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Adrian Ashton Prize
The Pool
Amelia Holliday and Isabelle Toland (Aileen
Sage Architects) and Michelle Tabet
The companion document to the Biennial
exhibition of the same name, this book is
much more ambitious than just a catalogue.
Beautifully produced, edited and curated, The
Pool positions architecture and public space
as central to popular Australian culture. In the
opening essay the creative team write, “By
identifying the pools’ cultural importance to
Australia, we are pushing for a more critical
engagement with the civic and social value
that underpins our work as architects.”
The writing is engaging throughout and allows
you to dip in and out where you like, with
a mix of reminiscences, interviews, poems,
lyrics and essays. We are gently reminded of
the importance and scarcity of water in this
the driest continent; of our environmental
responsibilities; the central place of both
ancient and modern indigenous culture; our
competitive spirit; and the simple joys of
This is a uniquely Australian book more about
Australian culture than Australian architecture.
However architecture is subtly woven
throughout the book and presented as the
fabric that makes and shapes ‘place’.
This year the Jury has decided to present two awards. The Adrian Ashton Award for Architecture
in the Media and a Special Jury Award.
Adrian Ashton was a past president of the Institute and founding member of the National Trust in NSW; however, it is his
role as the first editor of the NSW Chapter’s ‘Architecture Bulletin’ that this prize commemorates. In 2016 the prize eligibility
was broadened to incorporate books, design focused public events and expanded digital media. Established 1986.
Special Jury Award
Public Sydney: Drawing the City
Philip Thalis and Peter John Cantrill
Some architecture books only come around
once in a generation. They transcend the
subject of architecture and will probably be
re-printed and updated for many years to
come. Public Sydney: Drawing the City is one
of these books.
The book is meticulously researched and
produced, with essays by some of the city’s
best thinkers. However the particular joy
of this book is in the extraordinary number
of scaled and detailed original drawings of
the city’s built fabric prepared by numerous
dedicated students in the faculties of
architecture at UTS and UNSW.
This magnificent publication was not eligible
for the Adrian Ashton Prize when it was first
published, as the award did not extend to
books. Expansion of the prize criteria now
means that books like Public Sydney can be
acknowledged, and the jury could not let this
book pass without some overdue recognition.
In acknowledgement of all those who
contributed to Public Sydney: Drawing the
City; a Special Jury Prize is presented to
authors and editors Philip Thalis and Peter
John Cantrill.
Opposite: The Pool (front cover), courtesy Project Two. Cover image: Clovelly Bay enclosure, Clovelly, New South Wales by Abdul Moeez