Movie Club: Australian Architecture

By ai

Sept. 21, 2014

11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Museum of Sydney, Cnr Phillip and Bridge Streets Sydney 2000

Life Architecturally

Each session will shed light on the visions and processes behind iconic Australian buildings. The screenings are followed by conversations with special guests, moderated by David Neustein.


21 September – with special guest, filmmaker Britt Arthur

Life architecturally follows internationally acclaimed husband-and-wife team Robert McBride and Debbie Ryan to discover what inspires their groundbreaking concepts, designs and architecture.

Their outstanding architecture is changing the face of Melbourne and their spiral shaped ‘Klein Bottle house’ received the ultimate accolade: the prestigious World Architecture Festival Award for best residential house in the world.

This dynamic, down-to-earth, married-with-kids couple are leading lights in the modern architectural movement, designing a copper dome-shaped house that fits together like a jigsaw puzzle, a beach house that unfurls from a letterbox and a house extension that resembles a cloud. Many consider their buildings works of art, and as with most art, they’re often controversial.

Life architecturally follows the day-to-day lives of Robert and Debbie over a period of one year, examining the intricacies of their unique working relationship and the inspiration behind their iconic and controversial works.

This intimate documentary reveals the pressures of building a multistorey, twin-tower development and a revolutionary new school in the shape of an infinity symbol, alongside the construction and design of the couple’s new family home. It follows Robert and Debbie as they prepare their pitch to win the contract to design and construct a prestigious new billion-dollar building that will be the biggest cancer care centre in the Southern Hemisphere.

There is a personal reason behind their passion to create a building of hope for cancer patients and their families. The stakes are high. The vision is bold.

The screening will be followed by a Q & A with filmmaker Britt Arthur.

SESSION 2 – JOHN GOLLINGS: Eye for Architecture

26 October – with special guest, photographer John Gollings

John Gollings: eye for architecture journeys into the world of cutting-edge architecture in Australia and Asia through the lens of renowned photographer John Gollings.

When it comes to winning awards or major contracts, a Gollings photograph can give an edge to an architect’s design. It is an attention-grabbing, inventive, strong ‘twilight shot’: a hero shot with a slightly exaggerated wide angle. It can turn an ordinary building into art.

At 65 years old, the wiry, irreverent Gollings is known as the unofficial curator of Australian architecture, such is the power of his eye and ability to get a building published.

Top Australian architects, including Cassandra Fahey, Barrie Marshall (Denton Corker Marshall), Rob McBride and Deb Ryan (McBride Charles Ryan), and Ian McDougall (Ashton Raggatt McDougall), share their stories about the photographer.

The documentary follows Gollings on a photographic journey through the rapidly changing cities of Australia and China, and travels to ancient cities in India and Cambodia to show how these magnificent places have influenced his work. Here he reveals that he too has insecurities, despite being recognised as one of the best photographers in his field.

John Gollings: eye for architecture is an entertaining and visually rich journey into the creative mind of one of the world’s top architectural photographers.

The screening will be followed by a Q & A with photographer John Gollings

SESSION 3 – THE EDGE OF THE POSSIBLE: Jørn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House

9 November – with special guests, architect Richard Johnson and filmmaker Daryl Dellora.

Jørn Utzon was awarded first prize in the international architecture competition to design an opera house for Sydney. In 1957 he flew to Australia to begin work on the construction of one of the greatest buildings in Australia and, indeed, one of the finest achievements in modern architecture.

This film charts the dramatic course of the creation of a masterpiece and includes a rare interview with Utzon who reflects on his role in the compelling story of the conception and construction of the Sydney Opera House.

In a distinguished career Utzon received many accolades: the Alvar Aalto Medal, the Order of Australia, the Sonning Prize, the French Legion of Honour and the keys to the City of Sydney. But in February 1966 it was a very different story. In that month his nine years’ work on the Sydney Opera House came to an end. He wrote to the then NSW Minister for Public Works, Davis Hughes, the historic words ‘you have forced me to leave the job’. Utzon left Australia with his young family in April 1966; he has never returned.

This beautifully photographed film charts the triumphant, exhilarating and controversial course of the design and construction of the Sydney Opera House.

The screening will be followed by a Q & A with filmmaker Daryl Dellora.


General $15 Concession/Members $12 Includes free admission to the Museum of Sydney


Sydney Living Museums
1300 448 849