Day in the Age: A Critical Observation of Architecture

Webster, Dillon | Day, Kirsten | Raisbeck, Peter

What if? What next? Speculations on History’s Futures

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Architect Norman Day has been integral to shaping Melbourne’s built work since the early 1970s through built work, exhibitions, writing, and teaching. The representation of architecture through the written word of Norman Day revisits the role of the ‘Architectural Critic’ through a contemporary lens to assess the implication it made on the Australian built environment. Having worked in Robin Boyd’s office, Day was also the architectural commentator for The Age—Melbourne’s daily newspaper—from 1976-2011, where he contributed over 500 articles. During this time, he was Australia’s pre-eminent architectural critic also working with ABCTV and the Sydney Morning Herald. He was awarded the Bates Smart Award for Architecture in the Media in 2004.

This research was conducted as archival work of the written word in a variety of publications, mainly newspaper but also in books and magazine articles. The
analysis of these articles results in a grouped based content analysis referencing projects, themes, and chronology. Day’s main projects during this time are positioned alongside his public criticism. Several interviews were also undertaken with Norman Day.

Not dissimilar to Robin Boyd, it will be argued that Day’s architectural journalism as simultaneously making the activity of the architect accessible to the public, while communicating to architects globally the philosophies and methodologies at that moment in time. However, Day’s critiques, mode of criticisms and engagement with media were quite different from Boyd’s.