‘Australia hellbent on erasing its architectural past’ – Tim Ross

Australia should be proud of its modernist houses, those beautifully elegant buildings constructed in the 30 years after World War Two.

But according to Tim Ross, we’re tearing them down instead.

In this year’s Griffin Lecture, presented by the Australian Institute of Architects, comedian and self-described ‘design nerd’ Tim Ross will declare his love for Australia’s modernist legacy and explain why we should value it.

Ross – comedian, radio host, design enthusiast and television presenter – delivers the lecture at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday 7 November.

Australia’s cities and suburbs are experiencing a development boom unlike any before.

In the mad scramble to go upwards and outwards, our architecture of the last 60 years is being destroyed in the process.

‘Why as a nation are we hellbent on erasing the past? What is it in our national character that makes us think that it’s okay to do so?’ Ross asks.

‘Our cities and suburbs should be like our record collections with the best of the new stuff, the best of the old stuff and some rubbish to remind us where we’ve come from. The way we are approaching things today we are embracing the worst of the new stuff and heading down the path to a bogan version of Blade Runner.’

Supported by leading national architecture practice, GHDWoodhead, the Griffin Lecture is a major event for the architecture profession. Named in honour of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, the lecture has been running since 1961.

Chair of the Institute’s Griffin Committee, Catherine Townsend, says the lecture looks at how modern architecture shapes our built environment and the way Australians live.

‘Our aim is to address the “big issues” of architecture and design, to make better and more liveable cities and overcome the problems endemic in our cities,’ she says.

Previous speakers include Prime Ministers Gough Whitlam and John Gorton, architects Roy Grounds and Romaldo Giurgola, historian Manning Clark, former Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull and Edmund Capon.