research, supervision, teaching, publications, exhibitions, urban design consultancy

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keywords: urban architecture, bottom-up urbanism, design research, urban design, urban environments, urban liveability, social infrastructure, master-planning, sustainable development, suburban densification, rural towns and regional development, urban history and theory, asian architecture and urbanism, cosmopolitanism

Asian Architecture and Urbanism
Sand Helsel, RMIT Architecture Assoc Prof, Director of International Development, School of Architecture & Design
Nigel Bertram
, RMIT Architecture Senior Lecturer, Director of Urban Architecture Laboratory
Anna Johnson, RMIT Architecture Lecturer
recurring offering, 2008-
This new course examines contemporary architecture in Asia in the context of the urban, social and cultural changes being driven by globalisation and rapid economic development. Case study Asian cities will be studied looking at the significant stages of historical development and emerging architectural design responses to urbanisation. Design practice strategies for working in an Asian urban context will be presented by architects actively practicing in the region.

related projects:
asian architecture & urbanism projects

Architectural Urbanism: Melbourne/Seoul Exhibition
Melanie Dodd, Assoc Professor, Head, RMIT Architecture. Practice: muf Aus

Opening: Thursday 28 March, 6.00 pm
Exhibition dates and times: 28 March - 5 April 2013, 11 am – 7 pm
Venue: K-ARTS Gallery, Korean National University of the Arts, Seoul

Architectural Urbanism is an ambition and sensibility for propositions that address the context of the city within the operative scale of the small architectural project. Architectural urbanism represents a tailoring of projects to the local; to the materiality and specificity of the everyday; and to the grain and substance of the location above all else. Architectural urbanism is less about erasure and more about insertion; infill; the weaving of old and new and the dynamics that evolve from subtle and careful manipulation of the city in detail.

The exhibition explores commonality in the apparently different contexts of both cities – speculating on these as forms of ‘architectural urbanism' in the contemporary city of the Asia-Pacific at its northern and southern extremes.

Architectural projects from five Melbourne architectural practitioners have been selected to exhibit in Seoul. The practices are: Muir Mendes, Baracco + Wright, Iredale Pederson Hook, NMBW Architecture Studio and Kerstin Thompson Architects - all of whom have strong links to the RMIT Architecture design research and teaching community. The exhibition features RMIT Architect academics, studio leaders and alumni that include:

Practice: Muir Mendes
Amy Muir
, Alumni, RMIT Architecture (Professional). RMIT Architecture Design Studio Leader
Bruno Mendes, Alumni, RMIT Architecture (Professional). RMIT Architecture Design Studio Leader

Practice: Baracco + Wright
Mauro Baracco
, RMIT Architecture Senior Lecturer
Louise Wright, Alumni, RMIT Architecture (Professional). Candidate, RMIT Architecture Phd.

Practice: Iredale Pederson Hook
Adrian Iredale, Alumni, RMIT Master of Architecture (Research)
Finn Pedersen, Alumni, RMIT Master of Architecture (Research)
Martyn Hook, RMIT Architecture Professor

Practice: NMBW
Nigel Bertram, Professor, Monash University. Past RMIT Architecture Senior Lecturer. Alumni, RMIT Master of Architecture (Research) UAL.
Lucinda McLean, RMIT Architecture Design Studio Leader
Marika Neustupny, RMIT Architecture Design Studio Leader

Practice: Kerstin Thompson Architects
Kerstin Thompson, RMIT Architecture Adjunct Professor. Alumni, RMIT Architecture (Professional). Alumni, RMIT Master of Architecture (Research)

Held in conjunction with the Korean National University of Arts there will be a symposium with presentations from four of the Melbourne architects.

The exhibition will be formally opened by the Deputy Australian Ambassador in Seoul.

This Exhibition is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council: an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

For interviews and general media enquiries contact:
Associate Professor, Melanie Dodd, Deputy Dean of Architecture, (03) 9925 3516 OR 0400 771657

A reciprocal exhibition in this series will be hosted at the RMIT Design Hub in 2014, co-curated by Jong-kyu Kim, Architect and Professor at K-ARTS Department of Architecture.


An urban research and design project that investigates how our everyday social sports could help to meet local and global challenges of urban design. Presented as an exhibition and public symposium at the ‘State of Design’ festival 2010.


Informal Exhibition Opening: July 1, 2010, 6pm
Exhibition Dates: July 2–18, 2010, open daily 9-5pm, with extended events, 5-8pm
Venue: RMIT Building 45, 33 Lygon Street

July 15, 2010, 1-6pm, Party: 6pm
RMIT Building 45, 33 Lygon Street

Following a presentation on Matchpoint.Melbourne, a public symposium explores and debates the themes centred around the project. The event concludes with a summary speech in the evening and a public party afterwards. Potential participants include representatives from the City of Melbourne, Sports and Recreation Victoria, Committee for Melbourne, Victoria Major Events Company, Big Issue, representatives from Adidas or Nike as well as architects and urban planners. The purpose of the symposium is to initiate a public discussion and put the topic on the agenda.

The outcomes of these events will be published in a book through RMIT/Innesbruck University Press


Thomas Fussenegger
0410 271120

    Dayne Trower, RMIT Master of Architecture (Professional) student

Peripheral Living Installation
Project Leaders: Nigel Bertram & Gretchen Wilkins - RMIT Architecture Urban Architecture Laboratory
with RMIT Master of Architecture (Professional Degree) Urban Architecture Design Studio students
& RMIT Master of Architecture (Research by Project) Urban Architecture candidates.
exhibited in:
Bushfire Australia
Tarrawarra Museum of Art
Healesville, Victoria
28 March - 25 July 2010

Bushfire Australia will examine the recurrence of bushfire imagery in the work of Australian artists. The exhibition will draw on works from state, public and private collections, including Australian historical paintings and new works made in direct response to the 2009 fires, creating a reflective, poignant and ultimately hopeful exploration of this dramatic Australian phenomenon.

2009 Design Challenge: Fire Competition and Exhibition
Presented by the Design Research Institute, RMIT University
The 2009 Design Challenge: Fire has brought together a diverse range of more than 75 researchers and experts to generate innovative transdisciplinary design projects in response to bushfires. This exhibition of the finalist teams' ideas is an insight into the role of design in fire prevention and planning, emergency response and the mitigation of fire impact and post-fire regeneration in our communities.

Design Competition Winners:
Polytactics, Team members: Firoz Alam, Jordi Beneyto-Ferre, Nigel Bertram (RMIT Architecture), Laura Harper (RMIT Architecture Alumni), Professor David Mainwaring (RMIT Applied Chemistry), Professor Robert Shanks, Victoria Smith and Associate Professor SueAnne Ware (RMIT Landscape Architecture)

The winning team received the RMIT Design Research Institute Challenge Award, a grant contribution to the value of $25,000 toward research and development of the proposal in 2010.

EXHIBITION DATES: 11 Nov 2009 - 28 Feb 2010, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM 
EXHIBITION VENUE: Melbourne Museum, Discovery Centre, Lower Foyer, Nicholson St, Carlton

Shortlisted Exhibited projects included:
Communication and Community Shelter Networks. Team Members: Luke Adams, Travis Dean, Jacqueline Edge, Rory Fort, Stuart Harrison (RMIT Architecture), Marcus White (RMIT Architecture) and Matt Tonner

Gavin Jennings, Victorian Sate Government Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Innovation
Professor Margaret Gardner AO, RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President
Jenny Bonnin, City Director, Clinton Climate Change Initiative
Naomi Brown, CEO, Australian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council
Brandon Gien, Executive Director, Australian International Design Awards and General Manager, Corporate Services, Standards Australia
Justin Leonard, Research Scientist, CSIRO
Tim Shannon, Managing Director, Hassell Architects

The competition is supported by:
Standards Australia
Australian International Design Awards
State of Design Festival
Victorian State Government

Design challenge searches for fire solutions

Kazunari Sakamoto, Tokyo Institute of Technology
House: Poetics in the Ordinary
RMIT Design Research Institute Exhibition
Curator: Nigel Bertram, RMIT Architecture Senior Lecturer; Co-Director: DRI Urban Liveability with Prof Sue Anne Ware; Director: RMIT Urban Architecture Laboratory; Practice Director: NMBW
Exhibition Dates: 08.04.09–02.05.09
Public Lecture: Wednesday 29.04.09 at 6.00 pm
Exhibition Closing Party: Wednesday 29.04.09 at 7:30pm
Venue: The Atrium, Federation Square, Corner Swanston & Flinders St, Melbourne

Prof. Sakamoto, of the Tokyo Institute of Technology is an internationally renowned Japanese architect. He was a student of Kazuo Shinohara and the teacher of Kaijima and of Tsukamoto of Atelier Bow-Wow, also of TITech. This exhibition presents Sakamoto's major works in residences and collective housing from the past 30 years. Kazunari Sakamoto’s architectural works emerge at the boundaries of everyday life. These consciously inconspicuous forms, both in a haphazard suburban setting or in the density of Tokyo, provide an entirely new spatial sensation.

This exhibition continues the Design Research Institute’s interest in the discussion that expands the conventional focus on “housing” as a general economic or social condition to include examination of the individual dwelling and its spatial contexts. Moving beyond the large scale and the spectacular, this exhibition will demonstrate the importance contemporary Japanese culture attaches to the activities and environments of everyday life.

Kazunari Sakamoto
"House: Poetics in the Ordinary"
RMIT Design Research Institute Public Lecture
Introduced By Prof Geoffrey London, Victorian Government Architect
Date: Wednesday 29.04.09
Lecture Time: 6:00pm
Exhibition Closing Party: from 7.30 pm onwards
Venue: ACMI Cinema 1, Federation Square, Corner Swanston & Flinders St , Melbourne VIC 3000

The RMIT Design Research Institute invites you to a public lecture by visiting Professor Kazunari Sakamoto of the Tokyo Institute of Technology. It is an opportunity to hear Professor Sakamoto discuss his architectural composition and how it finds greater significance in everyday life than in aesthetic expression. It is this ‘absolute commonness of the everyday’ that presents to him a space of freedom that enables a communication between the body and the world. This lecture is followed by an exhibition closing party and drinks.

related projects:
asian architecture & urbanism

Shared Space Hobart
: An exhibition of RMIT Architecture student projects for Sullivans Cove
Exhibition Venue: Australian Institute of Architects, Tasmanian Chapter, 1/19a Hunter Street, Hobart
Exhibition Dates: 26 March - 9 April 2009
Opening: Thursday 26 March, 5.30 - 7.00pm
to be launched by James Jones, Tasmanian Chapter President
Curator/Studio Leader:
Nigel Bertram, RMIT Architecture Senior Lecturer, Director: Urban Architecture Laboratory. Practice Director: NMBW; Member, Sullivans Cove Design Panel
Exhibiting RMIT Architecture Students:
Nur Syazana Adnan, Lap Top Au, Alfred Jun Keat Chuah, Charles Dewanto, Marcello Donati, Helen Duong, Kylie Freeman, Joachim Hackl, James Jamison, Jelena Knezevic, Sam Perversi-Brooks, Augustine Savage, Anson Tsui

Sponsoring partner:
Sullivans Cove Watefront Authority, Hobart

ULCE 001: Urban Livability Collective Exhibition
Design for Everyday, Exhibition Catalogue.
Yarra Sculpture Gallery, Melbourne, 01/10/08-21/10/08.
RMIT Architecture, Industrial Design, & Landscape Architecture,
Upperpool Design Studios, 2008, 
RMIT School of Architecture & Design.
Supported by the RMIT Design Research Institute - Urban Livability Program.
Curator: Sue Anne Ware.

Shane Murray,
Diego Ramirez-Lovering, Simon Whibley (Eds)
Melbourne: RMIT Press, 2008

REHOUSING examines recent transformations in the contexts surrounding housing in Australia and reconsiders architecture's involvement in, or contribution to the general provision of housing. It presents a survey of 24 illustrated case studies and 3 thematic essays focusing on the relationship between architecture and housing and the opportunities for architecture to contribute to these conditions.

Publication project leader:
Simon Whibley, RMIT Architecture Lecturer, RMIT Urban Architecture Laboratory

RMIT Architecture student publication project team:
Allison Claney, Karim Chami, Mariana Jahufer, Rachel Soo, Rueben Kuah and Samantha Chang

Related event:
reHousing: UAL International Housing Conference and Exhibition
RMIT, Melbourne, October, 2006
Co-Convenors: Shane Murray, Diego Ramirez and Simon Whibley

Diego Ramirez-Lovering  (Ed),
Melbourne, RMIT Press, 2008

sample pages from the book

This book was launched by Melanie Dodd, Architecture Program Director, RMIT University

DATE: Wednesday 19th November 2008, 6pm - 8pm
VENUE: "The Basketball Court", RMIT Building 45 Studios (Rear), 33 Lyon Street Carlton (corner of Earl Street opp Trades Hall)

key themes: globalisation, rapid third-world urbanisation, low-income housing, community infrastructure, opportunistic local development, mexican/latin american urban culture

Building Tokyo
Bachelor of Architectural Design Elective, Semester 1, 2008
Gretchen Wilkins, Visiting Academic, University of Michigan
This elective investigates the urban development of Tokyo in the post-war period.

related projects:
asian architecture & urbanism

ASA/RMIT Architecture - International Architecture & Urban Design Study Tour, 2008
Contemporary European Architecture & Urban Design and the Heritage of Modernism
International Travelling Urban Seminar & Study Tour
Tour Leader, 2008: Stuart Harrison,  RMIT Architecture Lecturer
Tour participants: practitioners; students; interested travellers
2008 Itinerary:
Finland: Helsinki (5 nights), Jyväskylä (2 nights), Netherlands: Amsterdam (4 nights), Rotterdam (3 nights), UK: London (5 nights)
For further information go to:

- ASA/RMIT Study Tour Itinerary, 2008 (pdf)

- ASA: CC608 Modern and Contemporary European Architecture & Urban Design
- ASA Home page

Previous Intineraries 1998-2005 included:
Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic
Tour Leader 1998-2005: Shane Murray, Urban Architecture Laboratory Director
Tour Leader 2002: Brent Allpress, RMIT Architecture Program Director

Homeless World Cup, Copenhagen, 2007

Homeless World Cup, Melbourne 2008
Upperpool Design Studio, Semester 2, 2007
Sudio Leader: Nigel Bertram, Director, Urban Architecture Laboratory, Practice: NMBW
This studio was commissioned to develop proposals for the siting and hosting of the Homeless World Cup, Melbourne 2008
Homeless World Cup - Melbourne 2008
Melbourne bid (pdf)
Wikipedia entry
Homeless World Cup
The Big Issue
City of Melbourne


RMIT Architecture Exhibition
Studio Leaders/Curators: Shane Murray and Nigel Bertram
Melbourne Central Skybridge,
Level 2, between Melbourne Central and Myers, across Lonsdale Street
Exhibition Opening Time:
6.00 pm, Thursday 28th June, 2007
Opening Address: John Denton, Victorian Government Architect
Committee for Melbourne
Winning exhibited project:
Melbourne Vacancy Exchange

Micro Macro City
Australian Pavilion Exhibition
Venice Architecture Biennale 2006
Creative Directors:
Shane Murray & Nigel Bertram, RMIT Architecture Urban Architecture Laboratory

Gretchen Wilkins

Director: Urban Architecture Laboratory, RMIT Architecture