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AASA Modernism Collaborative presents ‘This is Modernism’ Symposium

Friday 16 February 2024, Adelaide, South Australia

Co-presented by the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia, University of South Australia, and Unitec, Auckland.

Call for Papers

Unknown/ underexplored / one building case study / lost buildings/building with landscape

Many recent publications both in Australia and in New Zealand have investigated, summarised, and re-evaluated modernist architecture in our part of the world. With all these efforts, there remain gaps. And there is also always a re-evaluation to consider – buildings that might have gone unnoticed a while ago, might create interest today.

In 1963, architect Ernst Plischke described the aim of modern architecture as achieving unity of space and sculptural quality, which needed to be based on a fulfillment of functional and structural needs. But the main quality of such an architecture, he claimed, lay in the tension between these four cornerstones of architecture, and they needed to be carefully balanced. Plischke’s fascinating and durable definition appears as an extension of the Vitruvian triad (venustas, firmitas, utilitas), achieved by splitting venustas into space and sculpture (inside and outside).

But despite Plischke’s experiences of two entirely different architectural cultures in his life, what remained missing from this definition was the consideration of place. Local social, physical, material, and cultural factors influence architecture and always have.

This is where this symposium positions itself and asks contributors to consider the relationship between modernist architecture in Australia and New Zealand and the place where specific buildings were designed.

We are inviting to submit case studies of single buildings, that demonstrate a specific relationship to place. If suitable, these will include their immediate surrounding context (courtyard, garden, landscape).

We are interested in the unknown or under-explored examples of modernism in our region. These may be well-kept buildings, buildings in danger, or even lost buildings.

Submission requirements:

abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted along with the applicant’s name, email address, professional affiliation, and brief 100-word biography.

Presentation format:

15-minute oral presentation in person at the University of South Australia, City West Campus, Adelaide.

13 November 2023 – Submissions Close 8 December 2023 – Decisions About Paper Acceptances Sent 16 February 2024 – This is Modernism Symposium

Submit abstracts to Dr Martha Liew; email:

Please contact Christoph Schnoor ( with any queries.


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