UQ Architecture Lecture Series with Paul Hotston

Paul Hotston

It is a special opportunity when we are able to hear from local architects at the free UQ Architecture Lecture series.

On Tuesday 8 March Brisbane-based Paul Hotston of Phorm architecture + design, along with Japanese architect Yo Shimada of TATO Architects, will talk about his work on the House in Hamilton. Paul's residential work ranges from semi-remote rural projects to inner-city reworkings and today we are provided a glimpse into his background and work rituals.

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

I grew up in Brisbane’s backyards and on the side of Mt Coo-tha. I loved to draw at school and found art ultimately challenging and endless. I chose architecture under the misconception that art and design were the same, they are not. Fortunately architecture has proved to be even more challenging and immersive. After studying at UQ I spent seven years working in North Queensland where I developed an affinity for regional place and community.

We are based in West End, Brisbane and Phorm architecture + design has been engaged with a large parcel of projects within the same postcode; the complement of projects are literally scattered hundreds of kilometres away throughout the coastal settlements, hinterlands and interiors of regional Queensland and beyond. The divergent sites and project typologies spawned by these conditions form a counterpoint within the practice - a duality that has been actively cultivated since the beginnings of the practice. The research and experience of this dichotomous state informs the nature of the work as a whole.

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

It’s a small office. There is often a continuous conversation which starts with coffee in the morning operates throughout the day seamlessly flowing between projects, details, questions and answers, social and architectural ideas. The people in my office are extremely dedicated and often work with minimal means to achieve great results for the practice.

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

It is intense and the day is never long enough. There are a lot of time demands diverting you from the immediate contact with architecture which needs to be managed. We don’t have enough downtime to celebrate all the little victories but hopefully we manage to recognise the big ones.

What principles inform your work?

I encourage members of the office to participate in teaching/ tutoring at one of the universities in parallel with the office or take up opportunities on site where available.

Model making is an integral part of each project.

‘Defended space’ in rural projects and ‘expansive site’ in claustrophobic urban ones.

Where do you go for design inspiration?

We tend to be inspired foremost by places and landscape; by forgotten spaces, backyard territories of cities and towns and rural buildings, by the world of seemingly unconscious and accidental acts of design—architecture without architects.

What has been a career highlight for you so far?

Collaborating on House in Hamilton with Tato Architects

Any of our many & varied projects scattered throughout Queensland.

Fifteen years of practice life.

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

Architects operating specific regional practices within Australia and overseas.

What are your top 5 favourite design books?

Not my ‘Top 5’ but the five books which I referenced concurrent with ‘House in Hamilton’:

The Building of the Queenslander House: A Carpenter’s Handbook and Owner’s Manual  by A.L Jenner

Sublime: New Design and Architecture from Japan, edited by D Robert Klanten et al

Our House in the City: New Urban Houses & Architecture edited by Sofia Borges et al

Local Architecture: Building Place, Craft & Community, by Brian Mackay-Lyons

A First Place by David Malouf

What can attendees to your lecture expect to hear and see?

Insight into the process and design of ‘House in Hamilton’.


When: Tuesday 8 March

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

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. This event is also part of the Asia Pacific Architecture Forum.


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