Sydney Architecture Festival

MAKING. HOUSING. AFFORDABLE. The Sydney Architecture Festival expands to a full week of activities in locations around the city, culminating in a weekend series of high-profile events at Customs House Sydney.

The 13th Sydney Architecture Festival will be a week-long festival running from 11-17 November 2019 under the creative direction of Dr Barnaby Bennett. This year’s theme is Making. Housing. Affordable. The Festival will feature a series of engaging seminars, exhibitions, film screenings, tours and events speakers across a range of disciplines and will reflect on issues of design, economics, housing quality and housing affordability to answer the key question: What needs to change to make it affordable to have a home in Sydney? Sydney exemplifies urban problems of affordability: houses are too expensive, homelessness is rising, the construction industry is struggling to keep up with demand, and we are still largely building the wrong type of houses in the wrong placesIs the answer more affordable housing? Or do we just need more housing to make it affordable? Is the current crisis caused by bad policy, bad land use, or poor design? Who does the current model serve? And what needs to change to make sure every person has a warm, safe home to live in? In the past hundred years or so the challenge of housing has been intensified by the increasing complexity and density of urban life.  Sydney Architecture Festival will present the case that while some factors of housing affordability are fraught with debate and disagreement, a space for constructive action exists,’ 

Festival Director Barnaby Bennett.The Festival will present contemporary research and development, practice-led innovation, policy activism, and shareable expertise in relation to community, design, policy and government in a series of events, including: Walking Tours: Design Innovation and Housing choice in Redfern and Surry Hills hosted by Eoghan Lewis and Sydney Architecture Walks.

Over recent decades the inner-city, former working-class suburbs of Redfern and Surry Hills have undergone massive change. No longer associated with poverty or crime they now boast many of the city’s most popular cafes, bars and restaurants and have a thriving creative scene with something to be discovered around every corner. But at what price? Set within the broader theme of housing affordability, the walking tours will explore these vibrant neighbourhoods and focus on housing choice, housing innovation and projects that engage wholeheartedly in community building. It will provide opportunities to share some radically new development models as well as some of the fiscal and political factors affecting affordability including planning, land access, financial and legal factors and the political roles of city and state.

Events include:

 Hidden Homeless: Radical ideas to tackle the housing crisis head on.
An exhibition and introduction to the initiative by John McAslan and Partners. Young people are suffering some of the worst effects of the insufficient supply of affordable housing in Sydney, with many ending up sofa surfing or sleeping rough. This exhibition presents 47 creative, sustainable and practical approaches to address the growing homeless crisis from the Hidden Homeless design competition, developed by John McAslan and Partners, New Horizons Youth Centre and supported by the Mayor of London. The competition challenged designers and architects to propose radical ideas for innovative housing for homeless young people. Taking a real site in London’s King’s Cross, the designs focused specifically on providing short and medium-term accommodation for up to 28 young homeless people. Approaches including co-working, retail and hospitality spaces and shared living accommodation where young people can stay safely whilst receiving support with longer-term solutions. 
Monday 11 November 2019, 17.30 – 20.00 John McAslan and Partners, Surry Hills

Film screening and Q&A: The Eviction (Director, Blue Lucine)·       Sydney Architecture Festival presents a special screening of the film The Eviction, which charts the selling of public housing in the suburb of Millers Point and the eviction of its tenants. In the last year an impressive suite of housing documentaries showcased the numerous failings of housing policy and practice around the world. A panel comprised of Millers Point Resident Barney Gardner, filmmaker Blue Lucine and WSU Senior Research Fellow Dr Emma Power, moderated by human geographer Dr Dallas Rogers, will explore if housing documentaries like The Eviction are a productive way to contribute to public debate about housing inequalities and urban change.
Thursday 14 November 18.00 – 20.30, University of Sydney Lecture Theatre 1, School of Architecture, Design and Planning

Better Housing Now: a free two-day public symposium on housing affordability in NSW
 The keystone event of the festival, Better Housing Now is an in depth look at the complex and interconnected issues that have created the currently unaffordable city. In four sessions: ‘Setting the scene’, ‘Defining the terms’; ‘Squaring the circle’; and ‘A call to arms’, the city’s leading organisations, advocacy groups and designers will explore projects, identify problems, and propose solutions. The symposium is Presented by Shelter NSW, Committee for Sydney, Government Architect NSW and the Sydney Architecture Festival. Better Housing Now is free for the public. Each session requires registration. Tickets to become available on 21 October.  Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 November, 12.00 – 14.00 and 14.30 – 16.30 Customs House, 45 Alfred Street, Circular Quay 

The Architectures of Affordability: Timothy Hill and Paul Karakusuevic. The Sydney Architecture Festival 2019 closes with a very special evening that will both interrogate and celebrate the value of architecture as a response to problems of affordability with orations from one Australia’s most celebrated thinkers and designers Timothy Hill, and leading British architect Paul Karakusuevic. Sunday 17 November 17.30 – 20.30, Customs House, 45 Alfred Street, Circular QuayThe focus on housing affordability is in line with the NSW Architects Registration Board’s mandate to promote architectural issues by engaging with communities of NSW.
See the Sydney Architecture Festival website for dates and details.