ARC FT120100883
Understanding the Lessons of Australia's Gold Coast through the Late-20th Century Debate on Criticality and Instrumentality in Architecture (2012-2016)

Professor Andrew Leach

Architectural debate of the late 20th century contended with the diminishing status of architectural ideas in the city, the complex context in which the architect has traditionally worked and thought. The Gold Coast offers a clear illustration of this problem, paradigmatic despite its idiosyncrasies. Although the Gold Coast grew rapidly since the '60s, neither architectural theory nor the 20th century idea of the 'project' figured among the forces shaping it. Two major books will result: from researching this situation, an architectural history of a city that appears to set architecture aside; and another offering an intellectual history of architectural theory since the '60s as a field of ideas proven superfluous to this contemporary city.

ARC DP130103849
From alchemist's den to science city: architecture and the expression of experimental science (2013-2016)

Professor Sandra Kaji-O'Grady and Associate Professor Chris L. Smith

This project explores the precise and nuanced ways in which architecture configures, influences and expresses the ideas and ideals of contemporary experimental science. This project has been significant in establishing a novel methodology that combines critical and theoretical tools and three dimensional graphic analyses for the exploration of the architecture of the biomedical sciences.

2017 Nancy Keesing Fellowship
Aquarian Green: Building new ways of living in the 1970s counterculture

Associate Professor Lee Stickells

The 1960s and 1970s counterculture proposed revolutionary and alternative ways to live, work and love – and equally radical spaces in which to do that. Northern New South Wales was a crucible for the Australian counterculture and became fertile terrain for its experimental architectures. Beyond shelter, building was a means to also materialise ideals of communal living, ecological harmony, independence from the state, individual creative expression, and alternative economies. Significant within this activity was experimentation that prefigured contemporary concepts of sustainable design and living. An everyday environmentalism developed through rethinking how to live. Approaches included designing with appropriate technologies, for self-sufficiency, and for low environmental impact. This project will draw on the unique resources of the State Library to explore interactions between architecture and the counterculture. It will particularly highlight ways that alternative communities in Northern NSW forged new spatial vocabularies for sustainable living during the 1970s. The project will extend and enrich historical understanding of the Australian counterculture. It will also reflect on experiments that still resonate as climate change and global urbanisation prompt an increasingly urgent rethinking of how we shape our environment, both collectively and individually.