Articles on Architecture

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Tim Ross conducting an Open House…Opening buildings to the curious public is helping to boost awareness of architecture. © Kylie Speer

Opening doors and minds: the Open House phenomenon

Since it began in London in 1992, the Open House movement has spread to 30 cities. Its events, which showcase everything from tiny apartments to grand homes, are cultivating a popular appreciation of architecture.
Performers march along the Great Wall of China in 2008. David Gray/Reuters

Dear Mr Trump: here’s how you build a wall

Donald Trump, if he takes the US presidency, will immediately start building a wall between Mexico and the US. What lessons can he take from that celebrated wall-builder, Chairman Mao?
As soon as we defined physical boundaries in buildings, we created the burglar who breaches them. Shutterstock

The burglar as architectural critic?

A new book, A Burglar's Guide to the City, strays into risky moral territory by lionizing the burglar as an urban and architectural trickster.
A ‘humble outback structure’: a former Afghan cameleer’s mosque in Bourke NSW. Copyright Iain Davidson/flickr

Friday essay: the Australian Mosque

Those opposed to the building of new mosques don't recognise their long history here, or potential to support Australian ideals. Mosques are part of our suburban landscape and can help overcome fears about Islam.
Unlike Dr Strangelove, few people learned to love the bomb – but it changed society nonetheless. Columbia Pictures

How Cold War anxieties still shape our world today

Think the Cold War is over? It may be, but its effects still cast a long shadow over society.
The Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, is one of the few remnants of America’s mid-20th century motel boom. Library of Congress

The twilight of the mom and pop motel

What does the shuttering of traditional roadside motels say about America's relationship with travel and freedom?
Better office design is not just about shaping space around tasks we do.

Business Briefing: a better way to design an office

Business Briefing: a better to design an office. The Conversation13.9 MB (download)
Research shows that many building codes don't designate the maximum number of people that should fit in an office, but that's not the only problem with standard office design.
The African Union laboratory in Nansana, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda. Ikko Kobayashi and Fumi Kashimura/Terrain-Architects

Ugandan architects struggle with the dilemma of what’s appropriate

There is a growing trend of designing modernised replicas of traditional buildings for entertainment and tourism. That’s no way to salvage positive lessons from building traditions.
Renaissance master Andrea Palladio designed Villa La Rotonda with rooms of various characters, which at night served as viewing boxes for fireworks displays in the surrounding landscape. Bogna/Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: why a building and its rooms should have a human character

Might we enjoy our homes more if their rooms were characterised by their sense of loftiness or intimacy or cheerfulness or melancholy rather than lifeless labels such as 'media room' or 'home office'?
The Sirius building in 2014: only 12 or so residents are now left and they will soon be moved on. Jenny Noyes/New Zulu

In praise of the Sirius building, a ruined remnant of idealistic times

Sydney's Sirius building - a brutalist classic, providing public housing with waterfront views - will soon be gone. Its loss speaks volumes about our contemporary values and architecture's shift away from utopianism.
The award-winning Naranga Avenue House, by James Russell Architect, features astonishing breeze block design. Photographer Toby Scott

The return of the breeze block

Breeze blocks are having a moment in the sun. Having been painfully hip in the architecture of the 1950s and 60s, they were used so extensively, in both houses and commercial buildings, that they became…
Lithograph, ‘Burning of the Garden Palace, Sydney’, Gibbs Shallard and Company, Sydney, 1882. Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney.

Lighting spotfires under a palace of colonial power

Sydney's Garden Palace, which burned to the ground in 1882, was a monument to empire's glory. Indigenous artist Jonathan Jones is now working on an epic exhibition that will explore this historical epoch from an Aboriginal perspective.
From its earliest days, the influx of outsiders created the distinctive urban character that has driven the development of Shanghai into a modern metropolis. Wenjie, Zhang/flickr

Shanghai, a modern metropolis born of a refugee crisis

From its earliest days as a haven for refugees, Shanghai developed a distinctive character and urban identity that have driven its emergence as one of the world's great metropolises.

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