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Thursday 18 April @ 6pm, University of Melbourne

Sep Yama / Finding Country is an idea. It is an aboriginal position on space in Australia.

The legal position of Terra Nullius was overturned in 1992, however its spatial derivatives, played out as surveyor’s pegs and speculative land holdings are still present today. This has unwittingly defined an Architecture of Intolerance in our built environment. Australian cities and towns laid out on blank canvases over 200 years. But the canvas is not blank, it is full of hundreds of aboriginal places individually referred to as Country

Architect Kevin O'Brien will explore this concept and his extraordinary Finding Country exhibition in a free public lecture at ABP this month. In 2012, the Finding Country exhibition was staged as an independent and official Collateral Event of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, addressing the theme 'Common Ground'.

Join Kevin, and fellow architect Michael Markham, to investigate and critique the exhibition which raises issues of the potency of space and spatial constructs.

Register Now


Dr. George Michell's series of lectures on Indian Architecture will take place on 23, 24 and 26 April.

International author and historian, Dr. Michell has made a prolific contribution to scholarship in India and is regarded as an expert in Indian architecture. An ABP graduate, he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree in the early 1970s and obrained a PhD in 1974 from the School of Oriental African Studies, University of London.

The April lectures will focus on the Temples of Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal, 6th to 8th Centuries, Hampi Capital or the Vijayanagara Emperors, 14th to 16th Centuries, and Sultanate Cities of Gulbarga, Bidar and Bijapul, 14th to 17th Centuries.

Make sure to register at the Australia India Institute website.


Sarah Lynn Rees (centre) graduated from the Bachelor of Environments in Architecture in 2012 and will join the small group of architecture graduates who identify as being aboriginal in Australia.

Sarah was, this week, awarded the Charlie Perkins Scholarship to undertake her MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Cambridge. The prestigious scholarship assists Indigenous Australians pursuing postgraduate study at Oxford and Cambridge universities. Sarah's academic excellence, drive and impressive design thesis proposal secured her a place at Cambridge.

Find out more


Altering the Future of Architecture

If architecture was more inclusive would it also be in a stronger position?

Parlour and the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning invite you to participate in a day of discussion and debate about gender, agency and remaking the profession on 30 May in Melbourne.

A dynamic line-up of people will be participating in Transform as speakers and panellists including Lori Brown, Shelley Penn, Naomi Stead, Karen Burns, Julie Willis, Rory Hyde, Ben Hewett, Virginia San Fratello and Elizabeth Watson Brown.

The full program has just been released. Limited places - register now.


To many of us Sir Peter Cook is the architect who brought us Archigram and iconic buildings such as the ‘long snake’ in Vienna and the Taiwan Tower for Taichung. To some he is eccentric, to others brilliant, but to a lucky few he was teacher.

Students at the Melbourne School of Design had the opportunity to participate in a life-changing masterclass with Sir. Peter Cook in February. The two week studio challenged students to propose solutions for the city’s planned underground metro lines to connect North Melbourne, Parkville and Domain Interchange. The studio ran in conjunction with the Victorian Department of Transport.

Read student Mikhail Rodrick's account of the masterclass and his time spent with Sir. Peter Cook. 


The first edition of Atrium for 2013 looks at the theme of design research and criticism and its impact on contemporary architectural practice. Alan Pert, Don Bates, Justine Clark, Gini Lee and Paul Walker, amongst others, have all contributed articles connected to the relationship between design ideas and output. Atrium #22 will be released on 6 May. You can also visit the ABP website to flick through the e-book version of Atrium.


We live in the built environment every day, yet often we don't stop to appreciate the marvellous spaces that surround us, or consider the planning and construction decisions that impact the way we live. With the help of ABP staff and supporters, we have compiled a visual rendering of the built environment through their eyes. From urban to rural, local to international, these images present a through-the-looking-glass view of our built world.

At the Lourve, Paris
Photo by Janette Le

St. Peter's Sq taken from Dome of St Peter's Bascillica
Photo by Janette Le

Brisbane CBD from GOMA
Photo by Sue Wilks

Photo by Timothy Chandler

Photo by Kim Dovey

Melbourne Laneway
Photo by Kim Dovey

Sydney Opera House
Photo by Shaun Prinsloo

Melbourne GPO
Photo by Shaun Prinsloo

Akwaaba Lodge
Large Cat Sanctuary
Photo by Dominique Hes

Sustainable Earthship, Taos
Photo by Dominique Hes

Lebone II College of the
Royal Bafokeng
Photo by Benjamin Scheelings

High Country Rail Trail
Sandy Creek Bridge
Photo by Warren Sellers


Keep your eyes peeled for more great built environment images on our twitter feed @msdsocial over the coming weeks. Why not share your impressions of the built environment by sending us your own images by email or simply tag us on twitter. Make sure to include where it is and why you felt compelled to capture it visually.


"My architecture education instilled in me a sense of the role of the architect as not only a designer of buildings but also a creative advocate for change and progress in the development of cities."

These are the words of Shannon Bufton, founder of Serk, a hybrid bike shop café in Bejing. Shannon is an advocate for bicycle culture and, through Serk, he provides a community meeting space and hub for cycling activities. Shannon is also co-founder of Smarter Than Car which promotes (bi)cycle urbanism.

While some of the locals haven't figured out quite what the strange shop in this narrow hutong (laneway) is, it has become a huge success amoung the cycling community.

Shannon wants to see more designers of urban space starting to think more about urban (re)development with a focus on the potentials of (bi)cycle urbanism. We caught up with Shannon to find out more.


Photo by David Ascoli

Chris Jensen – Lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning, University of Melbourne - reveals one of his favourite city buildings: East Melbourne Library (2006).

I can’t say for sure the East Melbourne Library is my favourite building in Melbourne, but it is my favourite stop on our bi-annual green buildings tour. Designed in-house by the City of Melbourne, it paves the way towards the City of Melbourne’s zero emissions by 2020 target.

It includes aesthetically pleasing overlapping roof shells and vastly over glazed north and south facades, which admittedly combine to provide even, natural daylight across the floorplate, and natural ventilation opportunities. It has the usual range of sustainability features, toilets flushed with rainwater, internal thermal mass, and natural or recycled materials throughout. But the cleverness in this design is the absence of a noisy air-based air-conditioning system – after all it is a library. Instead, an in-slab geothermal system quietly extracts or rejects heat into the ground below, and tempers the zone through radiant slab heating or cooling. I am not one to favour designs that choose mechanical efficiency over good passive design, but reducing energy use to 1/3 of a comparable library is a result that speaks for itself.

A decent PV installation and this library could achieve the City of Melbourne’s ambitious target.