architects, not architecture (AnA), the platform that invites well-known architects to talk about themselves, rather than their work, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a ‘virtual world tour’. with this new series, AnA brings the architectural community a bit closer together by taking participants on a tour around the globe to visit selected cities and virtually meet some of their most relevant architects.

 the scheduled list of countries includes singapore, the united kingdom, france, denmark, the netherlands, south korea, china, ukraine/lithuania, south africa, mexico, and the united states with events set to continue until april 2021.


the first destination in the series is australia, with AnA hosting talks with melbourne-based architects kerstin thompson and john wardle. as a media partner of the event, designboom brings you the first talk, which can be seen in full in the video at the top of this page. watch each architect’s segment, and read more about their talks, below.


kerstin thompson — talk and interview



principal of kerstin thompson architects and adjunct professor at RMIT and monash universities, kerstin thompson discusses her experience of growing up with architecture, her childhood spent on building sites and how the architects she admires most have influenced her own work. she builds her talk around the question of how ‘our buildings are perhaps the combination of this overlap of childhood, life or special experience with the formal education of an architect’ and how this overlap ‘informs the repertoire of an architect’.


thompson goes on to explore her relationship with landscape and what a trip to the aboriginal community of the goolarabooloos in western australia taught her about space and its relationship with its users. she explains that ‘physical space remains empty without a cultural framework, daily habits and practices to bring it to life’. in the further course of her lecture, thompson talks about the concept of special empathy as the ‘heightened anticipation of the sensorial aspects of an eventual space while still in its imagined beginnings’. it is ‘an attempt to put oneself in the other’s shoes’. watch her talk, and interview with AnA’s fermín tribaldos, above.


john wardle — talk and interview



john wardle, the founder of john wardle architects, follows a ‘distracted chronology’ of the influences in his life as the guiding thread of his talk. he begins by reminiscing about his upbringing in the city of geelong where he fostered his interest in collecting objects, something that he indulges in today by visiting markets in different parts of the world. besides the aesthetic interest, it is the ‘elevation of the status of things’ and the backstory of those objects. wardle describes the influence the melbourne theater had on him when it flourished in the late 70s and explains that he and his team ‘draw in inspiration from other parallel and seemingly unrelated areas of creative idea making’ instead of architectural discourse.


john wardle goes on to share a lesson he learned on his trip to the teatro olimpico in vicenza, italy, where he engaged in a conversation with an elderly italian about the nature of perspective. he talks about the ‘cognitive process of perception of distance and scale’ and describes it as ‘the way we register our place in space and how we’re aware of all that sits beyond’. he is of the opinion that it ‘is part of the responsibility of architects to provide architecture that has aspects of enclosure that contain the dynamic of human life, but also express its place in the civic experience in the urban environments that we also work within’. watch his talk, and subsequent interview with AnA host fermín tribaldos, in the video above.



kerstin thompson and john wardle in discussion with AnA host fermín tribaldos



watch kerstin thompson and john wardle in discussion with AnA host fermín tribaldos above, and stay tuned as architects, not architecture continues with its ‘virtual world tour’.