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Museum, Gallery and Cultural Architecture in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Region: Essays in Antipodean Identity Hardcover – 4 Oct 2007


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Review

"There is, in fact, a hint of mild amusement amongst the architects of the Antipodes that the world has discovered that their other is so interesting. There is a reassurance that maybe the real truth is being 'dug with the other foot'. Irish poet Seamus Heaney speaks of his writing as "digging with the pen" and the essays that follow are turning over the sods of the cultural soil of Antipodean architecture in a way that may reveal new comprehensions, comprehensions beyond the scale of the domestic." - Professor Lindsay Johnston Head of the School of Architecture and Planning The University of Auckland "The depth and breadth of the authors' writings reflects the multi-valence of a region that defies generalization. Through their attention to buildings and their attendant theoretical concerns, each author opens our eyes to another facet of this vast region of the world, revealing more of its rich cultural and intellectual heritage as the volume unfolds." - Dr. Mark A. Reynolds Instructor in Geometry Academy of Art University "This book, edited by Michael J. Ostwald and Steven Fleming, is a much-needed and engaging collection of essays from a group of pre-eminent Australasian architectural writers and thinkers." - Dr. Sarah Treadwell Deputy Head of School University of Auckland"

About the Author

Dr. Michael J. Ostwald is Professor and Dean of Architecture at The University of Newcastle, Australia. He is also a Visiting Professor at RMIT University in Melbourne and a Professorial Research Fellow at Victorian University Wellington in New Zealand. Dr. Steven Fleming lectures in the history and theory of architecture at The University of Newcastle, Australia. His scholarly publications cover a wide range of architectural concerns, including sacred architecture, the Neoplatonic tradition and the work of Louis I. Kahn.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9020e108) out of 5 stars 1 review
HASH(0x9183c570) out of 5 stars Marsupial Structures 23 July 2007
By Martin Morrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In this era of google image searching, might it be possible to read a book about visually striking architecture, without photographs? I read Antipodean Structures with the assumption that it could be done, and my assumption was confirmed. In any case, this book goes well beneath the shiny exteriors of buildings like the National Museum of Australia, Federation Square, even The Sydney Opera House. These and five other buildings are examined in terms of societal aspirations in the millennial period, and I'm not sure that could have been done so convincingly in a book that pandered to the market's appetite for archi-sexual imagery.

All of the essays are good, but I will make special mention of Davina Jackson's engaging commentary on Federation Square (it presents as a relatively catchy read in an otherwise dense volume), and Philip Goad's very detailed discussion of the National Gallery of Victoria (this too is an enjoyable read, and a thorough piece of history writing). But I most enjoyed Ostwald's and Fleming's Introduction and Conclusion. These gave me the clearest sense yet of the cultural and geographical factors behind the phantasmagorical architecture of this region. The authors don't say it quite so bluntly as I'm about to, but: ideas received from the Northern hemisphere, breeding within isolated colonies of architects are amplified in this region, leading to buildings as strange as the region's wildlife.

A scholarly and probing analysis of a subject too often broached via imagery. Four Stars. I'll save the fifth star for the reprint, if it includes black and white images.
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