UQ Architecture Lecture Series with Kevin Low

The eighth and final UQ Architecture lecture for 2016 promises to be a huge night if our very long wait list is any indicator!

As our final guest speaker we have Kevin Low of Small Projects, Kuala Lumpur who will speak to a packed audience on Tuesday 26 April.

An accomplished architect, Kevin also teaches in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia, and lectures on architecture and design wherever invited.

Today, you will find out Kevin's favourite design books and what you can expect to hear and see when you attend next week's lecture.

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

2. Can you give us a little insight into what a normal workday looks like for you?
Oh my, there aren’t any normal workdays for me! Having chosen to work alone means that I might find myself getting filthy on site, lunching with visiting students or architects, preparing new material for a lecture, sketching ideas on paper in the toilet or while awaiting a flight at an airport, sitting at my desktop in response to emails or very large scale site/building drawings (the only drawings I do on the computer), meeting with a contractor on setouts or issues of detail, or catching the occasional afternoon movie or afternoon tea with a friend. I’m terribly lucky.

3. What are some daily office rituals or habits you employ to enhance your productivity and creativity?
I could use some of these really. The rituals I engage in don’t really have anything to do with productivity or creativity; like eating the same breakfast of tea, a half-boiled egg and coconut jam toast while I read the newspaper each day, or the absolutely choiceless clothes I wear – perhaps this leaves me more time to make other decisions of greater import, but I suspect it's more to do with selective laziness.

4. What principles inform your work?
I'm currently trying to engage more work for clients who need my services rather than those that merely want them.

5. Where do you go for design inspiration?
Not very far – over the years, I’ve found the greatest sources of inspiration coming almost wholly from the specific context of the very site each particular project is located within – the quality and depth of inspiration thus comes from how well I have understood the peculiarities of content, of the specific relationships that my project can become part of.

6. What has been a career highlight for you so far?
There have been so many really. But I would say that working closely with those patient individuals who build and craft the projects I’ve designed would be about the most rewarding – it happens almost every day.

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

James Russell for three of his brilliant houses, Diego Grass for his delightfully critical mind, Eero Saarinen for his abilities with specific context and to consistently reinvent his work each time, Studio Labo for their amazing house/ pecha kucha courtyard/office in Bandung, and Kevin O’Brien for the best dinner company and roast pig this side of the southern hemisphere.

8. What are your top 5 favourite design books?

Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse
Poetry, Language, Thought by Martin Heidegger
Empire of Signs by Roland Barthes
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
About Looking by John Berger

9.What can attendees to your lecture expect to hear and see?
Design and architecture the way it really is in real life, away from the picture of glamour that success and architectural promoters paint, with the awful flaws and mistakes we unintentionally make as the imperfect human beings we are – I suspect I will have to begin with myself.

When: Tuesday 26 April

Where: SLQ Auditorium 1, level 2, State Library of Queensland

Time: 6pm for 6.30pm start

Cost: Free

Register: Eventbrite

Architectural professionals who attend the series will be eligible for two formal continuing professional development points (CPD). This event will also be livestreamed.

2016 UQ Architecture Series is presented by the University of Queensland School of Architecture and the Asia Pacific Design Library.

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