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How Architecture Can Change Lives


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It's estimated that the majority of us spend a colossal 90 per cent of our lives indoors. We spend this time inside our homes, our schools, our workplaces and our shopping centres. 

Given these findings, it's easy to understand that our well-being is heavily influenced by the buildings we spend all this time within. The statistics certainly may make us realise architecture has a significant impact on all of us.

The purpose of architecture is to improve human life. By merging creative design with technical knowledge, architects create the built environment in which we live, thus influencing our quality of life.

As Winston Churchill once said: “we shape our buildings and thereafter our buildings shape us.”

As Winston Churchill once said: “we shape our buildings and thereafter our buildings shape us.”

By assuming a dynamic approach to planning, design and ongoing maintenance of the built environment, architecture can enhance productivity. It can also help to accommodate future impacts associated with population growth, demographic change, and climate change.

Following a long love of architecture, Adam Haddow, Director of SJB Architects, opened the doors to The Architects Bookshop last month. In Haddow’s eyes, the store is much more than just an ordinary bookshop. He wants it to serve the purpose of a community hub, hoping it will share what’s happening in the industry, who’s hiring, competitions, awards, all of it. He hopes to embrace a diverse following—the store is not only for fellow architects but for the community as a whole. 

The two-room shopfront has a mesmerising pared-back, Australian aesthetic. It’s fitted out with Tasmanian oak shelves and integrated seating. You will also find captivating pressed-metal ceilings, cork floors and washed-eucalyptus walls. 

Bringing people together for reading, meetings and casual catch-ups is the true aim of The Architects Bookshop. It is anticipated to be a place where ideas can be exchanged and books launched. A place where guest speakers can share their insights and the wonders of architecture can be embraced by all. There are also plans to use the space to support smaller, emerging practices as well as study the works of famous architects.

The Architects Bookstore looks forward to featuring the work of key architects, both locally and overseas.

In a recent interview, Haddow said: “I’m a big believer that architecture can change people’s lives. If you’re going to grow a culture of design you have to feed it; you need places and spaces that support this.”

“I’m a big believer that architecture can change people’s lives. If you’re going to grow a culture of design you have to feed it."

Last year, Haddow won an award for his Cleveland Rooftop project in Redfern NSW. This rooftop addition to the original Demco Machinery building is a new structure spanning between two original rooftop elements. It endeavoured to realise a garden that you happened to live in, rather than an apartment surrounded by greenery. The private garden draws on and complements the adjoining communal roof garden while delivering a single private oasis dwelling. In contrast to the communal garden, the private garden is predominantly native, making it a safe haven for indigenous birds and insects of the city. This small piece of landscape in the sky aims to contribute to the opportunistic network of small inner-city native landscape spaces and public parks that provide respite for fauna.

Let's take a look at some other inspiring, award-winning architectural projects from 2018.

Joynton Avenue Creative Precinct by Peter Stutchbury Architecture in association with Design 5 was awarded the Greenway Award for Heritage as well as a Public Architecture award. In this robust work of adaptive re-use, Peter Stutchbury Architecture has reached back into history to transform an ensemble of former hospital buildings in Sydney’s Green Square Town Centre into a dynamic public arts precinct.

The Lyons and EJE Architecture collaboration on University of Newcastle's NeW Space won several categories at the Newcastle Architecture Awards. The NeW Space project is a vertical campus for the University of Newcastle based within the city’s civic precinct. Designed in collaboration with Melbourne based firm Lyons Architects, the $95 million project will accommodate both formal and informal teaching and learning spaces.

And looking at New Zealand, we have the wonderful Cathedral Grammar Junior School by Andrew Barrie Lab and Tezuka Architects. Cathedral Grammar Junior School is a lovely, humane learning environment that perfectly captures the joy of childhood. The use of excellently detailed natural materials complements the comforting courtyard arrangement, and slides from the roof are a welcome encouragement to youthful adventure. The building is an inspiring addition to post-earthquake Christchurch.

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