What started off as simply research into the field of architecture has manifested into a print publication. From the Ground Up: 20 Stories of a Life in Architecture, written by Dean Dewhirst and published through Melbourne’s Uro Media, brings together twenty of Australia’s leading architectural practitioners to reveal, in their own words, what drew them to their calling. Their reflections offer an insight into the values and ideas behind some of the country’s most innovative and important buildings.
The book launches as part of the World Architecture Day celebrations on 31 October, hosted by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Victorian Chapter and Member Services Committee at the AIA headquarters in Melbourne. It’s a free event but with limited capacity, so ticketing is advised (see below). The overall event will celebrate Australian architecture, with a heavy lean towards Melbourne, including the buildings, faces and practices that play a role in shaping our built environment. Incidentally, the AIA will be announcing the People’s Choice Trophy for the most popular new public building from 2014 at the launch.
From the Ground Up is a veritable who’s who of Australian practice, with design directors from Bates Smart, Architectus, Durbach Block Jaggers, Cox Architecture, BVN Donovan Hill to name a few. Interestingly, each individual architect relays their personal take on architecture, their beliefs and expectations or inspiration. Richly designed and illustrated, the book includes sketches and other conceptual material to provide a glimpse of how each practitioner realises their ideas. A photographic chronology of key works also presents a snapshot of every architect’s career and accomplishments to date, including previously unpublished sketches, watercolours, models and other revealing conceptual material.
Interestingly, those involved in the formulation of the book have done a sterling job when it comes to promoting the publication, most notably through the website twentystories.com.au. Here you can view a number of interviews with those featured in the book. If the video content is half as good as the print content then the book promises to be an enlightening read. While some outline the rationality of form as a factor to their specific interest in the profession, others, such as Bates Smart director Kristen Whittle, discuss their initial uncertainty about entering the architecture profession, considering instead an alternative university education in art. It is a thoroughly fascinating series of videos. The book, no doubt, will provide equal intrigue and delight.
The book’s author, Dean Dewhirst, is the managing director of Maven, a specialist recruitment business specifically focused on architectural and interior design. And so, in a bid to better understand his client base, he sought to engage with architecture leaders and to establish their idiosyncrasies, background, and to discover their individual stories. Dewhirst, indeed, points out the “personality of the architect is often the culture of their studio”. The book, then, is a honourable and valuable concept, its resolution is awaited with anticipation.
From the Ground Up will unearth the untold story of the architect through its biographical account of personal early influences – enabling the general public to better identify with the stories – which inevitably allows the reader to empathise with the struggles and continued dedication of an architect. It will present a uniquely human take on the architect as a passionate individual whose story could be an inspiration.
From the Ground Up: 20 Stories of a Life in Architecture
Australian Institute of Architects
41 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000
T: 03 8620 3877
Find out more about the World Architecture Day celebration