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Pedagogy and Practice in June RIBA Journal


Fred Sturgis’ lovely self portrait from today’s Guardian Weekend magazine at Starfall Farm

2 radically different structures on adjacent waterways that bookended my day – the first, a lightweight fishing platform seen at high tide on the Hawkesbury River as I was running along its banks at sunrise; the second obviously the harbour bridge seen as I drove over in the evening… Think I prefer the fragile, simple and elegant beauty of the first…

Just had this sent to me by the guys on site – finally some roof panels going on

You forget just how beautiful it is close up… sure, we all know the stories around the Opera House – how badly Utzon was treated by the NSW government, how fantastic the building is from the water and the city, how it’s become the template for how an iconic building can act as a catalyst for change for a burgeoning city… and in a sense it’s the kind of building one is often immune to. But, some years after I lived with the building every day, I’m struck now by just how viscerally thrilling the Opera House is close up, both inside and out

Fantastic light going up the river at sunrise this morning – a sea mist being burnt off visibly as we went through it in the tinny

Great meeting with Glenn Murcutt yesterday at his house in Mosman who was, as ever, incredibly illuminating on so many things from revisiting the principles Bingie Point (Magney) House, to timber shrinkage at (now his) Marie Short House, to the Pritzker Jury on which he now sits…. on how he won’t do any more talks, travel or teaching, on his mosque in Victoria, on the Broken Hill Opal and Mining Museum, on his time in England in the 60’s, on my mother’s old boyfriends in Australia in the 50s and 60s, on the specifics of Sydney’s climate, on the Berowra Waters Inn (which I visited by boat the day before), on Ghost Lab, Rural Studio and Studio in the Woods… and of course, the death of his son Nick earlier this year. What a guy…

Staying on the Hawkesbury just north of Sydney for 6 weeks in a water access only house – like many other people up here who live without car access. Here, it’s just taken for granted and not questioned or thought of as odd – in the UK, at Moonshine, we are constantly bombarded with incredulous comments about not being able to drive to the house…  In this landscape – the Hawkesbury – there is a thriving self build community, and whilst individually they are nothing special, what is interesting is just how sensitive they are to the bushland in which they sit – absolutely no cut and fill, ever; no trees cut down, ever – and thus this landscape appears to be able to take development. In the UK, unquestionably, virgin sites are ruined whenever people build – seemingly, not here.

Induction Studio – cnc’d, labelled and in process of assembly

As Stephen Fry said in the Guardian today about Steve Jobs:

“The standards he set, the passionate belief he had in the way that technology, the arts, design, fun, elegance and delight could all co-exist, the eternal pushing for higher standards, the refusal to accept standard paradigms in anything, either the conventional modus operandi of corporate affairs, technological matters or market practices was an example from which the world will continue to learn.”

Puts in to perspective how we all (architects) continue, by and large, to peddle the same old bollocks… How many of us can really claim to shift paradigms?

Me neither…

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