Architectural Criticism

Please note that this website is no longer actively maintained and more recent work is not listed here.

Since 2001 I have been commissioned to write about architectural projects, people, and architectural culture by magazines including Places Journal, The Conversation, Architecture Australia, AR: Architectural Review Australia, Monument, Artichoke, and other journals. I have written feature profiles and journalistic essays, architectural competition and event and exhibition reviews, and criticism of built works; I have also interviewed and profiled international and local architects and theorists.

In all my architectural writing I try to be fair, decisive, insightful, generous, curious, creative, enquiring, lively, and engaging. In writing about architecture and architectural culture I hope to make it accessible and interesting to a broad popular audience, and also to place built work in a broader social, cultural, historic, spatial and political context. 

Architectural Criticism:

2014            Naomi Stead, ‘The state of gender equity in architecture in Australia – the research is in,’ Architecture Australia, vol 103, no 5, Sept/Oct 2014, pp. 53-54

2014            Naomi Stead and Justine Clark, ‘So what can we do? Some programs and tools for a more equitable profession,’ Architecture Australia, vol 103, no 5, Sept/Oct 2014, pp. 68-69.

2014     Naomi Stead, ‘Admissions and exclusions: the door as architectural element,’ AR Asia Pacific, AR135, June-July 2014, pp. 30-32.

2013             Naomi Stead, ‘The Hitherto Present,’ [feature essay on rephotography in architecture] Architectural Review Asia Pacific, vol 131, Spring 2013, pp. 36-40.

2013             Naomi Stead, ‘Out-Back Living’, [building review of A-CH Keperra House] Monument, vol 116, August/ September 2013, pp. 79-83

2012             Naomi Stead, ‘Under Overpasses,’ [essay] Architectural Review Asia Pacific, vol 126, August/September 2012, pp. 50-53.

2012             Timothy Hill, John Macarthur and Naomi Stead, ‘State of Origin: A Discussion,’ [interview] Architecture Australia, vol 101, no 4, July/Aug 2012, pp. 71-75.

2010             Naomi Stead, ‘Lost Wax,’ in Mark Raggatt and Amanda Wallace eds., Melbourne Recital Centre & Melbourne Theatre Company, ARM, Melbourne, 2010, p. 7.

2010             Naomi Stead, ‘Ghost World,’ [review of Callum Morton installation for the Children’s Art Centre at Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art], Architecture Australia, vol. 99, no. 6, Nov / Dec 2010, pp. 23-24.

2010             Naomi Stead, ‘HEAT: Exporting Queensland,’ [essay on Qld Government Creative Industries Unit HEAT initiative to promote Queensland architecture internationally], Architecture Australia, vol. 99, no. 5, Sept/Oct 2010, p. 95.

2010             Naomi Stead, ‘Documentation: The Visual Sociology of Architects,’ Architecture Australia, vol. 99, no. 4, July/Aug 2010, pp. 64-65

2010             Naomi Stead, ‘Easton Pearson,’ [review of exhibition at Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art], Artichoke, vol. 30, 2010, pp. 71-74

2009             Naomi Stead, ‘TKTS,’ [Building review of TKTS booth in Times Square, New York, by Choi Ropiha architects], Architecture Australia, vol 98, no. 3, May/June 2009, pp. 71-75

2009             Naomi Stead, ‘86-88 George Street,’ [Building review of Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority building by Terroir architects], Architecture Australia, vol 98, no. 3, May/June 2009, pp. 77-82

2009             Naomi Stead, ‘Jumbo Hostel,’ [project review of re-used aircraft adapted for use as hostel accommodation at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport], Artichoke, vol. 27, 2009, pp. 78-79

2009             Naomi Stead, ‘Thinking Images’, [Profile of, and review of photographic exhibition by, Peter Bennetts], Architecture Australia, vol 98, no. 2, March/April 2009, pp. 27-28

2009             Naomi Stead, ‘Jane Foss Russell Building’ [Building Review, Jane Foss Russell Building by John Wardle Architects], Artichoke, vol 26, 2009, pp. 124-128

2008: This is a review of the Australian Pavillion at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale. It was commissioned by Architecture Australia and published as  ‘Abundant – the View from Australia’ in vol 97, no. 6, pp. 49-55. Words by Naomi Stead.

2008: This is an exhibition review of ‘Place Makers: Contemporary Queensland Architecture’, an exhibition held at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Queensland in late 2008. It was commissioned for Architecture Australia, and published in vol 97, no. 6, pp. 31-34. Words by Naomi Stead.

Oct/Nov 2008: This is a building review of CarriageWorks at Eveleigh by TZG Architects, commissioned for Monument and published as ‘Back on Track’ in vol. 87, Oct/Nov, pp. 56-63. Words by Naomi Stead.

Late 2008: This is a review of Sweden’s Ice Hotel. It was commissioned by Artichoke: Interior Architecture and Design, and published in issue 24, 2008, pp. 95-97. Words by Naomi Stead.

May / June 2008: This is a building review of the Jubilee Oval Pavilion Refurbishment in Sydney’s Blackwattle Bay, by architects Lacoste and Stevenson. It was commissioned by Architecture Australia and published as ‘Camouflage’, Architecture Australia, vol 97, no. 3, May/June 2008, pp. 72-75. Words by Naomi Stead.

May / June 2008: This is an event review of the 2008 annual national conference of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. It was commissioned by Architecture Australiaand published as ‘Germs of Culture Folding Ever Outward,’ Architecture Australia, vol 97, no. 3, May/June 2008, pp. 38-39. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Late 2007. This is a feature profile of Sydney architects Neil Durbach and Camilla Block, of Durbach Block architects. The feature was commissioned by PolOxygen magazineand published as ‘A Very Different View,’ PolOxygen: The International Design, Art, Architecture Quarterly, issue 20, 2007, pp.90-98. Words by Naomi Stead.

April / May 2007. This is a building review of two houses by the late Hugh Buhrich, at 315 and 375 Edinburgh Road Castlecrag. The review was commissioned by Monument magazine for their second ‘Classic Houses’ issue, and published as ‘Look Home,’ Monument, issue 78, April/May 2007, pp. 42-50. Words by Naomi Stead.

Jan / Feb 2007. This is an event review of ‘Sydney Open,’ organised annually by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales. The review was commissioned by Architecture Australia and published as ‘Opening the City’, Architecture Australia, vol 96, no 1, Jan/Feb 2007, pp. 31-32. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Dec 06 / Jan 07. This is an exhibition and building review of the city model and library in Sydney’s Customs House, by architects Lacoste and Stevenson. The review was commissioned by Monument magazine, and published as ‘The Infinite LibraryMonument, vol 76, Dec 06 / Jan 07, pp. 64-68. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Mid 2006. This is a feature profile of the Belgian architect Xaveer de Geyter, commissioned by PolOxygen magazine. It was published as ‘The Urban Defender’ in Pol Oxygen: The International Design, Art, Architecture Quarterly, vol 17, 2006, pp. 68-76. Words by Naomi Stead. 

July/August 2006. This is an event review of a series of talks organised by Eoghan Lewis and the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales to examine the legacy of Jorn Utzon for architecture in Sydney. The review was commissioned by Architecture Australia and published as ‘The Utzon Effect’, Architecture Australia, vol 95, no. 4, July/August 2006, p. 30. Words by Naomi Stead.

March / April 2006. This is a building review of Minifie Nixon architects’ Australian Wildlife Health Centre at Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, Australia. The review was commissioned and published in Architecture Australia, vol 95, no. 2, March/April 2006, pp. 80-87. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Nov / Dec 2005. This is a feature profile of the Sydney-based artist and architect Richard Goodwin, commissioned by Architecture Australia and published as ‘Hybrid Vigour,’ vol 94, no 5, Nov/Dec 2005. Words by Naomi Stead. 

May / June 2005. This is an exhibition review of ‘The Studio of Jorn Utzon: Creating the Opera House,’ which took place at the Museum of Sydney in 2005. The curator of the exhibition was John Murphy. The review was commissioned by Architecture Australiaand published in volume 94, no. 3, May / June 2005, pp. 35-38. Words by Naomi Stead. 

April 2005. This is an essay commissioned by Aurora, the magazine of Aurora Place, which is a Sydney office building designed by Renzo Piano. The essay was published in the magazine under the title ‘Insight Out’ in April 2005, pp. 16-17. Words by Naomi Stead.

Mid 2005. This is a co-authored feature essayon product customisation, commissioned by (inside) Australian Design Review magazine, and published in vol. 38, 2005. Words by Naomi Stead and Maital Dar. 

Mid 2005. This is a building review of Substation number 175, an adaptive reuse project in Sydney’s Surry Hills by Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects. The review was published under the title ‘Substation no. 175: No Site Too Small’ in AR: Architectural Review Australia, vol 93, 2005, pp. 114-117. Words by Naomi Stead. 

June/July 2005. This is a building review of the Kings Lane development in Darlinghurst, Sydney, by Engelen Moore architects. The review was commissioned by Monument and published as ‘Modern Composition,’ Monument, vol 67, June/July 2005, pp. 82-88. Words by Naomi Stead. 

May 2005. This is an essay about the place of RSL clubs in Australian culture, commissioned by (Inside) Australian Design Review, and published in volume 36, May 2005. Words by Naomi Stead.

Mid 2005. This is an exhibition review of the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, Bathurst. Exhibition design by Thylacine. The review was commissioned by Artichoke: Interior Architecture and Design and published in issue 10, 2005, pp. 78-83. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Nov / Dec 2004. This is a co-authored feature essay about the history of Architecture Australia magazine, examined through the changing rhetoric and tone of its prose. The essay was commissioned by Architecture Australia on the occasion of its one hundredth anniversary, and published in vol 93 no 6, Nov/Dec 2004, pp. 26-30. Words by Paul Hogben and Naomi Stead. 

Sept / Oct 2004. This is an edited transcript of an interview with the American architectural academic and theorist Beatriz Colomina. The interview took place in Sydney in 2004, and was published in Architecture Australia, vol 93 no 5, Sept/Oct 2004, p.102-03. Words by Naomi Stead.

April / May 2004. This is a building review of an extension to St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, by architects Mitchell Giurgula Thorpe. It was published under the title ‘State of Grace’ in Monument, vol 60, April/May 2004, pp. 38-45. Words by Naomi Stead.

Mid 2003. This is a building review of the Asian Galleries extension to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, by architects Johnson Pilton Walker, and exhibition designers Freeman Ryan Design. It was published under the title ‘Light Extension’ in Monument, vol 58, 2003, pp. 56-62. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Mid 2003. This is a co-authored building review, of two houses by Nick Murcutt, the Reeves and Harrison Houses, on Sydney’s North Shore. The review was published in AR: Architectural Review Australia, Residential Special 2003, pp. 106-119. Words by Maryam Gusheh and Naomi Stead. 

Nov / Dec 2003. This is an essay about the state and conditions of written architectural criticism in Australia today, commissioned by Architecture Australia and published as ‘Three Complaints about Architectural Criticism’, vol 92 no 6, November / December 2003, pp. 50-52. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Mar / April 2003. This is an exhibition review of photographs by Skeet Booth and producer Damian Brinley of the Bondi Icebergs building before renovation. The review was commissioned by Architecture Australia and published as ‘Bondi Icebergs: A Photographic Exhibition’, Architecture Australia, vol 92, no 2, Mar/Apr 2003, pp. 25-26. Words by Naomi Stead. 

July / August 2003. This is a building review of Ellen Woolley and Peter Tonkin’s house, designed for themselves in Lilyfield, Sydney. The review was commissioned by Architecture Australia magazine and published as ‘A Little Brutalist Castle’, Architecture Australia, vol 92, no 4, July/August 2003, pp. 68-75. Thanks to Dr John Macarthur for his insightful ideas on image and material, and on the object character of Brutalism, which informed this review. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Early 2002. This is a project review of the refurbishment of the Tilbury Hotel, in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo, by Farnan Findlay Architects. It was commissioned by Artichoke: Interior Architecture and Design magazine and published in issue 4, 2002, pp. 58-65. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Nov / Dec 2002. This is a review of the salon des refusés exhibition of unsuccessful entrants to the competition to design the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. It was commissioned by Architecture Australia magazine and published in vol 91 no 6, Nov / Dec 2002, pp. 24-26. Words by Naomi Stead.

May / June 2002. This is a review of the process and outcomes of the second stage of the Ultimo Aquatic Centre and Public Space Competition, a project which was later to be renamed the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, in Sydney. This followed my earlier review of the first stage entries, to be found elsewhere here. This second stage review was published as ‘Radar Competition‘, Architecture Australia, vol 91, no 3, May/June 2002, pp. 14-18. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Jan / Feb 2002. This is a building review of the Anzac Hall extension to the Australian National War Memorial, Canberra, by architects Denton Corker Marshall. The review was published under the title ‘Memory and Museology’ in Architecture Australia, vol 91, no 1, Jan/Feb 2002, pp. 46-51. Words by Naomi Stead. 

Nov / Dec 2001. This is a building and exhibition review of an interpretative and spatial project for the Order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph at their convent in North Sydney. The project comprises historic interpretation of material related to Mary McKillop, and was curated by John Murphy – consultant curator, collaborating on this project with Sally Gray. The exhibition was designed by Freeman Ryan Design. This review was commissioned by Architecture Australia and published as ‘The Recollection Room,’ Architecture Australia, vol 90 no 6, Nov / Dec 2001, pp. 18-21. Words by Naomi Stead.

July / Aug 2001. This is a building review of the Eastern Avenue Auditorium and Lecture Theatre Complex at the University of Sydney, by Mitchell Guirgola Thorpe Architects. The review was commissioned by Architecture Australia and published as ‘Rigorous Abstraction’, Architecture Australia, vol 90, no 4, July/August 2001, pp. 24-25. Words by Naomi Stead.