The Asia Pacific Architecture Symposium

The AP Architecture Symposium was held at the Queensland State Library and was attended by Bec.  Here are some of her favourite architects and projects!

T E R R A I N   A R C H I T E C T S

Fumi Kashimura & Ikko Kobayashi

Fumi Kashimura & Ikko Kobayashi

This young japanese practice was really inspirational for their work across the Asia Pacific and Uganda.  Their work is humble but cohesive and it had an incredible beauty through its appropriateness for the site and culture in which it sits.  They summed up their works as being about “reading the site carefully, observing the people and working with the local material and workers”.  Their work showed that there can be joy in limitation.

The AU Dormitory in Uganda used locally made brick to build a series of walls and pavilion spaces to house the students.  The planning was set up on a grid to create shade throughout the dormitory and a series of courtyard spaces linked by garden.  I was stunned by how beautiful the red ground and red brick walls were together.

terrain arch 1.jpg

F A C E T   S T U D I O

Facet Studio are again some really talented Japanese Architects with Australian training and an office in Sydney as well as Japan.  They presented a competition they won and saw built, providing a new chapel and exhibition space for the Doshisya University.

They had a striking way of looking at the problem and spoke about challenging assumptions in briefs, in order to find the real gem of the project.  The outcome was a beautiful scheme that cleverly integrated a major pedestrian arterial within their building footprint.  A few images below (sigh… beautiful)!

P A T T E R S O N S  &   A S S O C I A T E S

Andrew Patterson, of Pattersons in New Zealand, spoke eloquently of the duality of New Zealand culture.  His practice is inspired by the Maori culture of ‘form follows whanua’ – a Maori word for ‘family’ or ‘community’.  Evident in his work was a number of ways in which the family/community identity forms the template for his architecture.

One such project was the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth, NZ.  To house the works of Len Lye – a famous sculptural artist – and to celebrate the communities stainless steel industry, the building is a sculptural object sitting beside the existing community hall.  The stainless steel is an interlocking motif of a Maori pattern letting shafts of light into a concrete clad hallway that surrounds the new gallery.  The dramatic interior space is simply stunning with a grand 'curtain' like form.  The architect stated that there had been a significant upturn in tourist spending in the town since the building opened.  The architect's boyish pleasure at delivering such a successful project was a really refreshing thing to see in such a formal setting!  More photos below :)

more info can be found at


May Tree Studios 2015 Christmas Party

The May Tree Studios team topped of a great year with a wonderful day of festive celebrations.  We began by indulging our creative sides and getting in touch with nature in a wreath making workshop at Wildeflora in West End.  

After brief stop in to adorn the Saccaromyces Beer Cafe with our freshly made wreaths we headed to the Stokehouse where we enjoyed great company, a beautiful view and a long, delicious lunch.    Then, back to Saccaromyces Beer Cafe for an evening of drinks and laughter with the colleagues, clients, family and friends that helped to make 2015 such a great year.

Bamiyan Cultural Centre Competition

Greetings everyone. We have been a little busy in our studio since the new year has rolled in but we wanted to take the time to update you all on an exciting competition we have collaborated on with some other talented architects, Rebecca Caldwell, Michelle Cook, Regina Kaluzny and Phillip Nielsen

The UNECSO office in Afghanistan commissioned a competition for professionals to submit a design for the Bamiyan Cultural Centre in Afghanistan, in a city surrounded by beautiful mountain scapes within the agrarian community, a community that has historically endured constant conflict and unrest. 

The Bamiyan Culutral Centre Competition design brief for this site was to create a centre that would provide a space for exhibitions, training, research and education that would restore community back to this culturally rich site and encourage local residents and Afghan at large to “move beyond conflict, to reclaim their shared heritage and to step towards building a peaceful future” (Mojadidi and Noshadi, 2014, 9). 

  The design objectives include the following; 

     To enrich community life through programs and cultural events such as festivals, films, drama, music, dance, etc., that reflect the culture of the region and use these forms of communication to disseminate information and to raise awareness on cultural heritage. 

    To provide a venue and organize a variety of cultural, educational and recreational programs for the public to learn and appreciate different facets of Afghanistan’s heritage, history and cultural context. 

    To foster and cultivate cultural exchange between different ethnic groups in Afghanistan in order to contribute meaningfully to the spirit of multi-culturalism. 

    To promote the creation, performance and appreciation of arts by coordinating arts advocacy. 

    To serve the community by establishing, maintaining and operating a unique facility and provide services that contribute to the vitality of the community. 

    To serve the democratic society by providing a public space for civil society. 

In response, we proposed a centre that aimed to capture the diverse heritage of the Bamiyan Valley as well as represent the cultural variety of the Afghanistan community - It will become a place where ideas are exchanged, discoveries are made in research laboratories and above all else, people from all cultures can gather. 

UNESCO’s Afghaistan office announced the winners of the Bamiyan Cultural Centre in March this year, and huge congratulations to the Argentina-based team for a great achievement, winners out of 1070 design entries from 117 various countries. To see all the competition entries, click here.

To see our full design entry – see below. 

May Tree Studios 2014 Christmas Party

Our Christmas party was a mix of nerdy design activity and mouth-watering food.  With our champagne in hand we headed to Showroom, which is such an inspiring, artsy shop stocking local designer's and artist's work.  They run classes in all sorts of things, and we had a private Terrarium making class.  Mud under the nails and charcoal smeared faces make for happy little 'nano-scapers'!  If you are looking for a unique gift, we urge to you to check out Showroom!

AND THEN! We headed to Pony for a lazy afternoon spent overlooking the Story Bridge and Brisbane River while we dined on some of the most amazing food and drink. YUMMM!

Check out our gallery here:

New Early Learning Centre

We have been working tirelessly here at May Tree Studios on the interiors for a new Early Learning Centre for an outer western Brisbane suburb.  The client who owns and manages one centre already, has a vision for delivery of high quality child care and early learning.  Our vision for the centre is to create a timeless, warm interior with colours inspired by the Australian landscape - bush, beach, outback, rainforest and ocean reef.

Natural colours are contrasted with bold pops of colour, increasing in brightness and variation as the children get older and rest/quiet time becomes less important that active play.

The job goes to tender in a few weeks and we will update you on news as the spaces come to life!


visual summary of the interior concept mapped against ages of the children

view of the reception - a central aquarium provides amenity for staff, a playspace for children and a way to organise movement through the space

corridors are a challenging part of large childcare centres - windows at child height help to bring natural light into the corridor as well as create interest for children and parents as they make their way to their rooms

corridors are a challenging part of large childcare centres - windows at child height help to bring natural light into the corridor as well as create interest for children and parents as they make their way to their rooms