Friday 4 August 2017
8.45 am – 5.00 pm ()


Clemenger BBDO Auditorium
NGV International
Melbourne VIC
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Tickets for this event are sold out.

Program Info

Housing in Australia is in a state of flux. Our major cities are experiencing growing pains, with housing affordability reaching crisis levels and the ever-growing need for more housing coming into conflict with environmental and social concerns. This presents a multitude of challenges, but it also offers opportunities. The Housing Futures forum, featuring speakers representing a wide range of disciplines from Australia and abroad, will speculate on the ways that architects, designers, planners, developers and policymakers can help meet the demands of today and create the cities of our future.


Design Speaks Symposia 2017

Presenting Partner

Housing Futures 2017

Major Partners

Supporting Partner

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Download CPD Questions and Learning Outcomes

2017 Housing Futures Program Full V14


Event & Sponsorship Enquiries

Nicole Greenwell

Sponsorship and Events


  • 8.45 am Attendee arrival
  • 9.00 am Welcome from Katelin Butler, Editor, Houses magazine
  • 9.15 am Richard Hassell
    Director, WOHA Architects (Singapore)
    Topic: Garden city, mega city
  • 9.55 am Vincent Taapken
    Founding Director, New Industry (Rotterdam)
    Topic: Creative direction in real estate
  • 10.35 am Q&A
  • 10.45 am Morning tea
  • 11.15 am Design, Delivery & Ownership
  • Tarsha Finney
    Senior Lecturer, University of Technology (Sydney) and Visiting Professor, Royal College of Art (London)
    Topic: Demographic change and spatial performance – multiresidential housing
  • Catherine Lezer
    Director, Strata Community Australia (Sydney)
    Topic: Strata futures
  • Eloise Atkinson
    Director, Deicke Richards and Independent Chair, Brisbane
    Housing Company (Brisbane)

    Topic: New housing models for specific target groups
  • Nicky Drobis
    Director of Design, Fender Katsalidis Architects (Melbourne)
    Topic: Prefabrication in highrise multiresidential projects
  • 12.45 pm Q&A
  • 1.00 pm Lunch break
  • 2.15 pm Geoffrey London
    Professor of Architecture, University of Western Australia (Perth)
    Topic: Reconsidering infill housing
  • 2.55 pm Cany Ash
    Director, Ash Sakula Architects (London)
    Topic: A new approach to neighbourhood building
  • 3.35 pm Q&A
  • 3.45 pm Closing comments from Cameron Bruhn, Editorial Director, Architecture Media
  • 4.00 pm Closing drinks
  • 5.00 pm Event closes
  • Download CPD Questions and Learning Outcomes

Keynote Addresses.

Garden City, Mega City: Strategies for the Twenty-First Century Sustainable City

Presented by
Richard Hassell, Co-founding Director, WOHA

The twenty-first century promises to be very different to the twentieth century: we face global warming, unprecedented population growth, and limited space and natural resources. So why are cities being planned using components that were developed in postwar Europe and America? WOHA director Richard Hassell will speak about the trajectory that WOHA’s residential projects have taken, exploring climactically appropriate designs, skyrise greenery and holistic designs that not only focus on the environment but also build and foster communities. Hassell will share his ideas on what the designers of hyper-dense cities in the twenty-first century could and should be doing – and the role that housing has to play – to make them great places to live.

Never Waste a Good Crisis: Learning from the Cracks of the European Economic Crisis

Presented by
Vincent Taapken, Founding Director, New Industry

While Australia was spared a deep financial-economic crisis in the last decade, the European continent was hit hard. The real estate market came to a standstill, with victims in all disciplines. A great reset was a fact. But as the European economies are now back on track, we learn that a good crisis also has its benefits. In this keynote address, developer Vincent Taapken will give insight into the lessons learned from these challenges. He questions whether an economic crisis might even be better for creative, innovative and sustainable urban development than a continuous growing real estate market. Australian cities are already experiencing the downsides of a speculative market, where homes seem to be a commodity instead of a place to live. Problems of affordability, lack of creativity and quality and short-term thinking might lead to new challenges in the near future.

Reconsidering Infill Housing

Presented by
Geoffrey London, Professor of Architecture, University of Western Australia

This talk will focus on the issue of residential infill, and will explore strategies for improving the quality of infill and the contribution it makes to the communities within which it is located. The talk will draw on the German Baugruppe process of housing delivery and argue that this model, used in urban settings in Germany, has significant potential in Australia’s middle suburbs for enabling quality infill. The process is design-based and assists owner-occupiers to become their own developers. The German experience over more than twenty years has resulted in high-quality design, considerable diversity of housing types, low running costs and a mix of shared amenities. The Baugruppen demonstration project in White Gum Valley, an initiative directed by Geoffrey London and LandCorp, will be introduced.

A New Approach to Neighbourhood Building

Presented by
Cany Ash, Founding Director, Ash Sakula Architects

All too often the process of development fractures or destroys existing communities. In this talk, Cany Ash will examine how the process of building new housing can also be an instrument for building communities and neighbourhoods. Ash Sakula Architects has been using community engagement and co-design processes, working with existing communities to find the seeds of regeneration in existing social and economic enterprise. Ash will present a number of examples that have sought to avoid the “behind-closed-doors” decision-making that normally shapes our cities. By demystifying the developer’s art, we can make regeneration issues accessible to the people most impacted by them, so that they have more say in making better neighbourhoods. This enables people to become custodians of where they live.

Design, Delivery and Ownership.

Demographic Change and Spatial Performance – Multiresidential Housing

Presented by
Tarsha Finney, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, University of Technology, Sydney

Globally, alpha cities such as London, New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong, as well as Sydney and Melbourne, are dealing with an acute issue of housing affordability. One of the consequences of this is the absence of spatial experimentation into how we organize ourselves into novel and new collectives of intimacy and care. This matters given the kind of demographic change going on in all these cities: ageing populations, the rise of people living alone and the existential crises of isolation and loneliness emerging as a result; separated and blended families and the new condition of the “mobile child” moving between households, and the pressure this is placing on transport networks and family budgets; and transformations in labour that are demanding a newly mobile and dynamic workforce. All these changes are asking new things of our housing, and of how we collectively organize ourselves. This presentation will look at where one might begin to see spatial and organizational experimentation in housing, considering particularly what the conditions for its emergence are and how we might cultivate these.

Strata Futures

Presented by
Catherine Lezer, Director, Strata Community Australia

Strata buildings are often lumped in the “too hard” basket. One issue with strata developments is that their owners are not required by any level of government or law to undertake anything other than “maintenance” – upgrades, efficiency and creating a sense of community are not requirements. Another issue is the lack of understanding about how to manage these multi-million-dollars assets. Most strata buildings also start life with “defects,” which becomes a huge financial burden to the owners and makes them wary of engaging consultants and spending money. And yet there are pathways to becoming efficient, adding value and creating a sense of community. The Botany Cope case study is an in-depth look at a ten-year-old building, the many projects undertaken by its owners and how challenges were overcome. With NABERS releasing a residential building rating tool, a flood of new apartments coming onto the market and apartments now seen as a desirable lifestyle choice, it has never been more important for residential strata managers and owners to lift their game.

New Housing Models for Specific Target Groups

Presented by
Eloise Atkinson, Director, Deicke Richards

There has been much talk around housing affordability, both in the press and as part of the recent federal budget discussion. While the lack of affordability affects many households, it particularly affects those on the lowest incomes. This presentation will focus on housing futures for low-income earners. It will give an overview of the housing continuum and explain the role that the Brisbane Housing Company Limited (BHCL) plays in housing people at the lower end of that continuum. The BHCL is the first community housing provider to achieve a credit rating with an investment grade. This presentation will address some new funding opportunities and the new housing models that the funding can support. To demonstrate the quality of the housing provided, one of BHCL’s awarded projects will be presented.

Prefabrication in Highrise Multiresidential Projects

Presented by
Nicky Drobis, Director of Design, Fender Katsalidis Architects

As the human population continues to rise and urbanize, pressure is placed on our cities to accommodate evermore. It is projected that by 2050, Melbourne will require two million additional homes to house a population of 10 million. At the same time, housing affordability is a challenge exacerbated by finite resources, competition for access to civic benefits and amenities, and the cost of construction. This address will discuss the intersection of design, innovation and prefabrication in architecture through case studies, and the possibilities at the juncture of these spheres to inform new systems and structures for the delivery of housing in the twenty-first century.

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