Exhibition Space for Architecture (Surry Hills)

When I was in Sydney last, I had lunch with my friend and fellow Churchill Fellow Adam Haddow. I think everyone knows Adam, but just in case you don’t, he’s a principal director at SJB and founder of The Architects Bookshop in Crown Street.

He told me about his plan for a dedicated architecture exhibition space, and asked if I’d help. Definitely! I said.

Adam Haddow.jpg

Adam wants the profession to fund this great initiative, and he put out this request for support a few weeks ago. He asked recipients to spread the word, so here goes:

Dear Friends

Since opening The Architect's Bookshop we have been hankering to do something more to raise the profile of the built environment in our city. The bookshop has been a good first step - we've been able to host events and have created a space to get everyone together. At the same time the shop has provided an opportunity for the general public to engage in all things built environment - but we'd love to do be doing more! We would love for design and architecture to become more essential in the discussions about our city.

To this end we believe it is critical that a space exists to discuss the role architecture plays in creating a fair, dynamic and intriguing city. Too often the intellectual and financial effort architects invest in competitions, research, proposition and built outcomes remain unseen. So, we have decided to do something about it!

We are creating a dedicated space to exhibit architecture in Sydney. We want to unite practice and academia for the benefit of the profession and community. We want this exhibition space to be a place where ideas about our city are communicated and are accessible to the public. Our principle objective is to make exhibitions available that will engage and expose the public to a broader understanding of architecture

It is our ambition to open a permanent exhibition space above the Architect’s Bookshop, at 499 Crown Street Surry Hills. It will bededicated to exhibiting architecture and will open late in 2019.

The Exhibition Space for Architecture (E.S.A.) will host up to twelve month-long exhibitions yearly with each exhibition uniquely curated. Curators will be from the profession and will be appointed by the E.S.A. advisory panel. Exhibitions will be free and open to the public 7 days a week. Exhibitions will cover topics such as:

· Competition entries

· Retrospectives

· Propositions

· Research

It is our intent that E.S.A. will be set up as a not-for-profit organisation and for this structure to direct the day to day activities. It should be noted that we will not have the status of a Deductible Gift Recipient as defined by the ATO.

We believe that the funding of the E.S.A. should come from the profession – not from Suppliers or Developers. It is important that as a profession we fund the exhibition space and control the narrative. To this end we are asking for foundation donations. As a guide we are hoping for the following:

$ 2,500 Small Practice

$ 5,000 Medium Practice

$10,000 Large Practice

$ any amount Individual contribution

We are aiming to source funding to facilitate a small fit out & provide operational costs for 2 years. It is our aim is to run E.S.A. for a minimum of 2 years, to show the energy from the profession in pursing such an initiative and the interest from the public to visit and engage. This will enable us to build a business case for a permanent public institution after the 2 year trial.

To register your support and/or financial contribution to E.S.A. please email me at adam@thearchitectsbookshop.com.au Excitedly, Hannah Tribe, of Tribe Studio has pledged the first donation - $2500! Thanks Hannah.

We would ask that you pass this email and the attachment onto every architect you know! We need all the help we can get. I hope you will help us make this happen

With Thanks,


Sounds Like Design is all about making architecture more accessible to the public, so we’ll be dipping into the coffers to donate to this worthy cause (as we did when the AAA was established - RB was a Founding Partner and chaired the voluntary tour guide group)

Hopefully you can get behind it as well? Email Adam to pledge your support!

Reframing design for a mass-market television audience

A few weeks ago I mentioned a new TV show about home design that has the potential to be a game-changer for the way residential architecture is discussed in Australia.

Host Josh Byrne and the renovate and rebuild teams

Host Josh Byrne and the renovate and rebuild teams

It’s called Renovate or Rebuild, and there is a pilot you can watch on YouTube.

It arose from a project by the CRC for Low Carbon Living and NSW Office of Environment & Heritage project (supported by social science and energy ratings from CSIRO). They engaged BlueTribe Co to come up with a way to popularise sustainability messaging, and Blue Tribe Co proposed a reality TV program, in conjunction with Fremantle Media.

BlueTribe Co MD James McGregor told me that even though architects were not visible in the pilot, they were working behind the scenes on both the renovate or rebuild scenarios.

“Both designs were done by a local architecture firm, Anderson Architecture. We have posted the floor plans on the website with their details.” James said.

“The original plan was to show the teams working with the architect to develop the designs, but we just didn’t have the minutes available in a 30 min segment,” he added. “This is part of the reason we will move to a 1 hour format (actually 46min for commercial tv) - feedback has been pretty consistent that people want more detail on key decisions, budget trade offs etc - exactly the reason we produced a pilot episode first!”

The pilot will be turned into a series for broadcast later this year. The difference between this and other shows is that it presents sustainability and architectural design messages in terms of comfort, health and efficiency.


It’s reframing how we talk about these important concepts in line with behavioural science evidence, which shows that: “67% of consumers are interested in purchasing homes that are energy efficient, but home-owners don’t know how to navigate all the options,” according to Dr Josh Byrne, the show’s host and CRCLCL researcher.

“Key findings from the CRCLCL’s social research show that sustainability needs to be communicated in a mainstream way for it to be effective,” Josh said. “Our goal with this pilot is to demystify the process of building or renovating an energy efficient home by communicating it in an engaging and entertaining format.”

The show explains how options like correct building orientation, access to natural light, cross ventilation, energy efficiency and solar power can help create a healthy, comfortable and affordable homes.

OEH Director of Sustainability Programs, Mick O'Flynn said: "This is an exciting opportunity to explore a new approach in our role as a catalyst for change. Renovate or Rebuild promotes positive energy homes which reduce energy bills and improve health and wellbeing. Collaborations between industry, academia and government like this project are key to achieving our objective of net zero emissions by 2050."

There is plenty of rich material behind this project for architects who want to engage with consumers about the benefits and value of design, and I’ll add some research findings to The Value Proposition shortly, or visit the CRCLCL.

Homeowners who are interested in appearing in series one can apply here: http://renovateorrebuild.com.au/application2019/


I’m super-excited about the possibilities this program opens up, and applaud the key players for their out-of-the-box thinking on how to make sustainability a mass-market aspiration. Change is coming!

Is your architecture practice ready to be a part of it?

What are you doing to make the world a better place?


We’re not afraid to ask the hard questions at The Drill. And this week, those questions centre on greenhouse gas emissions and taking decisive action to combat climate change, in the face of government inaction.

This morning I interviewed an architect for a story, and she described how she aims to design buildings - including houses - that are efficient, affordable and sustainable, and also adaptable, joyful spaces for living.

She told me that the house we were discussing for an upcoming article: “squarely challenges the Australian housing myth that perpetuates models of flabby, unsustainable McMansions and demonstrates that sustainable architecture is Affordable.”

I’m always excited to hear architects talking about how their work challenges the status quo, disrupts the current market place, and seeks to influence conversations beyond their own clients and practices.

I believe that Architects have a responsibility to become stewards for the built environment.

One way Architects can do this is to participate in conversations in public forums to promote the value of good design. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all good places to spread this message. On this topic, I was asked this week: ‘What’s the difference between a LinkedIn post and a LinkedIn Article?’, which is a great question, especially if you’re trying to establish yourself as a Trusted Advisor.

A LinkedIn Post is like a status update - it’s a short message, with people links and hashtags, to express your opinion or share an announcement. An Article is similar to a blog post, and should be longer (at least 300 words, up to 2000 if your topic is compelling); it also has a headline, an intro description, an image and has no tags or people links.

I discovered that the best day to post Articles is a Thursday, and so I suggest you try and establish a weekly schedule for new content, and then promote your Articles in a Post on LinkedIn or Twitter - to drive traffic and engagement - on the following Monday or Tuesday. You may also choose to upload your Article to your own website / blog.

Here’s some more info about the two different types of LinkedIn content, and how to use the:, www.impactbnd.com/blog/6-expert-tips-for-building-your-2019-linkedin-marketing-strategy.

And if you need help with how to apply comms strategy to architecture practice, that’s our speciality!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Communicating the Value of Architecture

Tomorrow, I’m giving a webinar to architects, about how to create a comms masterplan and campaigns. It’s the culmination of months of work and preparation, and I’m really looking forward to it.

If you’d like to watch the webinar after the event, you can visit the ACA’s website to purchase access. And if you’d like to download the handouts so you can work on your own practice comms, just click on the image.

Also, please subscribe to The Drill, our weekly roundup newsletter (just drop your details in the box on the right).

Lastly, please get in touch with any feedback, or if you’d like help refining your practice comms.