Stories

Cities

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ruhrtriennale 2018: A Spatial Artistic Revolution

Ruhrtriennale is a festival of art nested within architecture. Taking place in some of the world's most imposing industrial ruins, it has pioneered an innovative approach to protecting industrial buildings and highlighting their cultural legacy. Manuel Zabel went to the Ruhr to see for himself.

Redesigning the Housing Market

Is housing really best left to market alone? Turns out there are many models for financing housing. Urban designer Andy Fergus shares his research into alternative housing models, from for-profit to non-profit. Choose your own adventure!

Assemble: A Contradictory Space

The British architectural collective Assemble (no relation) was founded in 2010, at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, to explore other ways of doing architecture. Today, they are a force to be reckoned with, reforming both the built environment and the art world. Cat McGauran caught up with Jane Hall and Audrey Thomas-Hayes from the Turner Prize-winning collective.

Playable Cities: Hilary O’Shaughnessy

Cities around the world are rapidly growing a new layer of digital infrastructure. But who, outside of the few data engineers, knows what information is being collected and to what purpose? This is something Hilary O'Shaughnessy wants to change. Her project Playable Cities aims to restore agency and creativity to the 'smart city' - and includes dancing under street lights.

Amsterdam Social Housing: A Primer

The residential variety across Amsterdam city is stunning. Some rents are high, but many more are controlled, kept affordable by non-profit associations that deliver the bulk of housing in the Netherlands. From the expressive brickwork of early 20th-century workers’ dwellings to a new generation of refugee-inclusive youth housing, Amelyn Ng explores the system of affordable housing allocation in Amsterdam.

Unfolding Pavilion

Many people don't know that there is social housing throughout Venice: in the 1970s, the city embarked on an ambitious process of commissioning architecturally significant public housing projects that artfully blend into the city's medieval urban fabric. Possibly the best of them is Gino Valle's project in Giudecca, which featured in Unfolding Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Jana Perković spoke to the curators about why social housing still matters.

Robin Hood Gardens

One of the more controversial displays at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture was V&A Museum's decision to display a salvaged piece of the facade of the Robin Hood Gardens estate, rescued from demolition that started earlier in the year. UK-based architecture writer Owen Hatherley recounts the history of the building and the battle for its preservation. Is there a better way to engage with the historical legacy of public housing?

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.

The Great Disruption: Proptech & ‘Generation Rent’

Move over, Airbnb: here comes 'proptech'. The new generation of apps goes beyond the dubiously-named 'sharing economy' to affect real estate in far more complex ways, from virtual bond deposits to micro-investing. Alexis Kalagas reports from London, where proptech is booming - together with the property market.