Vol. 10 Housing
CALL FOR PAPERS
Tom Sneek, Houses from the water tower, 1957. Photograph. Courtesy of Library & Archives NT.
Housing, mundane as it may sound, is amongst the most pressing and complex issues of today’s built environment. Across Melbourne, swathes of land are vacated for thousands of new homes. The $5.4 billion Big Housing Build (BHB) program, initiated by the Victorian State Government, aims to tackle the rise of housing insecurity and affordability, which is a fragment of the ongoing crisis across nations. In addition to providing large amounts of social and market housing with a mixture of ownership models and possibilities of larger urban renewal, the BHB program may exacerbate existing housing problems through the privatisation of public land, a lack of long-term strategy and a risk of poor community integration.
These are some of the issues plaguing the current housing situation that have been largely overlooked by the discipline of architecture in recent decades; unprepared architects, designers, and planners are thrown into a sea of societal and commercial confusion, often struggling to engage with the needs of the everyday user.
In light of these ongoing problems facing the vital issue of housing, Inflection vol. 10 is seeking work that reflects on design-led solutions and engages with the subject of housing across micro and macro levels, within and beyond the contemporary discourse of the built environment.
Australia has a proverbial attachment to dwellings—an ‘Australian dream’ of home ownership and a legacy of bush-born rationalism. Our imaginative literature is often characterised by an expansive spirit of adventure and outdoor life; some may say our interior lives are mapped to the more immediate confines of neighbourhoods and picket fences. Our architectural canon is overwhelmingly private, finding kinship with the landscape and her many climatic aberrations. We cultivate a poetry of domestic dwelling that often struggles to make the jump to the scale of our neighbourhoods or cities.
Fresh memories persist of a global pandemic, wherein our lives were restricted to the scale of our home and immediate neighbourhood. Moreover, as our societal structure continues to shift, the boundary between private life and work is blurred. For practitioners, an overwhelming amount of home renovation work signals a renewed interest for the domestic realm and the places we choose to live.
Under the influence of the pandemic, the general inaccessibility of the housing market, soaring building costs, loss of small and medium-sized housebuilders and the quick privatisation of public properties continue to place pressure on the availability of affordable shelters. Nearly 120,000 Australians are without a home—this visible homelessness is only a fraction of the chronic homelessness experienced in overcrowded or temporary means of accommodation.
Is our antiquated model for a nuclear style of living sustainable or compatible with the needs of emerging generations? Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the standards of prescriptive housing designs and adopt a more fluid approach to the lives of occupants?
Australians need to confront an extreme, financially-motivated commodification of land and housing. The suburbs of today are a little different from those a century prior when D. H. Lawrence visited our country to write Kangaroo; the only change is that current suburbs continue to grow at an astonishing pace. The residential development of greenfield land in Victoria continues to consist of low-density, detached houses.
A more thoughtful densification of our suburbs, one that considers an ever-changing variety of family demographics and social characteristics, could lead to a more diverse, affordable, and appropriate approach to housing development. Medium-density group housing may begin to provide us with answers, particularly those commensurate with the standard of Lacaton & Vassal’s semi-collective units in Trignac, France, or that of Arenas Basabe Palacios’s housing projects around Vienna. The humanistic, residential housing projects of post-war Australia within the suburban developments of Canberra may also serve as precedent, such as Dirk Bolt’s Torrens Townhouses or Ian McKay’s Swinger Hill. What kind of housing models begin to move away from entrenched practices, towards those that are affordable, sustainable and that meet the needs of a wider range of people? The housing policies and models of European countries provide potential references for Australia, including the non-profit co-operatives of Switzerland, Zelfbouw projects in the Netherlands, Baugruppe in Germany and co-housing projects around Europe more generally.
Amidst the wave of new advanced technologies, energy reduction, waste reduction and cost-efficiency often lack thorough integration. A standardised way of living sustainably remains an intangible process for many, altering with context and climate. There has been an increasing emphasis on the prefabrication of housing through the standardisation of materials and radical construction techniques in search of affordability. The processes of standardisation and prefabrication pose an enticing tension between traditional, in-situ craftsmanship and cost-efficient production. Will the rise of new materials such as engineered timber and an emerging interest in material efficiency signal alternative solutions for sustainability and affordability? Perhaps new opportunities and solutions lie in the emerging technologies of off-site fabrication, modular construction and 3D printing, where the traditional home-building process is completed off-site in a factory.
In this volume of Inflection, we call for architects, practitioners, academics and students to refocus on housing as both the primitive yet complex assembly of our contemporary living and our urban conditions. By engaging with all forms of housing and patterns of living, from the domestic interior to larger urban visions, we seek to challenge the perceptions of living in search of flexibility, generosity, dignity and sympathy. We ask: are there alternate forms of living that architects and planners should engage with? Is communal living more than simply a shared laundry? How do we embrace technological advances while continually being critical in pursuing spatial, environmental, and culturally conscious design? Are architects left to scratch the surface of the housing crisis or does this opportunity beckon us to provide an ambitious calibre of housing and urban renewal through pragmatic yet ambitious approaches?
Inflection vol. 10 editors welcome full-paper drafts of academic pieces (up to 4,500 words), drafts of practice oriented pieces (up to 1000 words), drafts of fictional pieces (up to 500 words) and visual artworks interpreting and exploring Housing and its influence on architecture, design and urban planning today.
We accept submissions for projects and full-length draft pieces for consideration at email@example.com by Monday, 1st May 2023.
Katrina Raynor, “Victoria's $5.4bn Big Housing Build: it is big, but the social housing is even bigger,” The Conversations, November 18, 2020, https://theconversation.com/victorias-5-4bn-big-housing-build-it-is-big-but-the-social-housing-challenge-is-even-bigger-150161.
David Malouf, 12 Edmondstone Street (London: Random House UK, 1999); David Malouf, “David Malouf interviewed by Tegan Bennett Daylight | Sydney Writers' Festival,” filmed at Sydney Writers’ Festival 2014, 0.33.00, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MgFgpMpEBM.
Philip Goad, “Timber, Temple, Heaven and Home: The Architecture of Andresen O’Gorman,” UME, no. 22 (2011): 84-97.
Alicia Nally, “How Victoria's coronavirus lockdown across 10 Melbourne postcodes will work,” ABC News, July 1, 2020, 9:18a.m., https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-30/victorias-coronavirus-outbreak-prompts-stay-at-home-order/12407518.
Houzz Research, “2022 AU Houzz & Home Renovation Trends Study,” Houzz, published June 27, 2022, https://www.houzz.com.au/magazine/2022-au-houzz-and-home-renovation-trends-study-stsetivw-vs~160879850.
Dallas Rogers and Emma R. Power, “The global pandemic is accelerating housing crises,” International Journal of Housing Policy 21, no. 3 (2021): doi: 10.1080/19491247.2021.1957564.
Department of Transport and Planning, “Greenfield land 2021,” Land Use and Population Research, July 26, 2022, https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/land-use-and-population-research/urban-development-program/greenfield-2021.
Submissions must adhere to the Inflection referencing style guides and image requirements, as outlined below:
Referencing Style Guide
In general, Inflection uses the Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition) as a guide for grammar, punctuation and referencing. The Chicago Manual of Style is available online to subscribers at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org. A freely available citation guide can be found at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html, or through the University of Melbourne’s citation tool, http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/recite/citations/chicago/generalNotes.html. When preparing work for publication in Inflection, we ask that authors follow the Chicago Manual as closely as possible to maintain stylistic consistency and ensure all work is fully referenced. Inflection uses Australian or British English spelling, and asks that authors prepare their work accordingly.
Inflection uses endnotes in preference to footnote or in-text citation. When preparing work for submission, please make sure that notes are formatted as endnotes. A separate bibliography is not necessary. In general, the basic format for referencing in Inflection is as follows: Given Name Surname, Title (Location: Publisher, Date), page number(s).
In general, references should be as concise as possible. For example, only a city name is needed when referencing a place of publication – the country or state of publication is not required.
In the second and subsequent note to a previously referenced text, a short form reference should be used, in the following format: Surname, Title, page number-page number.
When a reference is immediately followed in the endnote sequence by an identical reference, use: Ibid.
Where the next reference is from a different page of the same text, the correct format is: Ibid., page number(s).
Under Inflection’s endnote referencing style, notes will typically not occur on the same page as their reference number. For this reason, we recommend that contributors avoid using notes for supplementary remarks. Where possible, comments should be incorporated into the body in parentheses.
Images must be (ideally) 300dpi and in TIFF format. For black and white images, the colour profile must be set to grayscale, and for colour images, the profile must be set to CMYK. This can be adjusted in Adobe Photoshop (Image>Mode).