Over the last 12 months, development applications in Canberra’s RZ2 (suburban core) areas appear to have slowed almost to a standstill.  RZ2 policy is intended to revitalise Canberra’s established areas with much needed townhouse type development for people to “age in place” yet so little development is being pursued, RZ2 policy appears to be failing its purpose for being. I asked David Shearer who has commented on

Q: So what is Tony Trobe going to be banging on about today? TT: Well I thought we could talk a little bit about the Bilbao effect. Q: Sorry what's that? TT: It's what Starchitects architects do? Q: Sorry you lost me. TT: Starchitects are the rock stars of architecture, talented celebrity architects jetted in to create iconic buildings. Q: And Bilbao affect? It sounds like something that might happen to a hobbit? TT: Not quite. Bilbao was

The philosopher Arthur Koestler wrote a book called The Ghost in the Machine in 1967 which conjures up the notion that the mind is more than a cleverly arranged jumble of neurons. It may be a bit of a stretch but the supplementary question is can a building also have a soul or a spirit?  “Good design is a language, not a style”, it is the ghost in

About 7 years ago in the Sydney Morning Herald in an article in Canberra by Judith Ireland the following paragraph appeared; “More recently, Canberra has been named by the Institute of Public Affairs is one of the Australia’s 13 biggest mistakes, with cane toads and the White Australia policy.  Last year, the Lonely Planet website nominated Canberra as reader’s second least favourite city in the world (with Guatemala City

Socrates, the champion the examined life, thought democracy was ‘The least bad system available’. Fighting from within the system however he described the role of the individual as ‘a gadfly on the rear end of a noble and sluggish horse’. The noble horse that this columnist gadfly wishes to bite the backside of has unfortunately already bolted. And what horse is this? Having driven Northbourne Avenue recently I completely

Isaac Newton famously said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Giants are not to run from but lived up to. Walter and Marion Burley Griffin are our own giants and they still loom large in Canberra's rear-view mirror. The city’s origins lie in a thought experiment, a competition held a mere few generations ago producing one of the major

I have been in Australia for over half my life thus by pure maths I am now more Australian than English yet still get sledged as a whingeing Pom. I’ve heard various origins of the POM word; one being that it stands for Prisoner Of her Majesty and was an epitaph given to the very earliest arrivals. Version two is that it is the condensed form

On Saturday I formed part of the devoted Bill Bryson flock accompanied by a packed crowd of equally eager-eared, Zimmer frame pushing, grey-hairs. Avuncular, charming Bill held court as a sort of literary Bruce Springsteen.  No cocaine here; any pills popped by punters at the show would more likely have been statins, aspirin or krill oil. Bill has been a bit on the nose with Canberrans

Q: I have just bought an expensive Fluffy block, am thinking of building a new home and have been getting wildly differing advice on the cost of building houses TT: Just a quick dip into the internet by anyone shows a range of figures from less than $1000/m2 to over $4,000/ m2 which are bewildering to anyone, particularly if they haven't built before. Q: So what are the