Friday, January 28, 2011


It was raining in Melbourne when we arrived and rained so much over the next few days it caused flooding in southern parts and the Great Ocean Road was temporarily closed due to landslides. Luckily all this did not affect us apart from getting us a bit wet. Federation square is a great new central meeting space (well not that new). You can sit outside eating your sandwiches while watching the news on the big screen (in our case flood warnings for Queensland). We watched a live 20-20 cricket match at the MCG which was very exciting with England creeping up on Australia but we lost out in the end, but all the way through, we could have just done it, so it was a good match to watch. Melbourne is a very pretty place and there are lots of English colonial buildings everywhere, so it kind of felt like being at home but oddly different. It is a very livable city, with a lot going on and you can get around by tram and bicycle. It also has a 3.8km running track around the botanical gardens - perfect!

Melbourne is where I met David Week, an architect who has had some fascinating experiences and who designed and implemented my case study in Papua New Guinea. He has a very interesting viewpoint on how we, in the West, approach working in cultures different to our own. This is something we are increasingly doing and a measure of our success in doing so is how well we can open up to 'the other' as David terms it. Having read David's thesis and interviewed him, I think we can learn a lot from someone who really listens to and absorbs the cultures of the people for whom he is designing. This results in a rich piece of architecture and a process in which culture is not forgotten, but embraced.

One example talked about in his thesis portrays a situation in PNG where he has asked the carpenters to turn the timbers around so the timber marks do not show in the room. When returning, he found they had done the opposite. He discovered that it is only Western ideas that see the unmarked timber as more beautiful. In PNG the marked timber holds some interest.

Colonial buildings

Old English Colonial architecture

Federation square by architects Lab Architecture and Bates Smart

Nice mix of old and new, brown and grey

More Fed Square, nice English weather

The Yarra river

Trams and Flinders st station in the distance

The Victoria Markets which are open late on Wednesday nights for food, booze and live music


Nice old arcade

Inside the Atrium at Fed Square

Watching England vs Australia

More cricket

Me and Errol st close to where our hotel was, interesting colonial buildings behind

Brunswick st is famous for alternative shops and interesting architecture, we had some delicious Vietnamese food here

The city

The Royal Botanical Gardens, lovely on a hot day

The view from our window

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