. Recently, Garner has been working […]

Slow Movements

For many of us during lockdown, our lives inside were whipped into a frenzy of screens, devices, disembodied voices and the internet. As the boundaries between work, entertainment and living collapsed, in some ways, public and private spaces inverted. In Melbourne’s norther suburbs people sought peace in outside worlds. Photographer Ben Clement documented people’s introspection […]

Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s Taramasalata

Growing up, our elderly Greek neighbours would pass my mum pale blue ice-cream tubs full of taramasalata over the fence. It was very light pink – almost white – in colour, with a subtle salty fish taste, and it was always topped with a few kalamata olives. I loved eating it doused with olive oil, […]

Kevin Heinze: Grow Guide

The late Kevin Heinze, a well-known Melbourne gardener and radio and television personality, believed that all people should be given the opportunity to take part in gardening activities. He understood the therapeutic benefits gardening could deliver for vulnerable people and helped set up the unique community organisation now known as Kevin Heinze Grow. Today, forty-one […]

Together Apart: Isolation Tales

Melbourne’s stringent lockdowns last year affected all of us in different ways. In the space of time between the first and second series of lockdowns, and when it was safe to do so, photographer Bri Hammond visited residents in public housing in Collingwood and Richmond to hear how they were faring in isolation. Each person […]

Living Infrastructure

Vindmøllebakken, a recently completed co-living housing project in Stavanger, Norway, sits on a small peninsula where the North Sea meets the meandering blue branches of the Boknafjord. Designed by Norwegian architecture firm Helen & Hard, and developed with Kruse Smith, Indigo Vekst and Gaia Trondheim, it is the first project to be completed under the […]

Essential Service

In recent years, regular outdoor food markets have popped up in Melbourne’s metropolitan suburbs, supporting regional farmers and local communities. At the end of August last year, organisers of these markets found themselves faced with an unexpected predicament. Under stringent COVID-19 restrictions, the Victorian State Government announced that farmers markets were no longer deemed an […]

Treading Lightly: Prototyping Brunswick’s Public Space

Across Brunswick, the ghosts of industries past collide with new forms of cultural production. Artists, designers and creators of all types work out of large factories; their workshops, spilling out onto the street, create a neighbourhood in motion. But as in all suburbs, progress here is inevitable. The question is, how can Brunswick change without […]

Unexpectedly Thriving

During last year’s lockdowns, what was considered ‘normal’ was thrown under the spotlight. While some can’t wait for life to return to ‘normal’, illustrator Sarah Firth thinks we can redefine aspects of our lives to be more accessible for more people – so more people can thrive. This piece is part of Assemble Papers 13 […]

Planet City: Collective Futures

When we think of our futures, tumbleweeds blowing across water-starved desert landscapes or rain-washed dystopian inner-city streetscapes spring to mind. It may feel like a climate apocalypse is all but inevitable, but are we too quick to default to hopelessness and dystopia? Australian-born speculative architect Liam Young’s Planet City – his most ambitious project to […]

Northside: Warren Kirk

Though change in our suburbs is inevitable, reminders of days gone by will always exist. The past catches up with the present in photographer Warren Kirk’s new book Northside: a time and a place. A tribute to our memories, and a reminder to look closer at the world around us, the book documents some of […]

Learning from Land: Elisapeta Heta

Architect Elisapeta Heta spent much of her time this year in the small town of One Tree Point just north of Ruakaka, on the east coast of Aotearoa New Zealand, in lockdown with three generations of her family. For her, the practice of architecture is intertwined with the practice of knowing oneself, knowing the fundaments of where you come from, and how you came to be upon land.

On Wellington: Loss and looking ahead

When was the last time you considered the value of spaces like libraries, town halls and theatres for your city? In Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, the slow erosion of the city’s civic functions over the past ten years has crept up on writer K. Emma Ng. She walks us through this loss, and […]

Artist Ian Strange on concepts of home

For some, home is a way of mapping and understanding the world. Artist Ian Strange interrogates concepts of home through site-specific installations in suburban locations, challenging notions of memory, safety and security. OFFICE, as part of The Politics of Public Space lecture series, met the artist on Zoom in April of this year to discuss […]