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Architectural discourse is viewed by RMIT Architecture as a crucial activity that frames and situates all other activities within the discipline, acting as a critical companion. This area encompasses architectural history, architectural theory, design discourses and architectural criticism. RMIT Architecture has maintained a particular focus on the archiving of local architectural practice histories, and on the theorising of emerging design practices, particularly in the context of contemporary urban conditions and in response to emerging digital technologies.
All RMIT Architecture staff are engaged with architectural discourse in situating and disseminating their work. There are particular academic staff in the Architectural History and Theory stream who primarily teach, research and supervise postgraduate candidates in this area.
The RMIT Architecture program has maintained an active publication program over many years and undertaken an ongoing series of diverse publications projects.
The RMIT Department of Architecture published Transition, the premier critical journal on Architecture in Australia, from 1984-2000. Transition was a non-profit, independent quarterly architectural journal that was founded and co-edited from 1979-1983 by Richard Munday and Ian McDougall. It was initially published by Transition Publishing from the first issue in July 1979 through to the February 1983 issue.This journal considered architecture's often difficult relationship with theory and how knowledge enters into the production of architecture. These publications focused on the predictive and speculative and encouraged experimental design work, propositional writing and variations in between. Ideally, Transition pursued Australian architectures within global discourses.
A range of thematic books have subsequently been published through RMIT Press as part of the Architecture and Design series including By Product Tokyo, Division and Multiplication, Topography, Mobile Landscapes, and The Architecture of Neil Clerehan.
The Architecture postgraduate streams also publish occasional documents of record of candidate project-based research and related activities. The Invited stream coordinated by Professor Leon van Schaik has published The Practice of Practice, Interstitial Modernism, Fin de Siecle? and Transfiguring the Ordinary.
The Urban Architecture Laboratory has published the work of postgraduates undertaking the UAL Masters by Project in Urban Architecture through the 38South series, with the most recent being 38South Vol 3.
RMIT Architecture published Aardvark: RMIT Guide to Contemporary Melbourne Architecture as a series of updated volumes from 1987-1997 under the editorship of Doug Evans. Volume 4, edited by Graham Crist, is currently under production as a hard copy book and online practice archive. A new series Aardvark Asia has been initiated with the first volume under production being the Guide to Contemporary Singapore Architecture.
Staff are maintaining significant research publication activities through external publishers and journals that have recently included Taipei Operations by Sand Helsel, an Urban Flashes affiliated venture, and Mastering Architecture and Design City Melbourne by van Schaik, both published through Wiley in London.
RMIT Architecture has initiated a range of conferences and symposia as key venues for discourse. Recent conferences include the UAL re Housing: International Housing Conference and Exhibition, 2006, The Politics of Space in the Age of Terror Symposia, 2005, Limits: SAHANZ conference, 2004, and the Intimate Distance: Liveness and Affect, Symposia, Workshop & Public Lecture Series, 2003.
Regular and occasional RMIT Architecture public lecture series include the RMIT Architecture Public Lecture Series, the Graduate Research Conference Keynote Lecture Series, the RMIT Architecture Design Lecture Series: Projects and Practices, the Architecture and Philosophy Lecture Series and the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory Colloquium. Lectures given within the undergraduate History and Theory courses are also advertised and open to the public. Lectures and related activities are posted on the RMIT Architecture Events page
The RMIT Architecture Postgraduate Architectural Discourse Stream consists of candidates undertaking individually supervised research on candidate proposed topics. Research candidates in this stream are primarily working on the archiving of local architectural practice histories, and on the theorising of emerging design practices.