greaseproof architecture since 2000

Originally published in 2014.

All eyes should be on Gaza at the moment, but understandably many are focused on unfolding events in the damp fields of Eastern Ukraine. The Gaza Strip is small and densely populated with over 5,000 people per square kilometre. It is tense and under siege. Borders to Israel and Egypt have been closed to the general population, offering no means of escape from the conflict. The underground supply tunnels used for civilian supplies are considered illegal by Israel and are further threatened by their secondary use as conduits for weaponry. Israel’s defence force has them in their sights, and Egypt recently announced the closure of 1,370 tunnels to the South.



In late July the University of Melbourne signalled its intention to “retire” many 20th Century modernist buildings at its Parkville campus before 2040, in keeping with its “long term strategic, academic and research ambitions”. Renderings in its new master plan show the Raymond Priestley administration building, the medical building and the John Medley building tagged for demolition, to name just a few.




Some new and possibly interlinked findings about the collapse of the wall in Swanston Street on March 28, 2013. Did the hoarding really deserve the blame heaped upon it?



There are lots of new social housing developments firing up at the moment, as part of the Victorian Government’s $5.3B “Big Housing Build”. The “Build” was announced soon after the public housing tower lockdowns focused eyes on the long-neglected sector. There is a lot going on, so I’ve narrowed it down to just one development not too far from me, and I’ll be looking at the site more than the buildings.




This virus thrives on density. Vehicle density has dropped, and drivers are relatively cocooned from risk, but people walking from their cars or homes to buy essentials are landing in a variety of unavoidable and unsafe situations.





New and updated links

radio & podcasts: ABC Comfort Zone / By Design / Blueprint for Living

For decades there has been a design-related radio show on ABC Radio National every Saturday at 9am. In recent years it’s broadened far beyond the built environment into a cheery Saturday morning magazine, with a growing emphasis on food and gardens. It’s not quite the must-listen show that it once was, and now has been relegated to the 1pm slot, when everyone is out at Bunnings. There are still some great interviews hosted by current host Jonathan Green.

Blueprint for Living

By Design

Prior to Green, from 2006 the late Alan Saunders then Fenella Kernebone hosted By Design in the same slot. Most of these pages were removed in 2021 because (ironically) they were using templates that were inaccessible. After some serious digging I’ve found a few samples. I can’t host the MP3 files as they’ve copyright-restricted them, so access is a little complicated…

I do hope the ABC can gradually untangle this mess and don’t just delete everything. It’s a valuable archive, containing many interviews with Australian design luminaries. I have contacted them about the issue.

You can access these 2014 Kerneborne episodes by downloading each full half hour show as an mp3 from for this web archive page.

  • 13 Sep 2014: War trenchs, Wild pools of the Thames, Robin Gibson and the Queensland Art Gallery
  • 6 September 2014: Architectural photography vs Instagram, the escalator, GASP Pavilion
  • 30 August 2014: 3D printing, Alex Newson, architect entrepreneur, Miles Lewis on Hoddle
  • 23 August 2014: Wardle at Bruny Island, the piano, Powerhouse Museum and Rose Hiscock
  • 16 August 2014: Theatre design, Stephen Curtis, mandolins, Bicheno surf club

Allan Saunders had a full hour to luxuriate in.

Comfort Zone

Presented by Alan Saunders from May 1997 to January 2005, this magazine programme interviewed people about all things design. From late 2002 audio was published but these seem to be lost in the file system.


15.06.12 in radio  updated 25.03.24

radio & podcasts: DnA

From KCRW Radio in Los Angeles. “Frances Anderton talks to design world leaders about the latest in products, fashion, graphics, architecture and more, in Los Angeles and beyond.”

The radio show appears to have come to an end in late 2020, but DnA continues on Instagram.

listing | external link

10.04.09 in radio  updated 24.03.24


video clips: Talking Homes - Karen Burns

Dr Karen Burns discusses the home, the house, and housing. Touching on TV’s The Block, Ikea, homelessness, and the work of Simon Anderson in Perth, the video of this brief Melbourne Architecture Annual session in 2011 is worth watching. 11 minutes.

listing | external link

07.12.11 in video-clips  updated 24.03.24

foundations: Friedensreich Hundertwasser Foundation

“I should like, and I do it too quite instinctively, to live an example, live an example to people, paint for them a paradise that each may have, he need only grasp it.

Paradise is there, but we destroy it.”

I saw Hundertwasser speak in Wellington in 1990. One cheeky listener piped up, “if you think straight lines are so bad, why are you wearing a striped shirt?” To which the grand old man immediately countered (paraphrasing), “they are not straight lines when they are being worn.”

listing | external link

18.07.09 in foundations  updated 24.03.24

radio & podcasts: 99% Invisible

2013: A lovely little architectural radio show made at KALW in San Francisco. Shows are about 15 minutes long and concentrate on one unpredictable issue. The episodes are rather well researched and produced, which might have something to do with their support from Kickstarter and AIA San Francisco.

2024: This show has grown and grown since 2010. It’s podcast only now, and is still anchored by silken-voiced Roman Mars. The 500+ episodes have been streamed around 500M times. Episodes are about 30 minutes long and cover architecture, industrial design, cities and anything vaguely related. Long may it reign.

99% Invisible is a sound-rich, narrative podcast hosted by Roman Mars about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.

listing | external link

01.03.13 in radio  updated 23.03.24

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