Skip to main content

2015 UQ Architecture Series with Francesca Hughes, Hughes Meyer Studio

By Administrator | 11 March 2015

In the lead-up to the second lecture in the 2015 UQ Architecture Lecture Series, March 17, we spoke to speaker Francesca Hughes, who founding partner of the art/architecture practice Hughes Meyer Studio. 

Tell us a little about your background, and what originally led you to architecture?

It is So hard to know: it feels like it was a inevitable conclusion of a childhood of travelling, and loving art for the way it teaches you how to experiment, and physics, for the way it teaches you how to think.

Can you give us a little insight into what a normal work day looks like for you?

Different from the last and different from the next.

What are some daily office rituals or habits you employ to enhance your productivity and creativity?

Moving, and if that doesn’t work, sitting very still.

What principles inform your work?

Always go to the primary source.

Trust your instinct.

Trust the alchemy of the design or research process.

Get critical distance, regularly.

Patience, patience, patience. And tenacity.

Where do you go to get design inspiration?

Somewhere wild if I can, not easy in London. Or into a book.

What has been a career highlight for you so far?

Publishing with MIT Press – they have an incredibly original and ground breaking track record in art and architecture books and I feel honoured to be on their lists.

Which Australian or international architecture people, practices, designers or similar do you admire?

I admire the visual artists in my book, whose work I find deeply architectural: Gordon Matta Clark, Vija Celmins, Barbara Hepworth and Rachel Whiteread. Amongst architects, some of my favourites are: Clorindo Testa, Sydney’s Hugh Buhrich for his extraordinary house and Konrad Waschmann for designing joints so obsessively precisely they were unbuildable.

What are your top 5 favourite design books?

Not in any order:

Flesh - Diller and Scofidio

Metaphysics - Aristotle

Gordon Matta Clark – Christian Kravagna; Corinne Diserens; Judith Russi Kirshner; Thomas E. Crow

Education of an Architect - John Hejduk

Privacy and Publicity - Beatriz Colomina

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

The rejection of organic materials that marked the material tolerance crisis central to modernity didn’t just produce the steel and glass architecture we know so well, but also a generation of newly metalized aircraft that were so heavy they could not fly. These engineered dodos, which resulted directly from architecture’s ideological reconfigurations around predictability and precision, ask of us difficult questions about the role of inference and approximation in instrumental rationalism, and about the exemption from cultural and sociological explanation we reserve for the technological artefact: what if it doesn’t work?

At about the same time, but in an utterly different cultural milieu, that last Victorian architect, Edwin Lutyens, was conducting two scalar experiments in domesticity, power and entropy: the ¾ mile wide house and grounds of the Viceroy at New Delhi and Queen Mary’s 4’8” Dolls’ house. Lutyens, like James Clerk Maxwell with his demons beforehand and Erwin Schrödinger with his “architect” gene soon after, fast realized that by installing power in not the giant, but the miniature (that was to become code), architecture’s already precocious tools for managing its unique fear of physical error would redefine precisions relations to the truthfulness.

This illustrated talk will examine some of the ways in which these and other tools, and the fears they barely conceal, intersect in the seminal technological and cultural crises that mark architecture’s twentieth-century and the exponential rise in redundant precision that it witnessed.

Date: Tuesday 17 March

Time: 6:00pm for a 6:30pm start – 7:30pm

Where: The Edge Auditorium, Stanley Place, Cultural Centre, Southbank

Register: Eventbrite

Architectural professionals who attend the series will be eligible for 2 formal continuing professional development points (CPD).

2015 UQ Architecture Series is presented by the University of Queensland School of Architecture and the Asia Pacific Design Library.


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.