2019 Regional Conference & Country Awards Night

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Bangalow A&I Hall

Station Street

Bangalow, New South Wales 2479


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Always was, always will be.

Architects are taught how to analyse a site and understand place. We all do this on some level, but from whose perspective? Are we seeing the real country, or just an Anglo-European interpretation?

Australia is the oldest landmass on earth. This unique land of low nutrient and eroded timelessness required adaptations to survive the harshness of our droughts and flooding rains, our wide open spaces and thick bushland. Our first peoples specialised in how to live with the land to sustain life and prosper. Their sophisticated social and cultural structures and cleverness lived with this Country for more than 60,000 years.

The Australian Institute of Architects' 2019 NSW Regional Conference will be looking to develop a deeper understanding of Country. This is not possible without architects and architecture beginning an authentic engagement on reconciliation with our first peoples. Always was, always will be will ask a diverse range of speakers to lead the audience to a broader and deeper understanding of the cultural, historical, environmental and political perspectives of the Country in which we live and seek to build on.

The final day of the conference will be spent at CHROFI project Lune de Sang, where we hope to connect the pieces of the process to arrive at new and better ways of thinking about our relationship to Country and how our architecture responds to it. Andy and Deirdre Plummer will share with us their rebuilding of a rainforest, while John Choi of CHROFI will guide us through the architecture created to support the vision.

Design: 1.7; 2.1; 2.2; 3.3; 4.2; 4.3 Practice Management: 8.9; 9.6

We will have the rare opportunity to hear from speakers including:

  • Sue Dugdale – Principal, Sue Dugdale and Associates (Alice Springs)

  • Dillon Kombumerri – Principal Architect, Government Architect NSW

  • Michael Mossman – Senior Lecturer, The University of Sydney, author of Architecture and the Third Space

  • Dr Jennifer Biddle – Senior Research Fellow and ARC Future Fellow, UNSW

  • Callantha Brigham – NSW Reconciliation Committee of the Australian Institute of Architects

Further speakers TBC – watch this space!

Creative Directors

About our speakers

Dr Jennifer Biddle

Jennifer Biddle is an anthropologist of Aboriginal art, language, emotion and culture. Her interdisciplinary research and writing spans theories of embodiment, sensory formations and radical cultural aesthetics; narrative, trauma, memory and predicaments of occupation; language and poetics, translation, experimental ethnographic writing, anthropology and literature; intercultural ontologies, ‘glocal’ formations, frontier and post-colonialism.

Jennifer Biddle has conducted fieldwork with Warlpiri and other Central and Western Desert communities in Central Australia for over twenty years, with a distinguished track record in ethnographic and collaborative research. Her ‘breasts, bodies canvas: Central Desert Art as Experience’ modelled a ‘feminisation of the Dreaming’ in the Papunya Tula Aboriginal art movement. Her current ARC Future Fellowship identifies how experimentation is enabling Aboriginal art and artists to communicate directly with global audiences and markets, forthcoming with Duke University Press (2015) Remote Avant-garde: Aboriginal Art under Occupation.

Dillon Kombumerri

Dillon Kombumerri is the Principle Architect for the Government Architect NSW. Originally from Queensland, he grew up on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerriba) and is a Yugembir descendent from the Gold Coast.

He is a strategic design thinker and social conciliator with a passion for projects that seek to improve the health, well-being and prosperity of Indigenous communities.

With over 25 years of experience in architectural practice he brings his own unique indigenous perspective to re-imagining the built environment.

During this time Dillon has also been teaching and lecturing globally in many forums to shine a light on the hidden value of indigenous knowledge and how it can positively influence private and public agencies to deliver better outcomes for the built and natural environment.

Sue Dugdale

Sue Dugdale has a personal passion for discovering and developing a unique regional identity based on the particular culture, climate and geography of central Australia. The practice evolves this broader project with each commission undertaken, by embedding stories in design; manipulation of water and light; landscape design and creating a particular sense of place; and through design of form, and selection of materials and colour.

Sue’s practice provides creative design and responsive project management on urban and remote projects including commercial, residential and institutional projects along with projects for Indigenous communities and organisations.

The practice carefully considers the cultural and economic context of each client and project. This philosophy extends to all 'cultures', including Indigenous clients and communities, youth and aged groups, and the corporate culture of particular organizations. The practice engages with artists where possible and develops opportunities for local employment on projects, with some very positive outcomes. The practice believes culturally appropriate design has positive repercussions beyond the provision of functional facilities and aims to affirm and enrich individual and community life through their work.

Michael Mossman

Michael Mossman is a Lecturer, PhD Candidate and Researcher at the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney. He is a trained architect with over 15 years of professional practice engagement. His architectural design expertise relating to Aboriginal community-focused outcomes provides a basis for his unique perspectives to be applied to the designed environment.

Michael’s research 'Aboriginal narratives in the created environment through spaces of engagement', investigates the influential and enriching role Aboriginal narratives play in the architectural design process. The research explores perceptions of the designed environment through community-focused Aboriginal research frameworks when engaging and collaborating with broader non-Aboriginal contexts.

His previous position at the NSW Government Architect's Office focused on the inception, planning, design and delivery of architectural projects. Projects ranged from Indigenous specific community hubs to large scale projects such as new schools.

Callantha Brigham

Callantha Brigham is an architect with experience across architecture, urban design and project management. She has had a range of public sector roles at NSW Public Works, the Government Architect NSW and City of Parramatta Council.

Her current role involves managing a team to deliver large scale strategic projects and advocating for positive outcomes on complex projects delivered by others. Central interests are the realisation of high quality public projects, collaborative multidisciplinary processes, community engagement, and contributing towards areas of social injustice or inequity. Callantha has pursued these interests through a Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship, a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and an ongoing commitment to public projects.

She is a member of the Institute’s Reconciliation Committee, was a co-founder of the NSW Gender Equity Taskforce, editorial member and contributor to Architecture Bulletin (2011-2015), currently sits on NSW Chapter Council and has participated in award juries, AIA committees, guest crits and lectures at universities.

Andy and Deirdre Plummer

Andy and Dierdre Plummer are owners of the 113 hectare Lune de Sang estate in Federal in the Byron hinterland. Lune de Sang is located within the Big Scrub, which was once a subtropical lowland rainforest covering approximately 90,000 hectares. The area has been commercially exploited since the 1840’s by first, the timber and then the dairy industries. Now, only around 300 hectares of its original rainforest exists as isolated remnants.

Andy and Deirdre Plummer acquired the first of the Lune de Sang properties in 2007. Since then, a further 6 properties have been purchased. The plantation was started in 2008. It contains some 50 species of valuable and important trees which are endemic to the Big Scrub such as Red Cedar, White Booyong, Silver Ash, Teak, Rosewood and Quandong.

The Lune de Sang plantation is designed to be a long-term, sustainable operation that will function over many years. As mature trees are harvested, new trees are planted. Approximately 100,000 trees have been planted thus far and a further 40,000 trees will be planted over the next 3 years. Wood that has been harvested from these trees will eventually be used to make fine furniture, flooring and panelling. As well as the plantation itself, significant riparian rehabilitation and maintenance has been carried out on around 2.5 kilometres of stream frontage.

John Choi

John Choi is founding partner of CHROFI. Established in 2000, the practice is internationally recognised for its competition winning design of TKTS booth at the centre of Times Square in New York. CHROFI is the architect for Lune de Sang, a former dairy farm in Federal NSW which is now the centre of an ambitious project to regenerate subtropical rainforest. To date six structures have been designed and built on the site.

The design of the buildings is a result of a close collaborative relationship with the client and a collective understanding of the site, landscape and time. The rainforest timber’s unhurried growth has influenced the approach for inserting architecture in the site with all the buildings being designed to respond to the notion of a 300 year lifecycle. The structures are endowed with a sense of permanence. They have been conceived as ruins in the landscape; ancient concrete and stone structures that have been unearthed and retrofitted for comfortable habitation with crisp glass and steel details.

John is Adjunct Professor of Architecture at University of Sydney, member of Sydney Olympic Park Authority Design Review Panel and serves on the board of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

Please note: formal CPD points for this event are yet to be confirmed

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Bangalow A&I Hall

Station Street

Bangalow, New South Wales 2479


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