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    Design briefs: The new 'Ask an Architect' service, art and more

    Deborah Singerman

    “Whether you’re building a new home or developing an existing one, working with an architect is your best chance of bringing your dreams to life,” so says the new shopfront for Ask An Architect from the Australian Institute of Architects.

    Delivered through wholly owned subsidiary business Archicentre, the site and service aims to increase public awareness of the value of architects asking the Why, When, What, How and Who of choosing to work with them. Tips, fact sheets, tools and videos focus on the residential consumer market and this all seems to fit in with mainstream media increasingly honing in on good design (and will this ever become synonymous with affordable housing?).


    So our voice is getting out and we hope it is being heard. Certainly it will resonate within the professional community with AusIndoArch: Tropfix, the first conference of its kind as the AIA brings together architects and “industry insiders and specialists” as they put it from Australia and Indonesia in Darwin (November 7-8). 

    Creative director Andrea Nield has programmed to have discussions on mass tourism, working with local communities, eco-tourism versus multinational hotels, resource and work security, remote or dense locations, the role of architecture and design in reducing social inequality all leading to social progress and healthier cities in the tropics.

    Art in architecture

    Spreading the word also are the wonderful Art Series hotels. Their latest local art is in the Watson in Walkerville, Adelaide, with indigenous art works from Pitjant-jatjara leader Yannima Pirkarli Tommy Watson, opening in September. 

    Above pictured: The Watson hotel, (right) the artist Tommy Watson. Image source: Art Series Hotels

    Melbourne’s new Larwill studio Art Series hotel has a medley of breezy paintings from David Larwill (pictured below).

    Artbank, a government agency that acts as a lending library for contemporary Australian art, now has a bricks and mortar presence, in a newly converted heritage building in Waterloo, Sydney. Founded in 1980, it has a collection of 10,000 paintings and sculptures regularly on loan to public and private sectors.


    And to one of my favourite events, the Art & About Friday First Night Live artists’ market at the NSW State Library. A one night event only, more’s the shame, and among the inventive array of craft, homewares and jewellery, there are always some architectural links. Supertrooper Studio’s Superplaces collection of cheerful tea-towels, cushion covers and posters is of cities, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, New York, London and Strandhill on the West Coast of Ireland. Stockholm is next in line to join the 12 already there ( Detailed metal and leather accessories unapologetically for the “modern style-conscious man” are from Clare Ho, a registered architect, who now has this other precision-calling (

    Image: Super Trooper Studio


    Deborah Singerman is a Sydney-based journalist and editor, specialising in architecture and design, including city, community, society, economy, sustainability and culture.

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