Saturday 18 May 2019


After a ‘Renaissance painting’ sunset – puffy white clouds with beaming golden trims massed over patches of deep, pale Mary-blue sky – the evening dimmed into a light sprinkling, so fine that it failed to catch the sparkle of the light. The walk up the path to the Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University was a refreshing stroll through the tinkling mist. The building glowed in its grand display lighting that turned the plywood soffits into a rich mellow plane with a profile that reminded one of Aalto’s work. One pondered the efficiency and efficacy of this use of energy. Folk could be heard milling before they were seen. It was a busy foyer, the prelude to a pleasant evening: the beginning of semester two in the Bond year.

Matt Eagle

The talk was introduced informally by Matt Eagle with a “Thanks guys,” after he had read out the blurb that sounded like the text published on the Edition Office web site with the added Eagle advice - “direct clarity; raw materiality; deeply experiential; take risks: a good lesson for students.”

Aaron Roberts and Kim Bridgland

Kim Bridgland, (KB), began the talk that was apparently to be a duet.** The other director of Edition Office, (EO), Aaron Roberts, (AR), shared the presentation – 50/50. Might this be an over-reaction to the offer to talk about the work: just too keen? It reminds one of a first film, where, over-enthusiastically, every Tom, Dick and Harry seeks to have the name displayed in the credits. It was indeed a partnership that, apart from the physical challenges of transferring the audio technology, worked seamlessly. KB spoke quietly but quickly, rattling off the firm’s ideas, rationales and inspirations in what seemed like jargon-speak, spruiking phrases like “appropriate collisions;” and “objective experience.” These verbalisations of hoped-for expressive meaning were illustrated with photographs to example the subtle concepts the firm worked with, or so it appeared. It is always a difficult association to pull off, but KB did well.

Bunker Archaeology

Adrian Skelton’s# collected images were shown with the comment that they illustrate “how one can produce a narrative.” Illustrations from Paul Verilio’s Bunker Archaeology were used to introduce the relationship between form and landscape, where “triggers and references are connected to meaning that changes energy, emotional weight, with context and time.” Images of Martin Lindsay’s empty buildings were spoken about as “an interaction of context to which we ascribe meaning, emotional intent. Our feeling gives the object a contemporary context.” Callum Morton’s HOTEL was said to reveal “the physicality of what is, placed in an Australian context, where the audience is engaged in a ghost-like experience.” John Hacker’s work was promoted as illustrating “an architectural object; an island context in which infinite space is inserted.” Fabian Knecht’s work showed how framing and light can transform nature, “making things architectural; re-framing contexts; making interesting concepts;” Warwick Baker’s book on the Balanglo Forest was referenced, and spoken about as presenting “an event invested here, but not belonging; an emotional landscape.”

Callum Morton's  HOTEL

Isolation - Fabian Knecht

Fabian Knecht isolating

Myall Creek Massacre

Massacre sites

Queen and elder

Kim Bridgland

The subject was extended into aboriginal massacre sites, Myall Creek. These horrors are “embodied in the history of our country.” The two dollar coin showing the queen on one side, the aboriginal elder on the other was used as an example to illustrate the bifurcation of colonialism. One noted that KB looked something like the bearded elder. Painter Daniel Boyd’s work was shown, illustrating how the “simple transformation of images, their layering, can modify messages and meanings.” A detail of a classical column in Berlin with patched bullet holes was spoken about in this violent context of cultural messaging. David Chipperfield’s new entrance to Berlin’s museum island, Libeskin’s Jewish Museum, and Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial were shown as examples of “truth telling” interventions, drawing a similarity with these patches. KB showed some of his own sculptural works, and spoke of their materiality. He was interested in “the appropriated evolution of possessions; the shadow of trauma; and so on and so forth.” One might have hoped for more commitment and clarity in the statement: had KB gone over his allotted time?

Libeskin's Jewish Museum, Berlin

Eisenman's Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

"The essence of the project; its singularity"

The speakers passed the baton: Aaron Roberts took over, introducing “context, land, and the cultural gaze: how to make architectural sites modifiers, bringing people into the landscape.” AR spoke of the “physical manifestations of these qualities - the firm’s models, site analyses, and drawings; the singularities.” He explained that these elements allowed “a greater understanding of the work, its singularity; its contradictory state – the fissure between expectations and what architecture should be, and how it can relate to values; experimentally, across boundaries as ‘landscape portraits’.” These beginnings were “diagrams to capture the essential quality of each project, the framework and inherent form: the cultural object” - see: where each project is submitted meticulously as:
  • (B) MODEL
  • (C) PLAN
  • (D) SITE
  • (F) TEXT

AR moved on from his explanatory introduction to talk about a project, noting that EO “was interested in the idea of terra nullius”: indeed, EO has lots of ‘interests.’ This was the In Absence project that had been undertaken in collaboration with the artist Yhonnie Scarce who had an interest in yams, and had used them as a cultural quotation in her work. AR spoke of the referencing of aboriginal agriculture and industry, using these as an inspiration. The eel traps,++ the shelters, and the smoking tree were the stimulus for the pavilion. Here the screen went blank and HDMI appeared: technology was not going to be kind tonight. The idea of The Absence was to touch on “the known unknowns in history.” One was reminded here of Donald Rumsfeld’s famous quote.* Ash impregnated timbers had been used to frame spaces; “indigenous elders and the community were engaged with the narrative – agriculture and industry – to pass on knowledge.” In contrast to the terra nullius concept, and the idea that aboriginals were merely meandering nomads, it was emphasised that they did engage in these organised activities. The pavilion was surrounded by a field of yams, “decolonising the idea of the established garden.”

The Absence

The Absence interior

:compare Peter Zumthor's interior - Field Chapel

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander War Memorial

The site

The speakers passed the baton again: KB took over, speaking more on the pavilion, its four-metre diameter, (had AR forgotten this?), “sized as a figure ‘8’ like the home to give the feeling of the scale and dimensions of aboriginal housing, offering an ontological moment in time, framed in ash, bringing the story to light.” KB did not mention the matter of open height that contrasted with the sense of shelter offered by the enclosed house. He moved on to speak about the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander War Memorial project. Here EO worked with the artist Daniel Boyd. It was “an unromantic plan to make sure the figure of architecture remained fundamentally raw; elemental.” The diagram was a circle, a centre and a line. The ideas mentioned “interiority; to wrap up; a field of basalt, a stone used for tools: the before and after colonisation difference.” There was a cast bronze fireplace and a receptacle five metres deep. This container was for sacred ceremonial items. KB noted that the project had just been finished, “About a month ago,” adding that “It had not been photographed.” The importance of the ‘architectural’ image appeared to be critical – see:  KB was effectively saying that this project had not yet been cleverly, artfully, framed for public consumption and promotion, a position that appeared to conflict with the raw intentions: this was “a place for empathetic self-reflection with 10,000 mirrors. It was not a didactic memorial.” From the inside, it had 10,000 windows, allowing for “subjective thinking – how to connect with other people.” 10,000 rays of sunshine create “a profound and interesting space – raw: not photographed yet” - but we were being shown photographs. What KB meant was that it had not been transformed by the architectural camera. What might be the problem with seeing things as they are, everyday? Why apologise twice? It was as if architects rely on the ‘special’ photographic images to indulge in their own outcomes, “Aren’t we clever!”, as if the works might mystically hold more than they had put in or anticipated. It seems a strange idea that an architect might have to rely on a clever shot for some satisfaction. Was KB suggesting that one needed to be told what and how to see this memorial that was open for ceremonies: that the everyday viewing was insufficient?

Hawthorne House

The speakers passed the baton yet again; this was truly a planned event: AR took over, speaking about the Hawthorne House, (HH).^ He began with the models he had spoken about previously, that “aim to capture the essential qualities,” noting that the plan was “quite diagrammatic.” It was indeed simple – a couple of empty rectangles in a rectangle. The concept incorporated “the idea of the island to create a context, a platform, for the house – a space that denies the context of Melbourne.” AR explained that the intent was to overcome the problem of neighbours and screening while “celebrating the large gum tree.” It was “an opportunity to deny context.” Was this just too easy? The project seemed to include the notion of ‘island’ and ‘contradictoriness’ mentioned in the introduction. The concrete shroud gave “a new calibration of the site, privacy with transparency.” Strangely, the boundary fences were never seen as the ‘screens’ that they were. From time to time, the neighbouring brick veneer residence could be glimpsed, begging questions about the street and its presence. Was the ‘denial’ idea a way to explain the complete ignoring of context? Did the idea of ‘the island’ become the excuse for self-centred interests, freeing the architects from any civic obligation? The shroud was intended to be “encompassed in a sea of green.” Here the giggling over technology began – the images started to appear clipped: Apple! - but AR soldiered on.

Is this a tribute to Roy Grounds?

National Gallery of Victoria - Roy Grounds

Roy Grounds - Hill Street House (with tree)

Academy of Science, ANU - Roy Grounds

The separate glass enclosure “re-calibrated the outside of the building.” The ceilings were of timber, “softer, warmer,” and “normal living” items were shown – “a fire place; a bathroom; a kitchen” - as though these ‘incidentals’ might be a bother, a necessary distraction, taking the eye away from the “interest in creating an off-form concrete texture using recycled boarding.” The idea of upper enclosure was “embroynic,” positioning the building as “an island,” (again), using “raw materials and craft in the detailing.” The upper courtyards “opened up to the sky and the tree canopy,” and let in “an incredible amount of light,” (sounds like Trump!), while allowing one “not to be observed, or to be the observer.” No mention was made of ventilation, or that this strategy used the idea of the courtyard house. Why did new words have to be used to describe this ‘invention.’

The site
Is this the same tree? - compare the image above.

The speakers passed the baton once more; the change was almost becoming tedious, as if there was some childish necessity to share equally - “My turn; you’ve had enough!” KB took over again, referring to the introduction, trying to tie things together – telling how the HH fabricates “the interior zone, from boundary to boundary, defining space and context,” again emphasising “the island idea.” It was as though he was summing up; or did AR miss some points once more? Then KB spoke about the Point Lonsdale House, (LH). Again, the concept was an island, “a whole island,” creating “a totemic object” from the inspiration of the old fibro house. Here the essence was “the coming together, the house as a fulcrum.” The iconic model was shown as a linked series of pyramidal masses in stone, like a key in stone, a diagrammatic massing that turned out to be the schematic plan form, perhaps illustrating ‘its singularity, its essence.’

Point Lonsdale House

The site

The idea was “one house with separate zones: car; sleep/bath/toilet; live/dine/kitchen; sleep/ensuite; interspersed with courtyards and decks.” One might have called it a ‘spinal’ plan with spaces linked by a core corridor along one edge: but it was explained as “a social fulcrum that celebrated the vulnerable; accommodating long summer holidays, being able to be fully opened up for the sea breezes.” One wondered if the HH might not have wanted to open up too. The entry was “ubiquitous, in the shadow of the garage.” The idea was that of “an island,” (again), “boundaries with planting; a slight cantilever gave a floating feel.” The work “engaged thresholds, an important matter in all EO’s projects.” KB said that he liked the “clarity of the architecture; the informality of context; the pristine sharp edges and coarse materials; the oiled timbers.” These were to go grey outside; blackbutt was used internally to give a “monolithic, beautifully crisp, crafted finish.” The living space could be enlarged.

One was surprised by the naked interior – see: “Light brought the house to life, taking spaces right up to the edges; there was privacy even with the front door open.” There were “outdoor rooms.” The project was “a binary when compared to the HH.” The HH “had no walls and a concrete shroud; a disconnect with concrete: the LH was a clearly defined interior, possibly more relevant to Queensland.”^ The bathroom had been “prioritised” with a large skylight giving “a sense of verticality; to remove context and to enjoy clouds and sunshine – the important connect to daylight: highlighting materiality.” A glimpse of the neighbour could be seen, but no context was ever shown for this residence, or the previous HH either. This seems to be cleverly explained, or excused, as self-conscious, intended, intellectual ‘denial’ - but the real everyday experience cannot be removed. Why is it ignored by architects who are apparently so concerned about ‘cultural experience’? One has to be wary about being selectively ‘culturally’ interested in an exclusive manner that evades the present and its presence.

KB finished simply in the traditional storyteller’s manner: “This is the end of the talk.” One wondered: was the time shared equally? The thought seemed childish.

There were a couple of questions referring to things “uncanny; recalculating; experience; duality; post-colonial; gaze; storytelling; fissures; raw materiality; contemporary Australian context” - “the cacophony of perspectives we bring: the re-calibrations of self.” These seemed to be repetitions of themes previously expressed; perhaps expansions on these ideas?

Matt Eagle closed with another “Thanks guys.”

The evening was strange. The work was intriguing, beautifully considered and crafted as though it might have been inspired by Carlo Scarpa. The speakers were obviously sensitive, caring and committed architects; thankfully they lacked raw, rude arrogance: but something annoying lingered. The repeated words concerning ‘islands,’ isolation, seemed to define the concern. Was this work merely an exercise in iconic forms, the intellectual indulgence in theory and ideas, or was it shaping models for city living? What might a street full of HHs look like? Surely everything that shaped this place had been addressed in the terrace house and the courtyard house models? The HH ‘island’ seemed too self-centred, self-interested, inconsiderate, like the LH island. How many open living places can be placed together successfully and be enjoyed by all?

On reflection it appeared that this work was ‘island’ work – see: - special, one-off pieces standing like unique cerebral exercises for others to ‘experience’ and learn from - perhaps, to use the EO jargon, “to re-calibrate experience and self”: but what does this mean? What does one ‘re-calibrate,’ from what, to what, and how? One assumes this might be some subtle, poetic, involuntary process, but who knows? This is the fudged authority of jargon – it is powerful and pushy, bullying, without saying anything in particular at all. This ‘icon-making’ stance is not wholly negative or unproductive, but one must try to put ideas into simple, ordinary English, even very complex matters, if the mysteries of words and images are not to engulf, to bluff ordinary understanding. How might one explain ‘materiality’ etc. to the man in the bar; to mother; without being considered a pompous wanker? The phrase “I am interested in . . .” that was repeated throughout the evening seemed to suggest that the work was based on private, personal preferences; interests that one can indulge in while excluding everyone else who might have other interests and preferences, by “our denial,” and are placed in the position of the outside observers asked to appraise and praise. Expecting your approach to be transformative, to ‘re-calibrate other’s experience,’ appears a little grandiose, pompous. If everyone held this attitude, the city and experience would be totally chaotic. Ironically, the approach relies on its ‘singualrity’ for its relevance, relying on others not to be the same. Might the successful “re-calibration of experience and self” be the death knell of this strategy, where everyone ignores everyone else?

Yet one is drawn to the EO work in spite of the questions it raises. How was water managed on the Lonsdale House? No gutters?^ What happens to water falling into the HH? Everyone knows what water can do. Mouldings and flashings are a part of every cathedral and shack; overhangs, like recesses, are important too, as are downpipes - see  These features have not been developed for no reason at all; rather they have been adapted, on a range of scales, as decoration, a subject that we still have to re-learn in architecture. One can indulge in the precise beauty of fine edges (EO) but, in one way, this becomes an excuse for having no decoration. The EO seems to be creative with excuses.

Louis Sullivan's decoration

We no longer know how or what to decorate; ironically, tattoos thrive. There appears to be no hesitation with body decorations. Are people more prepared to accept tradition in this art form? Maybe architecture has to turn to its traditions to know what to do? One can point out the astonishing success of classical architecture over the centuries. Berlin is careful to repair it. How might our naked forms trend in history? Sullivan always saw these stark changes as a cleansing step to make way for a new architecture and a new, inspirational, living decoration. We have not yet completed this transformation. There is much more to do than to eulogise on space, forms, materials, (raw and otherwise), and boundaries and edges, (fine and precisely complex). Is EO relying on the ‘bullet-hole patching’ approach for meaning rather than any self-conscious enrichment with decoration?+

Patched bullet holes, Brandenburg Gate

The EO work was refreshingly pure and intellectually thorough, decisive. It was a pleasure to see, but one has to say that there is more: more to understand about materials and time; and tradition and decoration – and community.


One has to remember that ‘no man is an island.’ It might be considered to be a sad, cliché dictum, but it is so. One might retreat to an island for contemplation and reverie, but life incorporates more: an involvement within a complexity of cooperative otherness. We need to consider community, town and city life and its form, rather than bury ourselves separately into island interests, while hoping to re-calibrate the world. The danger is that the island will become a personal retreat, a protective shroud, rather than being seen as a source of wisdom, of renewal. This is also the problem with jargon words. We cannot communicate when private interests are expressed in private concepts, no matter how personally deep these commitments might be felt or believed. We need complexities to be revealed in the ordinary way, in the everyday world, because it is too easy to promote something to look meaningfully complex in a cloud of confusion. Modern art suffers from this indulgent approach; indeed, it relies on its latent threat that highlights the observer’s ‘inadequacies’ if the work is considered to be obscure: “It’s your fault if you cannot understand.”

The search for clarity will not only make matters comprehensible for all, but will also be of critical assistance to those promoting the ideas: the theories will be tested, challenged, rather than being carefully shielded from doubt. Fuzzy expressions can only too easily pretend to be otherwise, and encourage and promote a false enthusiasm, when they remain just hazy uncertainties for all. One should not have to construct some system of tolerant belief or disbelief, or invent a shrewd interpretation of any circumstance in order to pretend to comprehend anything, or to eulogise a strategy.

Finally, one can say that there remains a future in the EO approach, but it must eventually remove itself from the island – even though it might be inspired by Fabian Knecht’s work that separates, isolates, minute portions of the world “for interest’s sake.” We need an architecture that is both rich, rooted in meaning, and communal – everyday architecture; see:  Promoting an island of self-interest is the modern problem of individualism – the making of ‘creative’ heroes. We need to make and support communities, and celebrate this inclusion because we are a part of it, everyday, in every way – we need to get better and better,## not more and more distant, in denial, or self-consciously discordant.


Lecture Series #3: Kim Bridgland, Edition Office, Melbourne

16th May 2019


with Kim Bridgland**

Thursday, 16 May

6PM - 8PM

Abedian School of Architecture, Bond University

Kim Bridgland is a founding director at the award-winning Edition Office, an architecture studio based in Melbourne. Kim is also a practising artist who has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally. He gained a Master of Architecture at RMIT University (with distinction) and a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Newcastle (honours).

Kim’s practice involves the interrogation of personal and cultural histories that are expanded or destabilised through the creation of physical modifiers, condition objects and temporal mourning sites. His works utilise materials and techniques that are empty of overt signification and as such they are manifested as wholly new narrative vehicles.

Through the execution of its built work and research, the practice is creating an ongoing series of figures, relics, stories and relationships; all continuing a greater investigation into material & spatial practice.

Edition Office strive to constantly experiment with techniques and materials to uncover new processes or to re-articulate the old.


This promotional material appeared to be confusing ‘bolshy blurb.’ It was decided to learn more about KB, so was opened: STOP!!

kim bridgland
Exhibition of new work Half Life, showing at Seventh Gallery, Fitzroy VYAG_PROCESS_DEC2nd 2013. Monday 2 December 2013 – 6:30pm ...

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Oh!, the next one, perhaps:

about kim bridgland
Kim's practice involves the interrogation of personal and cultural histories that are expanded or destabilised through the creation of physical modifiers, condition ...

Malicious Content . . . .

the same!! malicious content?


Why not try:

Edition Office is Kim Bridgland (Director), Aaron Roberts (Director), Molly Hibberd
, Jonathan Brener, Laura Tindall, Karl Buck, Jane Roberts, David Carroll, Erin ...</span></div></div><!--EndFragment-- !--EndFragment-->

So was opened:

. . . ah! at last!

Edition Office is an architecture studio based in Melbourne, Australia. Through the execution of its built work and research, the practice is creating an ongoing series of figures, relics, stories and relationships; all continuing a greater investigation into material & spatial practice. Edition Office strive to constantly experiment with techniques and materials to uncover new processes or to re-articulate the old. Their work is entirely dissonant, to themselves, to their clients, to their sites and landscapes. Their work is entirely sympathetic, to themselves, to their clients, to their sites and landscapes. They celebrate grit and raw materiality. They celebrate knowledge and care. Edition Office engage with their work as a long form negotiation between a series of modifiers (people/place) and conditioning objects (buildings/relics). They design houses and buildings that exist within the layered realms of their environment, their place. These built projects act as an interface between a place and its occupier and set up an ongoing relationship of colliding adjacencies, where the latent histories of each party are bled into the next. Edition Office is Kim Bridgland (Director), Aaron Roberts (Director), Molly Hibberd, Jonathan Brener, Laura Tindall, Karl Buck, Jane Roberts, David Carroll, Erin Watson, Alex Roome.

Recent awards : 2018 Dulux Study Tour, Victorian Architecture Awards 2018 shortlist, Small Project Architecture, Victorian Architecture Awards 2017, Residential Houses New Award,Houses Awards 2017, New House Over 200M2 Award, Houses Awards 2017, Sustainability Award, Houses Awards 2017, Emerging Practice Commendation, Thinkbrick Awards 2017, Horbury Hunt Residential Award Finalist, Architeam Awards 2016, Residential New Award, Architeam Awards 2016, Architeam Medal Winner



One wonders if Aaron Roberts became jealous, and insisted on having a role in the talk that was promoted only as Kim Bridgland.


The Abedian School of Architecture might think about asking its speakers to provide a reference/synopsis sheet for their talks. Speakers often make references and raise issues that are important: why else talk? Even with one taking copious, progressive, real-time notes of the talks, these names and ideas sometimes are difficult to interpret in the continuing gush of the verbalisations, making it hard for anyone to follow the individuals and issues up. This idea is more important than ever, given that the original video recording and downloading of the talks has stopped. Surely the aim of any talk is to encourage further research, reading and reverie? Names are not always easy to spell. Frequently one finds that the phonetic spelling can be misleading. It might appear tedious, or boringly scholarly, but the note-taking does allow one to review what has been said in another timescale and context. The repetition of ideas and words is exposed, as are the gaps in the logic, or the questions on the concepts; and the ideas and publications that can extend one’s involvement are identified. This further engagement seems to be the aim of the CPD programme, but alas, it appears that attendance is enough to get a couple of points – just turn up and go home; done! “What else is there to do to reach 10/10?” is the next question and quest. The essence of any CPD programme must be in the commitment it can engender in the profession. The concentration on points, quantity rather than quality, drives a cynicism that makes the idea a poor joke on itself.

Donald Rumsfeld’s quote:

It is easier to get into something than to get out of it. There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know.

The reference to Queensland is interesting. This appears to relate only to the sense of open space – interiors opening out to decks, or, in Queensland, verandahs. Is this model appropriate for the southern climes? One matter that contrasts with Queensland practice is the roofing details. South of the Queensland border, roofers seem to know nothing about neatly scribing the ridge and hip flashings into the corrugations. The lack of this detail grates on the northern eye, as does the lack of any roofing projection and gutter. Just what happens to water running over this house? One always has to consider facts, the implications of the real world, when dreaming about ‘precise, sharp’ edges and other preferred, aesthetic visions.

The recent death of I.M.Pei has brought his work back into consideration. His work in China did attempt to use decoration, but he admitted that it was not his best work. It is not as easy to decorate as we might think. Pei’s museum in Qatar was an attempt to touch on the cultural imagery of Islamic architecture, and likewise, can be said to not be his best work. We do seem to struggle to structure meaning into architectural forms and images, preferring, so it appears, to rely on the mystique of naked nothingness to materialise our quoted mysteries. Is this what makes architectural photography so critical today? Do photographs pattern our perceptions, shape voids into perhaps meanings so vague and evasive that they are likened to the most obscure of deep and meaningful mysteries? - see: seeing as . . .

Émile Coué

General. The application of his mantra-like conscious autosuggestion, "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better" (French: Tous les jours à tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux) is called Couéism or the Coué method.