Event Reviews 2012

Open Studio Tour - 26 October

With a widely varying array of studios, presentations and projects shown on the Open Studio Tour this year, the common thread throughout each of the six architectural practices was the effort and genuine excitement at giving us, the general public, a peek at what goes on behind closed doors (sliding, iroko timber of course) - and we were excited too!


AAA Twilight Walk - 31 October

On Wednesday 24th October, after attending my scheduled Architecture Practice Examination by Interview at NSW Architects Registration Board, I walked down to Circular Quay to support Michael MacCormick on the AAA's Twilight Walk, clear my mind from the stressful exam and take part in the Sydney Architecture Festival.  There was a great group of 10 people, including a young Scottish couple and his mum as tourists, a businessman, two planners and three architects, all very eager to find out more about our CBD and it’s building.


Inter-action at Customs House

Vitrual_Warrane_II_Image_3_2Virtual Warrane II by Brett Leavy

Located on the ground floor of the Customs House, Virtual Warrane II is a brilliant three-dimensional interactive experience of Sydney Harbour’s landscape then and now.


DARCH Photography Competition - 3 November 2012

The 2012 EmAGN Sydney Photographic Competition followed the success of the inaugural event in 2011, and this time extended to parallel events in both Adelaide and Perth - an opportunity for the state EmAGN groups to collaborate and for emerging architects across the country to think about the same issues on the same day.  The premise of the day was that architects see the city a bit differently.  The aim was to provide an opportunity for our demographic to engage with the city and to exhibit their work in the public domain in order to stimulate discourse about our city and how we see it. 


Architecture on Show with Anne Warr - 30 October

Anne Warr gave a talk on architecture in Shanghai at Chatswood Library as part of Sydney Architecture Festival’s series of Architecture on Show talks, held in conjunction with Chatswood Library’s weekly author talks.

Anne Warr lived in Shanghai between 2003 and 2009 - arriving knowing next to nothing about Shanghai, she became fascinated by the city and its history.  Her talk gave insight into the complexities, paradoxes and intrigues that Shanghai is built upon, and was not limited in subject to architecture; it was rich in description of the stories and people of Shanghai.

Anne drew upon a wealth of experience to deliver the talk, having worked as an architect in Shanghai and having taught architecture at Tongji University, Shanghai and, moreover, having written a book on the architecture of Shanghai  (‘’Shanghai Architecture’’, published by Watermark Press, 2007).  She introduced us to a variety of interesting historical personalities who had lived in Shanghai, with a focus on women expats such as Agnes Smedley and Emily Hahn, and showed snapshots of Shanghai architecture, from her own renovated lane house in the French Concession, to small gems of modern architecture such the Trayton Office, designed by Jan Utzon (son of Jørn Utzon).

The presentation conveyed Anne’s passion for architecture in Shanghai, and her enthusiasm for the personalities she had discovered whilst researching the history of the city.


Reviewed by Festival volunteer Alexandra Moore


Short + Sharp at The Crypt - 2 November

DSC_7127_72dpi‘Short and Sharp’ at The Crypt provided the perfect location and format to view the work of the eight 2012 Byera Hadley Travelling Scholars in the student category.  Unlike years previous, the 2012 Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarships student recipients all travelled to Venice for the Architecture Biennale.  This year’s Biennale theme was ‘Common Ground’; each pavilion an interpretation of this in diverse ways.  Similarly, the students discovered distinct interpretations of their own, some choosing not to focus on the theme at all, having other things to say about their journey and experiences.


Sydney Open 2012

Today is the final day of the Sydney Architecture Festival 2012 and,  although I am excited about gaining access to some of Sydney´s architecture delights, I am aware that this is the ultimate day in what has been an excellent busy two weeks of well planned events.  During our bus journey into the CBD we open the technicolor map and schedule our plan of attack.  Sydney CBD is as buzzing and vibrant as mid week rush hour and yet, confusingly, this is a Sunday morning.  Cues of eager spectators noisily line up outside participating building, down the road and around the corner in some cases.  Some of the faces around us are faces I´ve seen over the past two week´s festivities.  It´s wonderful to see the varied cross section of people not just architectural students, interior specialists, architectural professionals past and present but a huge amount of people with a simple fascination to explore and just get involved.  Let’s face it, most of us pass these buildings every day, we become blasé of their presence and, for most of us, they are mere concrete and glass most of the time.  Yet for one magical day every two years they become available, tangible and open and we are allowed to leisurely witness the grandeur of their interiors.


Architecture on Show at Penrith - 25 October

nick m 1The talk held at Penrith Library was attended by approximately 20 members of public and gave an overview on the role an architect has in refurbishment and renovation projects presented by local architect Nick Simitzis.

The talk outlined the advantages of appointing an architect and how this could add value to small-scale domestic projects, through bespoke innovative design solutions suited to the local vernacular; rather than a ‘project home’ approach to architectural design.

Some interesting issues were raised during the talk, and some discussion was held in relation to the perceived cost of architects' services.  Nick also talked-through two examples of home renovations ranging in scale (and budget) and how thorough consideration of local environmental factors can add benefit to the success of a scheme.

Constructive debate closed the session with key questions on whether it is advisable to appoint a local architect (who has knowledge of local planning policies) through to generic “when do we pay the builder/consultants for their services”.



Review by Festival volunteers Colin Briggs, Tanya Awadallah and Pouyan Madanipour


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