Architects Get Set For Non-conformist Internationals

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19th November 2009, 12:55pm - Views: 749

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Thursday 19 November 2009

Architects get set for non-conformist


A line up of international guests in the habit of turning convention on its

head is confirmed for Australia’s 2010 architecture conference.

The list of confirmed international speakers for Creative Director Melanie Dodd's

provocative conference program, extra/ordinary, include:

Alejandro Aravena (Elemental S.A.) - Chile

Tom Bloxham (Urban Splash) - UK

Teddy Cruz (Estudio Teddy Cruz) - USA

Jeremy Edmiston (SYSTEMarchitects) - USA

Liza Fior (muf architecture/art) - UK

Sean Griffiths (FAT: fashion, architecture, taste) - UK

Francis Diebedo Kéré (Kéré Architecture) - Germany

Ms Dodd says that a key theme guiding the shape of her program and guest list is the

idea that constraints provide opportunity.

“Several of the practices represented on the international guest list emerged during

the mid-'90s recession, at a time when other established firms were cutting back. This

is no coincidence; firms like muf and FAT work collaboratively in a socially engaged

art practice, and neither has been afraid to be irreverent and to experiment,” said Ms


The inventive creation and use of space or place as a solution to social and political

problems is another of Dodd’s conference themes. Urban Splash is a British company

of property developers, not architects, who regenerate decaying industrial sites into

modern housing and sustainable communities. 

Architecture professionals rising to challenges and resolving ordinary problems in

extraordinary ways is Dodd’s promise to conference-goers. 

“Architects are rejecting the detached gaze, rolling their sleeves up and fighting

back. Innovative, groundbreaking and profoundly useful solutions are resulting from

enforcing or stimulating collaborations with others," said Ms Dodd.

Ms Dodd has secured guests who are inventing their own projects and systems of

operating: they don't wait for conventional clients, commissions or budget but

instead see opportunity or necessity as their client. A complementary list of Australian

architects speaking at the conference will be released shortly.  

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The extra/ordinary national architecture conference will be presented by the

Australian Institute of Architects in Sydney, 22-24 April 2010.

Media Backgrounder (International Guests) follows:

MEDIA BACKGROUNDER: International guests

extra/ordinary 2010 National Architecture Conference | April 22-24, Sydney

Alejandro Aravena, Elemental S.A. (Chile) -

Honoured with the Silver Lion for a Promising Young Architect at the 2008 Venice Biennale

of Architecture, Elemental is renowned for its “expert architectural intelligence applied to

the context of low cost housing”.

Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash (Manchester) -

Bloxham co-founded Urban Splash in 1993, which initially converted redundant properties,

mainly formerly industrial buildings, in the north-west England into affordable city centre

residential loft apartments. The company has established a reputation for taking on

difficult sites and projects that other developers will not touch. Urban Splash has won in

excess of 100 awards for design, architecture and urban renewal. 

Teddy Cruz, Estudio Teddy Cruz (San Diego) -

Cruz is a Californian architect who won the 2004-2005 James Stirling prize for Border

Postcard: chronicles from the edge, a project exploring new urban strategies for the

international border zone spanning San Diego and Tijuana. He has designed new mixed-

use developments that reuse and adapt existing structures and recycled materials.

Estudio’s projects primarily engage the micro scale of neighbourhoods, transforming them

into the urban laboratory of the 21st century.

Jeremy Edmiston, SYSTEMarchitects (New York) -

Originally from Sydney, Edmiston moved to the US after winning the Fulbright, Harkness

and Byera Hadley scholarships all in the same year. His practice is based in re-evaluating

the relationship between the built and natural environments. Edmiston's newest project is

BURST*, a kit home which establishes a whole new paradigm for environmental residential


Liza Fior, muf architecture/art (London) -

The outspoken Fior is one of three directors of muf, an all-female collaborative of artists,

architects and urban designers committed to public realm projects. Muf’s practice

philosophy is driven by an ambition to realise the potential pleasures that exist at the

intersection between the lived and the built.

Sean Griffiths, FAT: fashion, architecture, taste (London) -

Fat is a London-based an art-architecture collaborative practice established by Griffiths

with Charles Holland and Sam Jacob in 1995. Theirs is an architecture that is progressive,

radical, and, most importantly, liked.  FAT has developed a reputation for making buildings

that are memorable, engaging, and responsive to contemporary culture, and which

challenge notions of acceptable taste.

Francis Diebedo Kéré, Kéré Architecture (Berlin) -

Kéré is an inspiring architect from Burkina Faso based in Berlin. As a student in Germany he

founded the Schulbausteine für Gando association, creating buildings that meet climatic

demands and support Burkina Faso's inhabitants in their development. His first building, a

village school in his home town, was honoured with the 2004 Aga Khan Award for


More information:


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The Institute thanks its conference sponsors, principal corporate partner BlueScope

Steel; supporting corporate partners Lockwood, Dulux, Virgin Atlantic, Autodesk,

Kingspan and Architectural Window Systems; and event sponsors Form & Function,

Viridian and Knauf.

Australian Institute of Architects | Media Unit

Ms Trish Croaker 

mobile - 0408 756 163

Ms Kirsten Trengove

mobile - 0439 555 427

The Australian Institute of Architects is the peak body for the architectural profession, representing more than 9500

members across Australia and overseas.  The Institute actively works to improve the quality of our built environment

by promoting quality, responsible and sustainable design. Visit the Institute at .

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