Friday 28 July 2023


Art Gallery of New South Wales
The Domain, Art Gallery Road
Sydney NSW 2000
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First release tickets

Individual: $405
Group offer (3+): $355 per person
Includes all sessions, morning tea and lunch.

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Program Info

Following our return to “life as usual” in the face of changing social, economic and environmental climates, The Architecture Symposium: Reset will examine the residential work of architects and designers who question the idea of “usual.”

Our dwelling requirements are as varied as the lives we each lead. The curated line-up of local and international speakers will share their diverse and engaging stories about the home, reminding us, perhaps, of things forgotten, overlooked or misunderstood. They will inspire us to reconsider the assumptions of the architect, the agency of the occupant, and the public role of the (supposedly) “private” building.

Looking beyond the architecturally designed home as a rarefied object, this symposium will consider how space shapes human occupation, and how human occupation shapes buildings, settings and communities. It will challenge our concepts of “home” and “housing” for the future.


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Supporting Partners

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Earn CPD Points

Download CPD Questions and Learning Outcomes

CPD Questions – The Architecture Symposium: Reset 2023


Sophia Buckle

Event Coordinator Header Image Annerley House by Zuzana and Nicholas. Photography by Christopher Frederick Jones.


  • 9.00 am Delegate arrival
  • 9.30 am Welcome to Country
  • 9.40 am Introduction
    Georgia Birks, Architecture Media
  • 9.45 am Opening comments
    Guest curators Jemima Retallack (Retallack Thompson Architects) and Aaron Peters (Vokes and Peters)
  • 10.00 am Keynote
    Caroline Robertson and Tim Gittos, Spacecraft Architects (Wellington, Aotearoa, New Zealand)
  • 10.45 am Keynote
    Chris Major and David Welsh, Welsh and Major (Sydney, NSW)
  • 11.30 am Morning tea
  • 12.00 pm Case study
    Andrew Power, Andrew Power (NSW)
  • 12.25 pm Case study
    Zuzana Kovar, Zuzana and Nicholas (Brisbane, Qld)
  • 12.50 pm Case study
    Kate Fitzgerald, New Resident and Whispering Smith (Fremantle, WA)
  • 1.15 pm Lunch
  • 2.15 pm Keynote
    Nigel Bertram and Marika Neustupny, NMBW Architecture Studio (Melbourne, Vic)
  • 3.00 pm Keynote
    Marcelo Faiden, Adamo-Faiden (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • 3.45 pm Closing comments
    Guest curators Jemima Retallack (Retallack Thompson Architects) and Aaron Peters (Vokes and Peters)
  • 4.00 pm Event concludes
  • CPD Questions – The Architecture Symposium: Reset 2023


An Elegant Sufficiency

Presented by
Caroline Robertson and Tim Gittos, Co-directors, Spacecraft Architects

Many architects have the express goal of working for increasingly wealthy clients; others just end up doing so as they become better known and negotiate the inarguable expense of building. This can produce splendid work, but in many cases, it involves becoming little more than a personal shopper for the wealthy.

Vicarious purchasing power isn’t our cup of tea. Spacecraft was formed out of an interest in designing clearly, with regard for economy of means, affordability, aesthetics and the environment.

We are interested in extending the role of the architect to advocate for and support alternative ways of living, and we will talk about our experiences with co-housing for groups of individuals who pool their resources to build denser – in some cases multigenerational – housing with shared social space at the heart.

We Don’t Do Much the Way We Used To

Presented by
Chris Major and David Welsh, Co-founders, Welsh and Major

As our own worlds and circumstances change – along with those of our clients, friends and families – so do our homes.

What we looked for in a home 20 years ago is different to what we look for now.

What we meant by “sustainability” then has evolved into something quite different.

And what we meant by “home” then has evolved into something different, too.

The beautiful aspiration “to touch the earth lightly” has evolved … into a grounding of site and circumstance in material resource, culture and ecology.

It could be described as a search for flexible permanency ….

House Around a Hearth

Presented by
Andrew Power, Architect, Andrew Power

We live in more unusual ways, yet most houses have conventional briefs. This talk is about a house plan that allows for multiple readings of how you might live in it, both usual and unusual.

The House and a Commercial, Public Room

Presented by
Zuzana Kovar, Director, Zuzana and Nicholas

Zuzana will discuss the practice’s interest in the public presence of residential buildings. The presentation considers the increased pressure on houses to accommodate home offices and studios in a post-COVID-19 work climate, and it explores the potential of this pressure to catalyse the making of explicit public interfaces. The inclusion of dedicated public rooms – like workspaces or shops – in private buildings facilitates heterogenous urban fabrics, which bring about vibrancy in otherwise homogenous suburban conditions.

Reset: The New Resident story

Presented by
Kate Fitzgerald, Director, Whispering Smith

Architecture’s traditional fee-for-service business model often produces “rarefied object” housing: awe-inspiring, marketable and, increasingly, unobtainable. Is the business of architecture limiting the scope of architects’ meaningful urban contributions? We examine Whispering Smith’s complete “Reset,” which turned the traditional fee-for-service practice into an incubator for an emerging sustainable developer brand.

New Resident procures urban infill sites with existing character homes and mature trees, retains them, and delivers a microcommunity of affordable, sustainable and ethical architect-designed homes. By talking about our practice’s past and present, we examine how New Resident’s approach could play a public role in challenging Perth’s concept of “home and housing” for the future.

Bottlenecks and Shortcuts: Designing for occupant agency

Presented by
Nigel Bertram and Marika Neustupny, Directors, NMBW Architecture Studio

Through analysis of urban conditions and reflection on NMBW’s residential works, we’ll identify design attributes of spaces that respond to users, provoke their creativity and engagement, and encourage their getting involved. These attributes span relational, spatial and temporal dimensions – we’ll get specific about the ways people, activities, things and ideas relate in space and over time. Key themes include ambiguity, openness, un-finishing, re-visiting and embracing the protracted unfolding of events. These works explore collaborative relationships between elements: designed and undesigned, planned and unplanned, defined and undefined.

Three External Relations and an Internal Revelation

Presented by
Marcelo Faiden, Founding Partner, Adamo-Faiden

An overview of the studio’s latest projects related to collective and individual housing, all interconnected by a new guiding thread, which is the projects’ relationship with climate.


Jemima Retallack

Director, Retallack Thompson

Jemima Retallack is a director of Retallack Thompson, a Sydney-based architecture office formed with Mitchell Thompson in 2016. The practice is interested in creating timeless and enduring architecture, with a focus on the human experience and connections with landscape and place.

Retallack Thompson’s work ranges across residential projects, small-scale commercial and public works – including the 2017 NGV Architecture Commission.

More About Jemima Retallack →

Aaron Peters

Director, Vokes and Peters

Aaron Peters co-founded Vokes and Peters with Stuart Vokes in 2015. The practice is known for producing buildings that respond to prevailing settings, cultural narratives, human occupation and the presence of nature. Vokes and Peters has been widely recognized for its private houses, however, the practice also works across a range of cultural and commercial projects, heritage conservation, furniture design and teaching.

More About Aaron Peters →

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