Skip to main content
state library of queensland
Asia Pacific Design Library

2014 UQ Architecture lecture series–Penny Collins & Huw Turner

By Administrator | 27 March 2014

The 2014 UQ Architecture lecture series is here! This Tuesday 1 April will feature Penny Collins and Huw Turner from Collins and Turner Architects.

To get your warmed up for Tuesday night, we asked Huw and Penny a few questions about what you can expect to hear from their lecture, what inspires them and who their double doppelgänger's are...

Featured image for blog post 182809

What does a typical day look like for you?

We have vastly diverse projects on, at various stages from design through to construction. This week has seen us working on Pre -DA drawings for a 20 storey apartment tower, design details for a 1400sqm bar in Brisbane, with weekly site visits now it is under construction. Council meeting to get DA approved for a $2m house. Construction completions of a $4m house. Revised DA drawings for an $8m house - to make it larger! Endless meetings with Lend Lease, the Barangaroo Dvevelopment Authority and a myriad of consultants on our restaurant building, heading for planning permission.

 A typical day can involve 3-4 client or consultant meetings with staff briefings and project reviews fitted in between.

What can attendees to your UQ Architecture lecture expect to hear?

About the recent and ongoing adventures in architecture of two people from opposite sides of the world, who met working in Germany for Norman Foster.


Where do you go to get design inspiration?

We find inspiration in everything, but perhaps least of all in architecture itself.

With each project we try to distill the brief into a singular conceptual gesture - a simple strong idea. We then work hard to try to carry that through into the finished project, battling courageously against dark forces of budget, statutory controls, and construction restraints, to try to realise the original vision.

The place that we go to think is our getaway at Pittwater on Sydney's northern beaches - it's our chill-out space, a bit like a river island, and we go there to clear our heads, think, and draw. Between that we swim, cook, read, and sleep. Things that we don't do enough of in the city.


What are your top 5 favourite design books?


Modern Architecture A Critical History  by Kenneth Frampton

Art in the Electronic Age by Frank Popper

Architecture Without Architects by Berthold Rudolfsky

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture by Ulrich Conrads


Theory and Design in the first machine age by Rayner Banham

Archigram by Peter Cook

In praise of Shadows by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki

Architecture by Donald Judd

Blade Runner sketchbook by Syd Mead

If you weren’t a designer, what would you do?

Penny: Property Developer, so that I could still shape the built environment

Huw: My father was a filmmaker, and as a teenager living on a cold, wet, mountain in rural Wales,  I dreamt of living by the beach in California and doing movie special effects for a living.

I still think that getting paid to make spacecraft and blow things up would be an incredible day job.

We have somebody working for us whose sister works for Weta digital in Wellington, designing the textures of aliens skin for the Avatar sequels. I'm very jealous.


What has been your greatest achievement?

The positive feedback for the Waterloo Youth Centre, has been fantastic. Staying in business feels like a result also.


Outside of Design, what inspires your work?

Travel, play of light, landscape, cinema...


Who is your double doppelgänger?

We often get mistaken for Phil Collins and Tina Turner...


Your email address will not be published.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments.

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.
We also welcome direct feedback via Contact Us.
You may also want to ask our librarians.