Deakin University

File(s) under permanent embargo

Interpretation/Translation/Quotation? Contemporary architects’ interventions into multicultural Australia

conference contribution
posted on 2017-11-30, 00:00 authored by D Beynon, I Woodcock
Over the last forty years, Australian cultural identity has moved from being framed as loss - the tyranny of distance between an immigrant population and their mainly British origins - to one of surplus: an overabundance of identities of a hybridising/glocalising populace of diverse origins. Australia’s resultant landscapes comprise increasingly complex overlays of cultures and practices, particularly in the larger cities, where a diverse range of communities have created buildings and built environments. Even if facilitated in a pragmatic sense by architects, draftspeople and constructors, Australia’s growing number of ethnically-specific buildings continues to exist largely detached from the nation’s architectural profession, rarely being evident within its publications or awards systems. Within this context, the paper discusses two of the few instances where architects of note have designed works specific to multicultural Melbourne: Gregory Burgess’ Victoria Street Gateway in Richmond Victoria and Hassell’s Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct in Dandenong Victoria. In considering these projects, we focus on three of the many questions these projects raise about Melbourne’s (and more broadly Australia’s) architectural identity and the boundaries they blur between architectural and extra-architectural modes of working within the built environment: firstly, is the manner of these projects’ formal and aesthetic composition interpretation, translation or quotation? Secondly, are these projects marginal to the broader concerns of Melbourne architecture or are they central to a multiculture that will become more central to its architects in future? And finally, are the concerns of these projects new or are they more an updating of the postmodernist valorisation of the Australian suburb (as championed in the 1970s and 1980s by Edmond & Corrigan and others) in a manner that reflects the cultural differences now present within these suburbs?



Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Conference (34th : 2017 : Canberra, Australian Capital Territory)


25 - 34




Canberra, A.C.T.

Place of publication

Canberra, A.C.T.

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E Conference publication; E1 Full written paper - refereed


G Hartoonian, J Ting

Title of proceedings

SAHANZ 2017 : QUOTATION: What does history have in store for architecture today? Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand

Usage metrics

    Research Publications


    No categories selected