Room11 + La Biennale di Venezia

Room11 Architects have been selected to exhibit at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, being held from May 26th – Nov 25th 2018.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara titled the 16th International Architecture Exhibition Freespace, and explained their choice with the following words:

“Freespace describes a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture’s agenda, focusing on the quality of space itself.

Freespace focuses on architecture’s ability to provide free and additional spatial gifts to those who use it and on its ability to address the unspoken wishes of strangers.

Freespace celebrates architecture’s capacity to find additional and unexpected generosity in each project – even within the most private, defensive, exclusive or commercially restricted conditions.

Freespace provides the opportunity to emphasise nature’s free gifts of light – sunlight and moonlight, air, gravity, materials – natural and man-made resources.

Freespace encourages reviewing ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world, of inventing solutions where architecture provides for the well being and dignity of each citizen of this fragile planet.

Freespace can be a space for opportunity, a democratic space, un-programmed and free for uses not yet conceived. There is an exchange between people and buildings that happens, even if not intended or designed, so buildings themselves find ways of sharing and engaging with people over time, long after the architect has left the scene. Architecture has an active as well as a passive life.

Freespace encompasses freedom to imagine, the free space of time and memory, binding past, present and future together, building on inherited cultural layers, weaving the archaic with the contemporary”.

Photograph: Ben Hosking


Our D’Entrecasteaux House has been published in a new book written by Karen McCartney for Belle Magazine Australia.

This gorgeously assembled publication features a portrait of our practice and a feature on the stone home we built on a windswept hillside overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Superb photography by the super talented Ben Hosking accompany McCartney’s thoughtful analysis. We are very proud to be in this beautiful book.

For more please go to

Lighthouse + Penguin publication

Our Lighthouse has been included in a new book by Catherine Foster which takes a look at living in littleness. The virtues of small space are illustrated in 21 homes from around Australia:

Living in smaller houses is a growing trend worldwide as land prices rise and people want to have a smaller ecological footprint and live with less stuff. Catherine Foster shows us 21 Australian examples under 90sqm

To read more please go to

Photograph by Ben Hosking


D’entrecasteaux House is on the shortlist of fifteen fine projects being considered for this years Australian Institute of Architects, National Award for Residential Architecture (New).

The AIA Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements and excellence in architecture and will be announced at the Albert Hall, Canberra, on Thursday 2 November.

Vote for the People Choice Award here

D’entrecasteaux House is located in a remote bay on Bruny Island, South of Hobart. Bespoke glazing details provide the perfect counterpoint to the gritty reality of the stone.

Containing dolerite walls provide protection in the remote landscape. A black timber interior sits tautly within perimeter walls.

The house is intensely private and screened from three sides. On the forth edge, the home opens to the panorama of the D’entrecasteaux Channel and the ever unfolding drama of the weather upon the water.

Private and protected outdoor spaces are created in the spaces between the essentially orthogonal plan, and the perimeter walls which have a subtly differently orientation.

Bends Pool Finalist Think Brick 2017

From the Think Brick 2017 Jury:

“This project stands out for its inventive use of concrete block, monumental appearance and the wonderful way the colour and texture of the material are in conversation with the landscape”

High above Hobart, on a steep slope with a Ray Heffernan home, room11 has built a beautiful bespoke blockwork landscape. The brief called for new landscape architecture elements including a pool, outdoor living spaces, retaining walls, fence and parking area. The client and architect shared a desire to design something seamlessly, and blockwork was the first choice as a material which could confidently construct all of the landscape architecture elements required. 20.01, 30.01 and 20.48 units have been used to create a continuous terrain. Vertical surfaces are significant components of the steeply sloping site, and blockwork provides a consistency within the scheme. Pale, sophisticated and fully integrated with the Heffernan House, the Bends Pool uses blockwork to cleverly and carefully augment the life of its occupants with new outdoor elements and experiences.

5 AIA Awards

Room11 has received five awards in the 2017 Australian Institute of Architects, Tasmanian Chapter, Awards!

Shambles Brewery has received the Barry McNeill Award for Sustainable Architecture and an Award for Commercial Architecture.

D’entrecasteaux House was awarded the Prize for Residential Architecture whilst the Nelson House received a commendation in the Houses (New) category.

Thomas Bailey was named the 2017 Emerging Architect.

We wish to offer our most sincere thanks to our staff, clients and collaborators. We would also like to extend our thanks the Australian Institute of Architects, Tasmanian Chapter and the Tasmanian Architecture Awards Jury.

Further details soon…

Lighthouse + archello

We were pleased indeed to see that our Lighthouse has been selected for publication by the fine folks at archello.

Lighthouse is a small, smart and sweet little intercity home which sits secretly in suburbia. Enclosed on all sides, this compact courtyard house enjoys privacy and all-day sun with a refined and subdued vocabulary. Lighthouse offers ‘small u’ urbanism in the provincial capital that is Hobart, Tasmania.

Archello is an online platform that tells multiple stories around projects, from the manufacturer to the architect, making it a rich and complete platform for architecture and design.

Thomas Bailey + Vault

Toby Fehily had a caffeinated chat with our very own Thomas Bailey in Melbourne recently.

In an interview for Vault Magazine, they discussed landscape, Leplastrier and a new laboratory room11 is currently designing for MONA.

“The contemplative work of Hobart studio room11 reflects the belief that the grandest designs aren’t a product of architectural vision but rise, instead, from the natural world”

To read the rest go to

Room11+ AIA National Conference: Praxis

Room11 has been invited to speak at this years AIA National Conference.

The National Architecture Conference is one of the biggest events of the Australian architecture calendar and 2017 will be no exception.

The stimulating conference program has been curated by National President Prof Ken Maher and Prof Helen Lochhead. Their industry expertise and international connections have inspired a program that explores processes of thought, engagement and action: process, propositions and production.

For further details please refer to

Room11 + AV Journal

Room11 featured in the forthcoming issue of AV Journal.

Architect Victoria is the official journal of the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter. It is published in print format as a magazine and is also available for free online. Regular editions of Architect Victoria are published quarterly in summer, autumn, winter and spring.

please click here to find out more

Room 11 & MONA

We are delighted to be working with MONA on our latest urban project:  Heavy Metals Lab.

Won by invitational competition, this project involves the construction of a large submerged ring which moves hydraulically with the tide. Part Art, part spectacle and part scientific instrument the project offers a new mechanism for people to interact with and understand the Derwent River which has a difficult history. Heavy Metals were routinely dumped until relatively recently. This has had people outraged for some time. MONA has made a commitment to doing something about it. Room11 Architects have been commissioned to create submerged architecture which brings the state of the Derwent to collective attention. Haptic experience and technical data will be deployed in the battle for hearts and minds – raising awareness regarding an important environmental initiative.  Prototyping underway now. 

MONA – GASP fun run!

  • 8KM RUN MONA to MONA via GASP!

This year Glenorchy will again play host to the MONA GASP! Fun Run. Your chance to run through the cultural hub of Tasmania! The event will kick off at 8am on Sunday 20 March. The event offers an 8km run starting and ending at MONA via GASP! and a 4km run/walk leaving from Wilkinson’s Point, travelling along GASP!, Montrose Bay and ending at MONA. Following the race, hungry competitors will get the chance to refuel with breakfast provided by MONA. Glenorchy residents are encouraged to participate and can take advantage of an entry fee discounted to $25.

More information and course map at

Room11 Lecture – MADA

Aaron Roberts and Thomas Bailey presenting at Monash University.

Wednesday 14 October @ 1.00pm (please note new start time)

Lecture Theatre G1.04, MADA Monash Art Design & Architecture
900 Dandenong Road Caulfield East Victoria
Free entry / all welcome

Lookout House – DWELL magazine

As thrilling as travel may be, there’s nothing like returning to the familiar, private comfort of one’s own home. But what if you could enjoy the beauty of an exotic locale without ever leaving your living room? One aging husband and wife in Port Arthur, Tasmania, hold that rare privilege. Their recently constructed home, designed by Room 11 Architects, commands jaw-dropping views of rugged Tasman Island and the peaceful Southern Ocean beyond. “The clients were interested in consolidating the considerable potential of the site, specifically its spectacular scenery,” architect Nathan Crump says. The firm achieved this by installing floor-to-ceiling windows across the entire eastern length of the dwelling, offering a dreamy panorama of the Australian coast. The Lookout House, as the architect dubbed it, gives a whole new meaning to armchair travel.

Read the full article here

World’s top foodies treated to dinner at GASP

As part of a four-day culinary adventure across Australia, the world’s top Culinary experts finished on Friday night with a $1.5 million feast for 250 people at GASP and MONA. 

Australian food celebrities included Matt Moran, Maggie Beer, Stephanie Alexander, Matt Preston, George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan, Jock ZonfrilloMark Olive, 

Experts from the across the globe attended, included

  • Alice Waters, Chef, Author, Proprietor – USA
  • Eric Ripert, Award-winning Chef, Restaurateur, Author and TV Personality – USA
  • Adrian Anthony Gill, TV and Restaurant Critic, Author – UK
  • Sanjeev Kapoor, Celebrity Chef, Restaurateur, TV Presenter – India
  • Yifan Liu, Celebrity Chef, TV Show host – China
  • Sherson Lian, Celebrity Chef and Host – Malaysia
  • Lorenzo Cogo, Chef – Italy
  • Heston Blumenthal – UK


Read about the event through local and international  media stories below.

World’s top foodies treated to top produce at Hobart gala dinner – ABC


Australia Invites the World to Dinner – Wall Street Journal


Tasmania showcased to some of the world’s top foodies – The Mercury


Tourism Australia hosts the country’s greatest ever dinner party for the food andwine elite – Tourism Australia


Gwyneth Paltrow and Heston Blumenthal among guests at November tourism event in Tasmania – ABC


World dinner to highlight our seafood – Brand Tasmania

Heston Blumenthal confirmed to attend Restaurant Australia gala dinner – Tourism Australia

Blackburn show room – The Age

Whitehorse Road, Blackburn, is not only a busy thoroughfare, but also a strip burgeoning with signage. Literally each building is beckoning for attention, with advertisements competing for drivers’ attention. So when it came to developing a prominent corner site, the architects, Room 11, together with developers Zero Nine, took a different approach.

Read the full article by Stephen Crafti here : 

See the latest apartment project with Developer Zero Nine here


Thomas Bailey – Architectural Walling Solutions in Concrete – CCAA

Architectural Walling Solutions in Concrete


Think you know all there is to know about concrete walling? 

 The Architectural Walling Solutions in Concrete seminar will surprise you, and at the same time, challenge the way you approach the task of designing, specifying and constructing concrete walls. You’ll come away with a new appreciation of what can be achieved with concrete.

  • Off-form concrete finishes – presented by Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia
  • GASP! Project – presented by Room 11 Architects

Who should be there?
Anyone involved in the design, specification and/or construction of concrete walls in facades and/or internal spaces – residential or commercial – including architects, building designers, developers and builders.

What does the seminar cover?
The seminar is split into two sessions. The first 30-minute session includes an overview of the planning, specification and construction steps necessary to achieve high quality concrete finishes. It will also cover how to manage expectations and outcomes of in-situ concrete works. This session will be presented by Komal Krishna, Engineer – Construction Solutions with CCAA.   The second 40 min session looks at concrete walling form an architectural perspective and focus around case study of the award winning Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (GASP!), designed by Room 11 Architects. It will look at the challenging and rewarding aspects of designing with concrete and how the built form relates to the surrounding landscape. This session will be presented by Thomas Bailey – Lead Architect for the GASP! Project with Room 11 Architects.

Date:    Thursday 13th November

Venue: Harbour View Room, Hotel Grand Chancellor, 1 Davey Street, Hobart

Time:   5:30 Registration

Cost:    $35 (incl GST)

The seminar will conclude with a networking session with drinks and refreshments.

For further information contact Suzy Mahney on (03) 9825 0200 or email

11/13/2014 5:30 PM
Harbour View Room
Hotel Grand Chancellor
1 Davey Street
Hobart, TAS


Jury citation

GASP, the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park, is an evocative and memorable urban project. It includes a series of paths, bridges, buildings and landscapes that extend in an arc around Elwick Bay in Hobart, across the water from MONA. GASP Stage One received a National Award for Urban Design in 2013, and it is a great achievement for the subsequent stage to be awarded a year later. In the jury’s opinion, GASP Stage Two is even stronger than the first.

The main pathway, initiated in Stage One, has now been extended to sweep out to a river promontory. It starts at a new pedestrian bridge, with artful polychromatic timber balusters creating a zoetrope-like view to the waters of the Derwent, and continues towards a striking end pavilion. Long concrete walls with huge coloured glass inserts frame the pavilion, which then cantilevers heroically out over the river. The rose-coloured glass wall and yellow glazed roof panels transform the building into an artwork in its own right, encouraging visitors to reconsider the familiar landscapes they are looking at. The pavilion frames a courtyard salvaged from former industrial uses and connects to a superb new amenities block and ferry wharf. Past uses have been carefully celebrated and engage with the new work through subtle plantings and striking new screen walls. This is a bold and confident project that frames views, gives shelter from the elements and celebrates the broader landscape beyond.

This project transforms the neglected river frontage and provides a spectacular setting for permanent artworks, temporary exhibitions, special events and performances. It is a remarkable achievement to have a local authority sponsor such a powerful and significant urban project and, in response, the architects have created something urbane and truly poetic.

Read the project review by Aaron Peters and Paul Owen from Architecture Australia.


Room11 are pleases to announce our involvement in the RMIT Symposium and Exhibition  SITUATION.  We are working closely with artists Keith Deverell and Marcus Cook.

The 7th IDEA international symposium hosted and convened by RMIT Interior Design.
RMIT Design Hub, Melbourne, Australia
31 July to 3 August 2014
With Keynote Situators Ed Hollis & Bianca Hester

Please come along friday night to view our installation TEST_001

RMIT Design Hub Level 2 ( Rm11 work on roof! )
July 23 – Aug 3
Drinks Friday Aug 1
6 – 8pm

SITUATION brings attention to the designing of interiors as a practice engaged in spatial and temporal production; a practice that works in the midst of social, cultural, historical, political forces; a practice open to contingency, chance and change; a practice engaged with singularity and specificity. SITUATION highlights ideas of event and the eventful nature of interiors, lived space-time compositions in constant change; atmospheric compositions as distinct from artifacts; ephemerality; uniqueness; one-offs; a multiplicity of experience.


Test_001 offers an elsewhere ecology, a place of no context that permits an individual’s participation in its evolution. The work maps movement and mood, amplifying one’s sense of self in space. Minimal digital manifestations of light and sound are generated through an intensely raw and textural interface, combining algorithms with rubble; code mixes with dust. Test_001 explores how technology may affect the most basic of materials and, in turn, establish an intensely empathetic relationship between person and place.

An ongoing investigation into how materials can possess a defined and coded artificial intelligence is key to the development of Test_001. The questions lie in a future experience where materials can map, interpret and translate their surrounds and those that interact with them. The work begins by providing a landscape of urban dissonance where personalities in materials are born from use. At play is an opportunity for an audience to develop a sympathetic partnership with their environment; from a destabilised ground plane to a subtly shifting light and soundscape. Particular experiences are triggered through the movement and pace of the user. Calm movements trigger a subtle compositional shift; however, if a person moves aggressively through the space, their actions will trigger a more dramatic change in their environment – a disturbance, an evolution, and a level of resistance. In this back and forth engagement of user and space, the work will regulate itself and aim to then adapt its users through artificial means. If many people enter and over-stimulate/overload the system it will flare up and respond in kind, offering its own defensive shutdown. The intensity should build. An overbalance should be stated. Materials and technology produce a situation where discord and balance can be achieved through a learned approach that morphs and adjusts over time.

An attempt is made here to locate a person within an elsewhere site and to generate a situation that short-circuits the traditional signifiers of past and future, and offers, perhaps for at least a short time, a moment of suspended affect; an activated and open present.i Behind this project is an intense fascination with the latent possibilities and the chaotic uncanny powers of cities and buildings in flux, of an architecture of the incomplete. A narrative is there that speaks of dust having memory, of rubble having intelligence, and of reification becoming standard, whereby the experienced perception contains more explicit spatial information than the sensory stimulus on which it is based.

Test_001 has been developed by Room11 Architects in collaboration with artists and sound producers Keith Deverell and Marcus Cook, and with kind sponsorship from Warwick Fabrics, Lovelight Blinds, Light Project and Mackie Audio.

i Barakin, A. Parallel Presents: The Art of Pierre Huyghe. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2012.

Keith Deverell
Keith Deverell is an Australian/UK video, sound and installation artist residing in Melbourne, Australia. Keith’s background spans video art, installation art, graphic design, interaction design and experimental programming. Keith’s work is highly poetic in its exploration of gesture and politics, observational and documentary forms, and the relationship between place and identity.

Marcus Cook
Marcus Cook is an emerging sound artist (Default Jamerson, Pewter Snake Necklace, Nokes & Cook) and a professional sound/video/electronics technician. Marcus runs Shogun Lodge Services, which offers technical support to artists and events, and is also a co-founder of the Sabbatical Records label.

Steering Committee

Dr Suzie Attiwill, associate professor, Interior Design, RMIT University
Roger Kemp, program director, Interior Design, RMIT University
Christopher Cottrell, associate lecture, Interior Design, RMIT University
Caroline Vains, associate lecturer, Interior Design, RMIT University
Nick Rebstadt, RMIT Interior Design graduate.

Symposium Convenors/Arrangers

Dr Suzie Attiwill, associate professor, RMIT Interior Design
Philippa Murray, lecturer, RMIT Interior Design

Exhibition Curatorium

Dr Suzie Attiwill, associate professor, RMIT Interior Design
Simon Maidment, Curator of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria
Kate Rhodes, Curator of Design, Design Hub, RMIT University
Sven Mehzoud, program director, Interior Architecture, Monash University

Juhani Pallasmaa visits GASP

A recent trip to the state for the Tasmanian Architectural Narratives Workshop, allowed Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, author of ‘The Eyes of the Skin – Architecture and the Senses‘, to visit the Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park with Thomas Bailey.

Room11’s Thomas Bailey and Megan Baynes were guest speakers at the event alongside Dr Carmen Fiol-Costa, Richard Leplastrier, John Wardle, Craig Rosevear & Juhani Pallasmaa – a full list of the guest speakers can be seen here and a review of the event here.


2014 Tasmanian Architecture Awards

Following on from a successful Stage 01, which received an Award for Urban Design at both the Tasmanian and National Architecture Awards in 2013, GASP! Stage 02 “was lauded by the jury as a focal point around which to build community pride and collective memory, receiving the 2014 Dirk Bolt Award for Urban Design.”

Room11 are excited to be heading to the National Awards again with Stage 2 of the project.

See the project in full here

domus – Best of #pavilions

“With the approach of the Venice Biennale and of Milan Expo 2015 the theme of the pavilion returns topical.

Many architectural types fall into this category: from educational space to architectural folly, from bar to belvedere.

Among the best known in the world there is the temporary Pavilion outside the entrance to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. Designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, the new Serpentine Pavilion is a semi-translucent, cylindrical structure: a shell resting on large quarry stones.

In Australia, Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park hosts GASP!, designed by Room 11, where colour and architecture have been used as a vehicle for re-evaluation and re-appreciation of place, creating unity between the bay and the experience.”

read more at domus

dwell – Our first US cover

GASP features on the cover of the May issue of American architecture journal dwell

“This week we journey to Tasmania, where we show you Australian firm Room11’s viewing platform that ‘manipulates human perception.'”

Room11 on cover of Architecture Australia

Review : Aaron Peters, Paul Owen

“In Room11’s contribution to the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park in Tasmania, saturated hues and formal restraint orchestrate dramatic views of the surrounding landscape.”

Room11 win National Award for Urban Design

Gasp stage 1 has won an Australian Institute of Architects National Award for Urban Design 2013.

Jury citation

In a simple but powerful gesture, GASP inscribes an arc around Elwick Bay on Hobart’s Derwent River. This arc becomes a delightful walkway that offers shifting spatial experiences and environmental conditions along its length – one walks within the reeds, along the edge of terra firma and across the water between small inlets and the river.

GASP demonstrates a clever understanding of landscape and scale. The colourful, shimmering line reads effectively at multiple scales – seen at a distance across the water (from MONA), in motion from a car speeding along the arterial road, and ambling along on foot or bicycle. In turn, the pathway and the pavilions that punctuate it provide changing views of distant and close landscapes.

GASP brings a fresh perspective to this part of the city, linking it into broader urban networks (connecting, for example, to the inner-city cycleway), while also re-establishing the area as a destination in its own right. As a result, this forgotten, neglected shoreline – which had been severed from the life of the community by roads and the remains of infrastructure – is once again appreciated and valued.

The path itself is built in a robust, straightforward manner, but the clever use of colour lifts it far above the everyday. These vibrant, shifting tones work surprisingly well with the natural environment and are tempered through the use of natural timber surfaces within the pavilions. Here, in these spaces for pause and leisure, materials and details are more refined.

The project is “raw,” yet also subtle and sophisticated. Completed on a tight budget, it makes a rich and layered urban contribution with minimal means.

See our award online with the other National winners here

Listen to ABC interview here


fantástico!! DOMUS

GASP! Stage Two, designed by Room 11, is the penultimate gesture of the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park. Colour and architecture have been used as a vehicle for re-evaluation and re-appreciation of place, creating unity between the bay and the experience.


See it online here

Room11 win State CCAA Public Domain Award for GASP! stage 2

The biennial awards prgram from the Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia (CCAA) recognize innovative and exciting applications of concrete to enhance the public domain in projects Australia-wide. GASP! stage 2 has won the 2013 State award for Tasmania.

Jury: This year’s distinguished panel is chaired by Professor Gini Lee, the Elizabeth Murdoch Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of Melbourne. Fellow Jury members  are Daniel Bennett, Director of DJB_LA and Vice President of the South Australian Chapter of AILA; Professor Philip Follent, the Head of School at the Soheil Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University; and Peter Poulet, the NSW Government Architect.

Architect : Room11 Architects
Landscape Architect : McGregor Coxall




We enjoyed hosting NAM in November –

Thanks to organisers Eugenia Tan, Andy Yu and Meron Tierney  + fellow presenters Branch Studio, Molecule, Fold Theory, and Nils Koenning

be sure to check out the next NAM event!


Event photos:
Emilia Fabris Sophie Weber Gretel Stent

Room11 on Wallpaper

Once quaint Hobart has been recast as a small but modern city in the past two years. GASP 2 (Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park Stage 2) responds both to the surrounding waterside landscape and a newfound sophistication in the city – sparked by the creation of MONA, a privately owned, A$80 million museum that has attracted art-savvy tourism. Local firm Room 11 Architects, lead by chief architect Thomas Bailey, created GASP 2. A concrete pavilion, it serves as both a ferry terminal servicing MONA and a stop-off point for those who prefer to cycle to the gallery along GASP 1 – a 4k-long wooden boardwalk and pathway.

Read more



Room11 / GASP – Amongst best new Architectural tourist locations – The Age

Build it and they will come. Or will they? Belinda Jackson rounds up the best newcomers on the architecture scene.

“Could you visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower? Or miss the Blue Mosque when in Istanbul? The Tower Bridge is a London essential and Cairo’s pyramids are possibly the oldest tourist site on the map.

But tell friends you’re going to Oslo to see the new design by Renzo Piano and chances are you’ll be tarred with a try-hard hipster tag. “Architecture is the great public art,” says Eoghan Lewis, architect and founder of Sydney Architecture Walk, in defence of architectural tourism.”

Read the full article online at The Age

Room11’s Thomas Bailey to Speak at Affirmative Architecture

Affirmative Architecture has been conceived as an annual event that seeks to define an emergent trend amongst young architects and designers to re-engage with the ability of architecture and the design process to make life better.

Consisting of a symposium and associated exhibition it draws together international and Australian architects who have demonstrated commitment to a social agenda and have made significant contribution to the public realm. In a contemporary context, these practitioners have a positive consideration of social engagement, careful analysis of existing conditions and a deliberate, often challenging architectural response.

In 2013, University of Sydney Alumni and Staff including Adjunct Professor Rachel Neeson, Dr Lee Stickells, David Neustein and Hannah Tribe will join Professor Martyn Hook from RMIT University in convening Affirmative Architecture Sydney.

Curated as a series of interactive lectures and panel discussions the speakers describe their predominately built work and real projects that address real problems.

The event has demonstrated a real concern for the role of the architect in society and a driver of cultural and developmental change. The critical question here is what contribution architects and architecture can make in each situation and how might their research, strategies and skills make a real difference to everyday life.

Event Poster


NAM – New Architects Melbourne @ Room11

Room11 to Host next NAM!

To RSVP on eventbrite click here

New Architects Melbourne (NAM) began in the Brunswick, Melbourne in April 2010 as an informal get together of small local architectural studios and colleagues who knew of people that have recently started their own practice. It provided a platform for new architects to present their story, vision and design processes and sensibilities in a casual, environment in front of peers and enthusiasts alike. On one hand it provides exposure to a particular vibrant aspect of the local industry as well as building connections and networks between architects, designers, architectural publishers and journalists, and the like.

Themes, Format and Vision

One of the running themes of NA M is a referrals process that brings more established and acclaimed architectural practices in contact with young unknown firms in order for potential clients that cannot be accommodated by the more established practices to channel these opportunities to the NAs.

NA Ms gatherings feature brief and concise presentations by local practices, talking about their project/s featuring them at various stages from speculative to completion. Each of these gatherings are held about 3-4 times a year in a various locations around Melbourne. Up til today, NA M is not officially affiliated with any established organisations or institutions and runs without financial sponsorship. It is reliant on the contributions of everyone that is passionate and generous with their time, energy with their presentations and hosting.

NA M are interested in following and partaking in the journey of people as they embark upon one of the most exhilarating, terrifying, exhausting and rewarding endeavours an architect could ever make. Their own practice. NA M hopes to continue over an extended period of time to see through the development of practices even to the point of seeing a giving back of support, mentoring and knowledge to the next generation of new architects.

We are excited to be able to part of raising the confidence, competence, skill and profile of architects that all have talent and heart to make valuable contributions to our built environment and therefore our community.

All things are possible through vision, determination and encouragement.

Royal Wolf – Under construction

Construction is underway for the site office and Victorian HQ of Royal Wolf, a shipping container alteration and supply company.  Utilising the steel fabrication skill sets of the container company, Room11 take the regular claustrophobic shipping container site office and transform it into a spacious light filled internal oasis. Positioned next to a major road in an industrial area with the constant drone of semi trailers, the office is internalised, the gardens bringing light and tranquility to an otherwise loud and hectic industrial intersection.

2013 National Architecture Awards shortlist – GASP

Gasp stage 1 has been announced on the 2013 National Architecture Awards shortlist.

Sixty projects have been shortlisted in the 2013 National Architecture Awards, with education and science-based buildings dominating the public category. The Australian Institute of Architects will announce the awards at a dinner on Thursday 7 November at the Sydney Opera House. On the 2013 jury were: Shelley Penn (AIA immediate past national president), Richard Hassell (WOHA Singapore), Ben Hewett (South Australian Government Architect), Justine Clark (Parlour) and Sydney architect Hannah Tribe (Tribe Studio).

Room11 – Rock the Shack

The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs

From weekend homes to get-away cabins, this architecture embodies our longing for relaxing in nature.
Rock the Shack takes us to the places we long for. For the first time in the history of humankind, more people live in cities than in the country. Yet, at the same time, more and more city dwellers are yearning for rural farms, mountain cabins, or seaside homes. These kinds of refuges offer modern men and women a promise of what urban centers usually cannot provide: quiet, relaxation, being out of reach, getting back to basics, feeling human again.Rock the Shack is a survey of such contemporary refuges from around the world—from basic to luxury. The book features a compelling range of sparingly to intricately furnished cabins, cottages, second homes, tree houses, transformations, shelters, and cocoons. The look of the included structures from the outside is just as important as the view from inside. What these diverse projects have in common is an exceptional spirit that melds the uniqueness of a geographic location with the individual character of the building’s owner and architect.
Editors: S. Ehmann, S. Borges
Release Date: February 2013
Format: 24 x 30 cm
Features: 240 pages, full color, hardcover
Language: English
ISBN: 978-3-89955-466-3

New Room11 Hobart Studio

Room11 hobart is relocating to a shop front in Macquarie st south hobart. Alongside being able to watch live architects in action from the pavement- Keep your eye out for events , gallery openings, guest talks, jumble sales, thought provoking magazines and tomes and Friday night drinks. Drop in and say hello and talk to us about your next project?

Flinders St Station : John Wardle Architects, Grimshaw, Room11

Room11 are part of the team shortlisted for the Flinders Street Station Competition. Please take the time to cast your vote for your preferred station design in the People’s Choice Award . Voting takes place online from 23 July to the 5 August at

The collaboration between John Wardle Architects and Grimshaw, working closely with Room 11 Architects, RBA Heritage Architects and SKM Engineers, has brought together a highly diverse team of Australian and international architects to design the rejuvenation of Flinders Street Station. The design is finally revealed as part of the People’s Choice Award launch by Major Projects Victoria, showcasing the six short-listed competitors.

Our design conceives the station as an ensemble, each part precisely considerate of its place in the city. The theatrical nature of the station is amplified by the stitching of city to river. Landscape, bridges and vaults are the threads.

Rather than a classic European end of the line station with a grand internalised hall, the approach has been to focus on the urban edges – the interfaces with the city. The station is not an oasis, separate from the city.

Our design emphasises great public spaces at the four edges of the station. A grand bustling station plaza opposite Federation Square is sheltered by the edge of a new design museum. A new park at the west end leaps across the train lines weaving together the bridges over the Yarra River into the greater fabric of the city. Vaulted archways hold niche activities to enliven the river walk and elevated gardens over the top of the arches link park to plaza. A new Grand Railway Dining Room and restored Ballroom bookend the historic buildings along the Flinders Street city edge. In the centre, the new concourse bridges become promenades further tying the river back to the city.

Together, these ideas respond to our central theme of “Transport Theatre” where the station is a place for watching the daily life of the city. It is built upon the experience of movement to include the theatrical and varied nature of civic experiences – promenades, vaults, amphitheatres, seats, parks, and the spectacle.

The design responds to practical and critical transport demands, in particular the need to reimagine the station to cater for the significant growth in public transport patronage. Our decision to reorientate the existing concourse to the north allows the station to operate in a highly effective way, drawing people through the historic building fabric, and releases the eastern end of the precinct for new civic use.

John Wardle, Principal, noted that the urban context was very different along each edge of the site ; the city on Flinders Street, Federation Square to the east, the river to the south, and the rail lines to the west. Wardle states “In a city known for its intimate spaces, like its laneways, we see each of these conditions requiring its own response. Our design seeks a natural flow of people across the station – both at concourse level and the underpasses and vaults. This stitching pattern of pathways across the railway lines has become the emblem of the project for us.”

Neil Stonell, Partner at Grimshaw Architects adds “Our approach is driven by a crafted balancing of urban place making with a strategic redesign of the station, allowing us to reimagine one of Melbourne’s most loved and historic buildings as the heart of the new station This newly invigorated Flinders Street Station will meet the demands of the coming decades, while being eminently achievable within the complex environment in which it exists.”

Aaron Roberts of Room 11: “The Flinders street frontage, the contained historic banana vaults and the reimagined underpasses provided us with great opportunities for the creation of a new network of city experiences including a bazaar of newly defined markets and retail spaces linking Flinders Street to the edge of the Yarra”.

John Wardle Architects and Grimshaw with Room 11 Architects, RBA Heritage Architects, SKM Engineers. Additional support by TCL and Urbis.

Assemble papers

In this age of status updates and video calls, we relished the opportunity to contemplate – and stand within – the architecture of Room11. Eugenia & filmmaker Jon Mark Oldmeadow traveled to Hobart to meet with Aaron Roberts & Thomas Bailey, co-founders of a practice built upon the mission to create spaces with a social, ecological and environmental conscience. Read the full article here

Written by Eugenia Lim

Cinematography by artist and filmmaker Jon Mark Oldmeadow

GASP! with Dark MOFO PRESENT – Domenico de Clario: Thurs 20- Fri 21

GASP! & Dark MOFO are delighted to present an all-night performance by one of Australia’s most esteemed and enduring artists

Domenico de Clario
duet for one voice

Please join us at the new GASP! Pavilion at Wilkinson’s Point Thursday June 20, starting at the end of twilight, 6.25 pm and ending at sunrise the following day at 7.42 am. Forming the culmination of 40 years of art installations and performances, de Clario will be presenting a single performance over 13 hours that has taken place at different times and locations all over Australia and the world. Wear something warm, pull up a bean bag. Join us at sunrise for croissants and vegemite sandwiches at the conclusion of the performance on Friday morning– 7.15am-8.00am. Catch the Dark Mofo shuttle bus until late 6223 6064. Parking provided at Wilkinson’s Point.

Image of work credit: Fiona Fraser, SAC, Tonglen
(I think I know what I need but I always end up with what I want),
Domenico de Clario, 2013

Thomas Bailey – SPIRIT OF PLACE – Sept 2013

Thomas Bailey has been selected as a speaker for The inaugural Queensland regional conference which will extend the ground covered by the 2012 National Architecture Conference – Experience by focusing upon the unique opportunities commonly available to architects practising regionally, responding to the unique ‘Spirit of Place’. The conference will be the first of a biennial program of Queensland Regional Architecture Conferences, providing considerable opportunities for the Institute’s regional members.

In recent times, the effect of distance has been dramatically changed with the advent of immediate communications systems as well as cost effective travel. Regional communities can now be serviced in a multitude of different ways.

An illustrious set of keynote speakers, whose work responds to this mandate, has been invited. In addition, there will be a rich range of associated tours and events that will explore the extraordinary locality of the beautiful Cairns region.






Assemble Papers – LBH

“Like most mainlanders we know, we’re in love with Tasmania. Here, we take a look at one of the objects of our Apple Isle affection, ‘Little Big House’, designed by can-do architect couple Thomas Bailey and Megan Baynes of Hobart/Melbourne studio Room11. This small footprint, timber-clad home is an elegant take on a log cabin in the woods – one we could easily retreat to.”

Eugenia Lim

Read the full Article


Wood Architecture Now! Vol. 1

Nature’s greatest resource
Modern wood architecture from Tierra del Fuego to North Cape.

Wood is renewable and sustainable, solid and attractive. Wood can be bent and shaped to the most modern of designs. It is the material of the moment for contemporary architecture and this new volume allows readers to get a glimpse of the most exciting and dynamic new uses of wood in architecture from all over the world. Like earthen architecture, the use of wood is almost as ancient as building itself. The columns of Greek temples are stylized trees. Today’s wooden buildings do all kinds of surprising things, and most of all, they are as “green” as they come.

Featured architects and practices include:
70F, A1Architects, AldingerArchitekten, Atelier Masuda, Auer+Weber+Assoziierte, Pieta-Linda Auttila, Shigeru Ban, Beals-Lyon Arquitectos / Christian Beals, Bernardes + Jacobsen, BETON, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Enrique Browne, Bernard Bühler, Marco Casagrande, José Cruz Ovalle, dECOi Architects, dmvA, dRN Architects, Dumay + Fones + Vergara, Piet Hein Eek, ETH-Studio Monte Rosa / Bearth & Deplazes, Edouard François, General Design, Seppo Häkli, Yosuke Inoue, IROJE KHM Architects, Jackson Clements Burrows, Emma Johansson and Timo Leiviskä, Kauffmann Theilig & Partner, Mathias Klotz, Marcio Kogan, Kirsi Korhonen and Mika Penttinen, Nic Lehoux and Jacqueline Darjes, Niall McLaughlin Architects, Andreas Meck, Beatriz Meyer, Ken Sungjin Min, Murman Arkitekter, Rolf Carl Nimmrichter, Valerio Olgiati, Onix, PUSHAK, Room 11, Hans-Jörg Ruch, SARC Architects, Rodrigo Sheward, Simas and Grinspum, Studio Weave, Tezuka Architects, Turnbull Griffin Haesloop, Wingårdhs

The author:
Philip Jodidio (born 1954) studied art history and economics at Harvard, and edited Connaissance des Arts for over 20 years. His books include TASCHEN’sArchitecture Now! series, and monographs on Tadao Ando, Norman Foster, Richard Meier, Jean Nouvel, and Zaha Hadid. He is internationally renowned as one of the most popular writers on the subject of architecture.

Encyclopedia of Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture

Laurence King

Kingston House‘, features in this comprehensive reference work which contains scale drawings of every type of detailing used in contemporary residential architecture.

Each section contains at least 50 drawings drawn to a set range of scales: 1:5, 1:10 or 1:50,  with detailed keys explaining construction and material. Each drawing is cross-referenced to other details from the same house.

The opening section of the book forms a directory that shows interior and exterior images of the source houses, together with credits, a brief descriptive text and information as to which details from that house are included. The houses in this section are organized by main construction material (wood, concrete, glass etc).

The book will be an invaluable reference work for all architects showing the best examples of residential detailing from around the world.

About the Author

Virginia McLeod has worked for a number of private practices in London and was also the editor of The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture. She currently works as a freelance writer and editor, specializing in contemporary architecture.

Utopia Forever – gestalten

Visions of Architecture and Urbanism

An inspirational exploration of utopias and radical approaches to city planning.Whether created by established architects and artists or new talents, the examples in Utopia Forever are important catalysts for fundamental change and are radically shaping our notions of life in the future. The current projects and concepts from architecture, city planning, urbanism, and art collected here point beyond the restrictions of the factual to unleash the potential of creative visions. This inspiring work explores how current challenges for architecture, mobility, and energy as well as the logistics of food consumption and waste removal can be met. Text features by both architects and theorists give added insight.

Editors: R. Klanten, L. Feireiss
Release Date: March 2011
Format: 24 x 28 cm
Features: 256 pages, fullcolor, flexicover
Language: English
ISBN: 978-3-89955-335-2

Archiecture Australia June 2013

Words – Jeff Malpas

Sometimes it can take time for the vision that belongs with a practice to emerge in a way that can be widely recognized or understood. In the case of Room 11, a practice based around the quartet of Tom Bailey, Nathan Crump, Aaron Roberts, and James Wilson, and now operating with offices in both Hobart and Melbourne, there seems to have been a determination and distinctiveness present from the very beginning. Yet it is perhaps only now that the full extent of the vision that lies at its heart can be fully appreciated. It is a vision being realized in an especially striking way as part of the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (GASP!) on the water’s edge at Elwick Bay.

There are few opportunities in Tasmania to work on this scale, and the GASP! site also connects with David Walsh’s much-publicized MONA. The first stage of the project, a walkway that curves round the bay towards the point, has already reinvigorated what was a neglected and marginal location. Yet it is with the second stage of the development on the point itself – where the ribbon of the walkway is finally weighted down – that the project achieves its fullest impact. There the experience of the surrounding landscape is shaped in a direct and almost commanding fashion by long walls that extend along two cardinal axes. The command here issues less from the walls, however, than from the landscape itself. Hobart is a windy place, and the point exposed, so that a key requirement is protection from the horizontal forces that blow across the site. The walls function as shelter, but since they partially obscure the western aspect, they also direct the view. Through the way they shelter and screen – in a way that invokes a range of important architectural precedents even as it establishes its own – the walls make for a complexity in the structure of the space that would not otherwise have appeared.

In spite of the widespread rhetoric that suggests otherwise, architects do not ‘make’ places. Rather they respond to them, to the potential in which they consist, and which they also offer. The architectural vision that the work of Room 11 articulates is a vision responsive in just this fashion – although, in addition, it is a vision that exhibits a remarkable clarity, simplicity, and assurance.

This vision is clearly present, not only in Glenorchy, where Bailey is the lead architect, but also in the house at Fern Tree designed by Bailey and his partner Megan Baynes.  Building here, on the slopes of Mount Wellington, one might suppose the view would be everything, and the aim to ensure none is missed. Yet from inside the house, one discovers that the lower half of the internal wall that looks in that direction is opaque, screening the main room from the road below, but also blocking the aspect beyond. The lower floor is not without views, but the screening of the lower wall creates a very specific bodily as well as visual orientation, while also intensifying the view that is available from the upper floor.

Again, it is the particular use of the wall as both screen and shelter (a fundamental architectural element made even more so through the deliberateness of its deployment) that is one of the key features of the design. The basic form of the building – an extended rectangle cantilevered out from a solid anchoring wall at the south-west end – echoes a key element of the form at work in Glenorchy. At Fern Tree, however, the building points longitudinally towards a view that is partially withheld, while in Glenorchy that view is opened up, and it is the view on the long western side that is partially obstructed. Nevertheless, the obscuring use of the wall operates in a similar fashion at both Glenorchy and Fern Tree – in both cases the wall serves to turn one back into another space (or spaces) opened up at right-angles to the axis of the corridor. At Fern Tree, one is turned back into the building, with a glance up to the sky, then out to the garden. At the Point, one is turned outwards to a stage that opens out to the landscape, even while still held in the embrace of the walls that shape the site.

These spatial complexities, and the way they operate through a particular deployment of the wall, are evident in other Room 11 projects. The wall is used in a way that intensifies its character as screen, as shelter, as anchor, as projection, and also as enclosing bound. Perhaps nowhere is this latter use of the wall clearer than in the Room 11 project at Longley, in which internal spaces are created that give the building an intensified interiority – through a darkened pantry, a sunken lounge, a skylit bathroom, a ‘courtyard’ space cut into the building’s envelope.

Whether or not one wishes to talk about a ‘Tasmanian’ architecture here, there can be no doubt that Room 11 has a vision that is responsive to a set of topographic and climatic elements characteristic of the island.  It is a powerful vision and one that will deserve close attention as it emerges further in Room 11’s future projects.

100 Contemporary Houses Vol 2 – Taschen

Innovations at home

Exceptional contemporary houses from Chile to Croatia to China

Designing private homes offers architects more freedom than corporate projects to express their ideas and try out new concepts. Conceiving living spaces is not without its own set of challenges, for which architects are forever looking for innovative solutions—rethinking the way we inhabit our home and live our daily lives is all part of the job when designing a house. Nowadays environmental concerns have become crucial in building sustainable structures, changing the playing field quite profoundly. This two-volume publication rounds up 100 of the world’s most interesting and pioneering homes from the past decade, featuring a host of talents both new and established, including John Pawson, Richard Meier, Shigeru Ban, Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, Herzog and de Meuron, Daniel Libeskind, Alvaro Siza, UNStudio, and Peter Zumthor.
The author:
Philip Jodidio (born 1954) studied art history and economics at Harvard, and edited Connaissance des Arts for over 20 years. His books include TASCHEN’sArchitecture Now! series, and monographs on Tadao Ando, Norman Foster, Richard Meier, Jean Nouvel, and Zaha Hadid. He is internationally renowned as one of the most popular writers on the subject of architecture.



Jovis Publishers, Berlin, 2010

The spatial needs of contemporary cities and their supporting infrastructures stretch far beyond traditional city, territorial and national borders. New cultural practices are formed in these expanding contexts, allowing projects from terra-forming infrastructures to open-source design systems to grace the anthologies of architectural strategy and expression. This ventures architecture deeper into the cultural politics of collective space and artefact and confronts the previously subconscious systems that sustain urbanity. The book is a collection of project descriptions and essays selected from a select group of established and emerging architects and writers, each offering divergent potentials for architecture in infrastructure.




Kara Allen & Lauren Whiffen
Editors/Creative Directors – FALLEN


In the year 2100, the mainland of Australia will be connected to Tasmania via a grand infrastructure project. Spanning Hobart to Melbourne, the umbilical bridge will act as a spine for high-speed transit, allowing hyper-connectivity for personal, commercial and agricultural commodities. It will initiate new urban centers, thereby reformatting the densification of urban sprawl and altering economical, ecological, cultural and political networks of both mainland and island state. Furthermore, the linear passage will have the ability to recycle waste and harvest energy.

This is Island Proposition 2100; the vision of young architectural practice Room11, developed in partnership with Zurich-based Australians Scott Lloyd and Katrina Stoll. “The core idea was connecting regions together; we feel that if you truly want to be sustainable, there needs to be this regional connectivity,” says Aaron Roberts, co-director of Room11. Although prospective in nature, the project – which was exhibited at the 2010 Venice Biennale – attempted to clarify the urban dichotomy of connecting the disconnected.

Although such technologies may seem nestled in the future, the underlying concept of this project is ingrained within Room11’s mantra and embedded in their completed work. For this band of four friends – Thomas Bailey, Nathan Crump, Aaron Roberts and James Wilson – their focus is adding value to the daily experience of all those affected by their work. “With architecture”, says Aaron, “there’s a sense that you’re creating an experience; you’re making people happy on a day-to-day basis. You’re potentially positively changing the way that people live and interact with one another and the world around them.”

With such grand responsibilities, the Room11 team keeps it real by producing projects that are thoughtful and responsive to the human condition. “So essentially we are using architecture as a veil to which you experience these particular places that you’re residing in, and we’re interested in having an emotional connection to place and to space,” says Aaron.

The Allens Rivulet House 2, which along with Little Big House scored three Royal Australian Institute of Architecture (RAIA) Tasmanian Chapter 2011 awards, is a beautiful example of their humble, contextual and uplifting architecture. This house is viewed from the exterior as a black object receding into the landscape, bracing itself from the unpredictable Tasmanian elements. Its toughened armour cocoons the interior space, and is only dissected at one point to reveal the entry. Here the materiality is softened to honey-coloured timber, which adds warmth and embraces the notion of threshold. “ARH2 is an example where you come home and you’re enveloped in a timber portal, which I saw as a marker to demarcate you arriving home or leaving the home,” says Aaron. “And I was hoping that this sort of moment that you go through the portal is a particularly olfactory experience; the landscape is completely taken away from you … and there’s a forced moment of self awareness and then through the veil of architecture you’re sort of transported back into this other method of being.” Glazing and fenestration, voids, and linked external areas percolate the outdoors through the building, and an expansive living space encourages a point of repose and sanctuary.

Similarly, the Little Big House successfully uses materiality and linear planning to define space, experience, and a heightened connection to environment. Built on the slopes of Mount Wellington high above Hobart, this house is a study in efficient living; the low-impact footprint is deliberately tight, the flexible planning is deceptively simple, and the material selection is economic yet innovative in its choice. The rectilinear dwelling is stacked across two levels to match the undulating alpine terrain, reducing the building footprint and thereby minimising in-ground construction works and maximising sun and light infiltration. Locally sourced celery-top pine and translucent polycarbonate cladding enables the house to be concurrently luminous and private. “The way the danpalon on the outside of the building filters light, it amplifies the volume in a way or contracts the volume, depending on what’s happening with the sun and the clouds,” explains Aaron. The project successfully attempts to answer the first-world problem of how might our residencies become more sustainable, an effort that was recognised with a commendation at the recent RAIA National Awards.

While Room11’s residential designs may appear rational and pared back, they avoid the archetype of the austere modern box. This is achieved through the gradation and playfulness of space and volume, and the punctuation of the building skin, which invites the exterior to enrich the user’s experience of interior. “At the end of the day we don’t want to be super prescriptive in terns of how the architecture might be experienced or used,” says Aaron. “But in the same breath we’re trying to be very strong and blunt in the way that we’re creating these volumes, because at the end of they day if you don’t do that the gesture can get lost.”

Room11’s oeuvre has been broadened with their expansion from the rogue colonial outpost of Tasmania to Melbourne. In additional to residencies, their projects encompass multi-residential apartments, affordable modular housing, medical centers and galleries. Although varied in scope and budget, Room11 endevour to maintain their design philosophies from project to project: increasing the variety of experience within a space; exploring the concepts of protection and exposure; and allowing the landscape to witness the architecture, rather than the other way around.

Despite Room11’s affinity for natural landscapes that have defined their early successes, the studio is keen to expand the discourse of its practice. “….we’re going through a point now where we’re trying to re-imagine what that might be and re-imagine how the practices might work together between Melbourne and Hobart,” says Aaron. Self-directed experimental architecture, critical thinking, and collaborative and speculative work, both between trans Tasman studios and with other creatives – which in the past has included installations with artists and fashion designers – is key to the future Room11 narrative. “I think that one of the great things about architecture,” reflects Aaron, “is that with every new project there is actually the opportunity to renew both yourself and the way you think, and the way you practice……”

A Place in the Sun



Much like the ancient Egyptians did, Australians worship the sun. It might not be a holy devotion in our case, but there’s still an attachment that, in turn, is reflected in our homes.

The houses featured in this book are intelligent examples of designing around light – whether it be working with the sun to create homes that reduce energy or brightening up a dark interior. Arranged in order of latitude, the houses show how designs change in accordance with climate. Starting in northern Queensland, where large, covered outdoor areas and indoor light are common threads, the book works its way down to Tasmania and New Zealand, where the sun is welcomed and the architecture is more open.

By Stuart Harrison, (Thames & Hudson, 2010), pp 272, rrp $69.95


Room11′s GASP! Boardwalk is the first stage of an art and sculpture park in the Hobart suburb of Glenorchy. Building on the success of MONA, it revitalises the edge of Elwick Bay with creative architecture, bringing exuberance to the waterfront.

Photographer Jasmin Latona
Author Judith Abell

Down on the river, within the bounds of the City of Glenorchy, something extraordinary is happening. A park for art is gradually making its way into being, and the first built stage, designed by local practice Room11, has just placed a walkable rainbow in the ‘front yard’ of the city. It’s part of the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (GASP!), which runs around the edge of Elwick Bay on the Derwent River, and is linked to David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art in more ways than one.

Back in 2006, within sight of the bay, the construction of MONA had begun, a project that even at that point was stimulating a shift in thinking about Glenorchy’s waterfront assets. There was optimism that the museum could allow this working-class city to be seen in a new light, and while local government and business leaders were considering plans for the bay, including an adventure playground involving considerable earthwork, a brief conversation between former mayor Adriana Taylor and Walsh may have turned the situation towards GASP!.

In his inimitable fashion, Walsh queried why you would want to spend so much money on moving dirt when you could spend it on art. Flippant or not, the comment recognised the potential for this large public space to be a significant part of a waterfront art precinct forged by MONA. With the new museum less than two kilometres further east along the shoreline, there was even potential to physically connect the two sites. What followed was a master plan allocating a waterfront margin for a ‘sculpture garden’ and the appointment of designer and strategic thinker Pippa Dickson to bring this art space to life. Through consultation and business planning, the council developed a vision and brand for a park that was about art, environmental regeneration and community.

Following a design esquisse to establish a spatial vision for GASP!, an invited design competition was launched for Stage 1. Submissions were required to incorporate the key concept from the esquisse: a giant arc in plan intended to stitch together the irregular edges of the bay and form a series of notional ‘art rooms’. With an exuberant submission that included ‘art bombs’ and a giant sandpit, Room11 in collaboration with Megan Baynes won the competition. A hook in their proposal was that their long, low boardwalk be defined by balusters painted in a cacophony of colours to represent Glenorchy’s diverse community.

The boardwalk comprises three fully accessible lengths totalling some 800 metres, a large barbecue pavilion (the ‘Grove Pavilion’) and a small entry pavilion (the ‘Little John Rivulet Pavilion’) at the northern end. Room11’s Thomas Bailey describes the built outcome as the result of paring back the brief to its essentials. Regarding the boardwalk’s giant curve, he says, “this gesture is convincing because that’s all there is, without a lot of other extraneous things to take away from the effect”.

Sitting just above the high tide level, the boardwalk cuts a consistent datum line through the site.

As the structure maps the arc, the experience of walking the path is a little like being on a train, where you can look back and see the tail curving around in the landscape. The ‘hit and miss’ construction detail of the treated timber structure breaks this line into a series of coloured verticals formed by the balusters.

Cleverly, colour is restrained to the inner faces of the balusters, with the outer faces black, so that the look of the boardwalk changes in movement. In true elevation it’s a black frame overlaid on the view. Oblique views reveal the 44 rhythmically composed colours and a striking moiré effect rolling across the structure, matched to the walking or driving speed of whoever views it. The structure is wired for sound and Turner Art Prize winner Susan Philipsz will christen it with a commissioned sound work within the next two years.

Spanning the space between landmark trees, the partially enclosed Grove Pavilion offers a place to sit or barbecue out of the wind at the walk’s midway point. Concrete blade walls clad in ironbark battens form the vertical structure and a very thin, flat, pre-tensioned roof is designed to complete a frame to the river view. Bailey explains that the most important thing here was to offer a seat towards the view. A long timber bench running along the length of the pavilion invites repose, with its ironbark cladding at an ergonomic angle, while a lovely quirk is a large pane of orange glass in the rear wall. From the road, it shifts the river view into sepia. From within, it looks back to a dramatic, amber-toned Glenorchy sitting at the foot of Mount Wellington. For Bailey, this is about seeing the familiar anew.

As a waterfront settlement, Greater Hobart is remarkably unfocused on the water’s edge as a civic space. Everyone orients towards the view, but there are few spaces where that edge condition is actively shared. The GASP! boardwalk realigns the civic status quo by offering an experience almost as if one is in the bay. Room11’s tiny pieces of architecture are bold, but they deftly weave between existing natural features.

While providing access and comfort, the pavilions do not distract from the main game – the ability to walk through this vast windswept, tidal environment. The modesty of the pavilions leaves space for future artworks to become a focus, yet there is a sense of generosity in the detailing, which refuses to buy into the argument that everything in the public domain should look like it is made to resist vandalism. Deterrence of damage is built in, but isn’t immediately apparent.

Walkers or joggers populate the new boardwalk, the barbecues are being used and the vandalism is minimal. Like many ‘users’ of the park, though, I drive past it more than I walk through it, and the changing wash of colour, chased by its kinetic effect, never fails to make me smile.

Architectural Review 114

Practice Profile: Room11

June 24, 2010

Despite its relative youth, Room11 is fast accumulating a body of work both complex and refined.

Author Michael Roper

At first glance Room11 cuts a familiar profile, its built oeuvre consisting largely of the kind of well-mannered bushland residences that litter our brief yet rich history of architectural park rangers. Its projects speak of the usual concerns of site and client, marrying an austere and self-assured modernist aesthetic with a humanist regard for the experience of landscape and shelter. Look a little closer, however, and it seems these rangers are set to saunter further afield than first appearances would have us believe.

Room11′s bush-romantic antics and Greenfield dreaming belie its concern for broader creative interests as well as for more complex social and environmental agendas. Indeed, just a quick click from its cleaner, more client-friendly website and we’re up to our gumboots in a blog of collaborations, futuristic speculations and experimental architecture.

As a relatively young practice enjoying a period of sustained growth, Room11 embodies the challenges and potentials of an evolving industry. According to founding director Aaron Roberts, “It’s still this hybrid. It’s still trying to understand exactly what the beast is.” The practice has taken cues from the establishment of traditional practice, yet also harbours the wider concerns common to its contemporaries. Displaying the initiative of the genuinely concerned, Room11 engages in a broad range of self-directed investigations encompassing everything from schemes for affordable housing to an umbilical bridge connecting Tassie back to the motherland. Unfortunately, many of its visions and concerns have not yet manifested themselves in built work, remaining for the time being as paper architecture.


As with many budding practices, Room11 was seeded in the soils of friendship, its four members combining forces on a modest collection of small commissions. Aaron Roberts, Nathan Crump, James Wilson and Thomas Bailey each came to the table with diverse industry experience and interests. Their common (and divergent) preoccupations with installation art, graphic design, theatre, street art, European modernism and Australian bush architecture established ‘diverse collaboration’ as the preferred modus operandi from the outset.

However, as a practice caught between aspirations for a multidisciplinary studio and the reality of designing detached residences, Room11 has not yet managed to fully synthesise its peripheral interests into clear architectural methodologies. Consequently, its built work often defaults to its direct architectural influences – essentially equating to regional modernism. Fortunately, this is something it does exceedingly well.


Many of Room11′s built houses have been skilfully composed to enrich the experience of site. “We came to understand the landscape of our home through the lens of architecture,” says Roberts. Typically, rectilinear volumes are employed to carefully curate a new understanding of landscape, cinematically revealing and concealing sequences of major and minor views. Simultaneously, these formal alternations between solid and void provide occupants with spaces of intimacy and exposure, containment and release. Unfussy details and finishes are generally rather mute, providing a robust but neutral framework for the enjoyment of the bush environs.

One impressive example is Thomas Bailey’s own Little Big House, located high on the slopes of Mount Wellington, overlooking Hobart. Bailey designed this ‘diagram for happy living’ in collaboration with his partner, urban designer Megan Baynes. As described on its website, it is ‘just a box’: a humble shelter for the couple and their baby. The material palette is spare, clad simply in polycarbonate sheet and a seductively silky celery-top pine.

Most striking about this project are the shutters cleverly concealed in the external timber cladding. The gill-like skin folds open, affording ventilation while allowing windows to remain fixed and fine-framed – in keeping with the work of Bailey’s modernist heroes. The separation of view and ventilation clarifies and magnifies the very elemental experience of each of these functions. View remains view; ventilation, simply ventilation.

This distilled clarity is evident throughout Little Big House and indeed several of Room11′s projects. The internal layout is almost diagrammatic, living and sleeping spaces arrayed about a simple service pod. Three views are unambiguously directed to sky, earth and garden respectively. The diaphanous membrane of polycarbonate sheet seems to breathe in the changing light, internal space expanding and contracting with the passing clouds.


While Little Big House is a vision of romantic reductionism, other projects have benefited from the lessons learned in creative collaboration. For instance, after working with video artist James Newitt, Room11 became interested in the architectural possibilities of narrative. As Aaron Roberts recalls, “Suddenly the narrative, the experiential and emotional sides of architecture became quite important to us.”

What followed were projects attempting to capture the essence of their clients. For an ex-military explosives expert: a tough, militaryesque bunker brutalising its hillside plot. For a pair of big-wave riders: a lifestyle-threatening ‘fluid’ plan, perilously compressed to encourage occupants to seek the open air.

However, it is in working with the natural environment that Room11′s narratives are most potent. Here, projects are subtler in their narrative cues, cultivating dialogues between the various features of the landscape. In the Kingston House, a simple yet powerful dialectic is established between an expansive view and a rocky outcrop. The architecture mediates this dialectic with arresting simplicity: one enters the site along a path that predates the house. Where previously the sweeping view dominated all visual attention, the house now obscures it, momentarily resisting it. Instead the gaze is quietly directed to a rocky outcrop nestled to the rear of the house. This is the entry. Here, the house’s intimate scale and solid proportion provide a moment of protection and introspection on this otherwise exposed site. At the end of the path, before the front door, but already in the folds of a cave-like embrace, the wall pulls back and the floor drops away. Suddenly, perched above a double-height courtyard, looking over the top of a three-tree canopy and through a glass sandwich of living space, the much-awaited view is revealed. At this moment the architecture, catching the visitor between approach and arrival, draws on the landscape to speak on themes of protection and exposure, gathering sky and stone to tell its story. This is an architecture that not only aligns itself with the landscape, but according to Roberts, “It is a vessel for inhabiting [it].”


Despite its affinity with natural landscapes, Room11 identifies that there are more pressing issues than simply feeding Tasmania’s ‘rural sprawl’. Having enjoyed early success, the studio is keen to direct the future course of its practice more carefully. Says Roberts, “While we’ve always been interested in new ideas, we’re now really starting to push for a new way of approaching architecture that’s representative of the current status of the world.”

Room11 has now opened a second office in Melbourne and is keen to develop the role of multidisciplinary collaboration in its work as well as addressing issues of density, infrastructure and urban agriculture. Already, there appears to be a greater diversity of projects on the boards. In among collaborations with installation artists and fashion designers, Room11 is now working on projects as diverse as offices, industrial facilities and medical centres, not to mention an urban vision for Sydney in 2050 for the AIA’s national conference in 2008. “Dealing with a city and urban design… drives your thinking from being a quite personal, intimate understanding of architecture, towards a greater appreciation for the bigger picture,” concludes Roberts.

As a young practice undergoing a period of significant evolution, it will be interesting to watch how Room11 adapts the lessons of small scale architecture and the bush to realise its visions for our urban future.