words@bld50 monthly talks


Thursday 4 March 2010, 7 PM:. Consult | Design| Build | Public Talk by Dr David O'Brien

PUBLIC TALK by David O'Brien

At RMIT bldg 50, Orr St (off Victoria St), Carlton 

Thursday 4 March 2010, 7 PM

Entry by gold coin donation

Refreshments provided

The federal government’s Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) and well-publicised ‘intervention’ program have brought indigenous housing to the attention of mainstream Australia. Whereas the agencies once responsible for indigenous housing in the Northern Territory were criticised for too little consultation, the media's claim today is that there is too much consultation – and vast seemingly sums allocated by the federal government – with too little housing being built. Paradoxically, there are reports from the communities themselves that the consultation process is inadequate. 

How much consultation with indigenous communities is the ‘right’ amount? How should this consultation process be managed and with what outcomes in mind? 

Groups of students from the Melbourne School of Design faced these questions when they began working with two indigenous communities in Darwin’s ‘town camps’. After consultation, the students were invited to recycle one of the derelict houses in the Gudorrka Community. With limited funding, the sixteen students and two staff members, helped by local men and children,‘blitzed’ the house over a ten day period and recycled it into a respectable home.

Dr David O'Brien practiced as an architect before joining Melbourne University’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning in 1996. He has since worked in community development projects in rural Thailand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Northern Territory. He has advised in the construction and evaluation of prototype houses alongside builders, engineers, sociologists,  government agencies and aid workers. David's primary research interest lies in the relationships between architectural technology and indigenous housing needs, with a focus on environmental and cultural sustainability.

Find photos of the event here

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