Stories

Assemblage

The cultural fabric of cities, covering people and projects across art, architecture, design and cross-pollinated creativity with a focus on local makers and projects through to internationally good ideas.

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 […]

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 […]

Gamifying urban design with Block by Block

The development of our public spaces often feels hidden behind complex planning processes, motivated by the visions of a few. Could a more participatory design method help us to re-imagine the present and future of public spaces together? To find out, writer Robert Snelling chatted with Celine d’Cruz, vice president of Block by Block, a […]

Christopher Hawthorne: The ‘Third’ Los Angeles

Chicago has the Chicago Architecture Center, New York has the Municipal Art Society, and Melbourne has countless public and non-profit institutions such as Open House, MPavilion and the National Gallery of Victoria to raise awareness and public literacy around design in our built environment. However, says Christopher Hawthorne, “There is no city that needs that […]

Ex-Embassy

In August 2018, the former Australian embassy to East Germany in Berlin’s northeast suburb of Pankow hosted Ex-Embassy, an exhibition of six artworks and five texts, and an open research archive. Instigated and hosted by the artist Sonja Hornung, and researched and assembled with writer and artist Rachel O’Reilly as curatorial advisor, it included the […]

Forgotten Lessons: Vann Molyvann and the New Khmer Architecture School 

Vann Molyvann, the most prolific architect of modern Cambodia, forged buildings that respected the natural flow of water, air and light. Researcher and urbanist Bruno Friedel, walks us through some of his key projects in Phnom Penh, and interrogates the legacy they have left behind. Vann Molyvann left a Cambodia plunged into political crisis and […]

Rachaporn Choochuey: The Art of Living Lightly

Understanding how people live is at the core of design director Rachaporn Choochuey’s practice. She’s the co-founder of Bangkok-based architecture studio all(zone), known for their playful projects which utilise reuse and recycling, while employing local materials and building techniques in innovative ways. Emma McRae sat down in conversation with Rachaporn, after her presentation at the […]

Refuge: When Art Meets Emergency

Protection from natural or human-made disasters in cities is often a top down affair, organised by federal or state government. What if communities were empowered to react with creative solutions in the face of catastrophe? Georgia Symons walks us through the interdisciplinary project Refuge at Arts House in Melbourne to discover what happens when art […]

Adrian Lahoud: The Legacy of Empire

Adrian Lahoud’s practice interrogates the intersection of architecture, climate change and colonisation. His curatorial strategy for Sharjah Architecture Triennial, ‘The Rights of Future Generations’, is the culmination of decades of research into the spatial consequences of conflict. Lauren Crockett sat down in conversation with Adrian, after his presentation at the Living Cities Forum in 2019.

Mabel O. Wilson: History is Invented

There are few people working on questions of race and the built environment – Mabel O. Wilson is at the forefront of this topic. She’s a Professor of Architecture at Columbia University and Associate Director at the Institute for Research in African American Studies. Nina Tory-Henderson sat down in conversation with Mabel, after her presentation at […]

Šejla Kamerić: Art is Resistance

Šejla Kamerić’s artistic practice is bold, political and deeply personal. She questions humanity's destructive behaviour and sees art as an act of resistance.

Mona: Skin in the Game

Mona has captured the hearts of many – financial freedom, combined with a willingness to take risks, has made this museum a genuinely experimental project, rejecting the unadventurous and embracing the new. Emma McRae delves into the museum’s history and how it has transformed the way Tasmanians, and Australians, view the island state. “When David […]

Glenn Murcutt: Touching the Earth Lightly

Australia's only Pritzker Prize winner is also the award's most unlikely recipient: Glenn Murcutt AO prefers to work alone, and has never built a single structure outside Australia. This choice reflects his dedication to working with the nuances of the local climate and natural conditions. As Glenn's MPavilion opens in Melbourne's Botanical Gardens, AP editor Jana Perković sits down to chat with Australia's most environmentally conscious architect about past and future legacies.

Lesley Lokko: Decolonising Architecture

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Future Method: Land, Treaty, Property

Future Method Studio work across architecture, installation and speculative projects. Led by architecture practitioners and pedagogues Joel Sherwood-Spring and Genevieve Murray, Future Method is a unique practice in the Australian architecture landscape to put participation and decolonisation at the heart of their agenda.