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7 OCTOBER 2014—

‘The Australian Ugliness’ lunchtime reading

Free! Every day (except weekends and public holidays), 12.00pm–12.15pm

‘The Australian Ugliness’ lunchtime reading
Every day (except weekends and public holidays), 12.00pm–12.15pm

Whether you’re strolling the streets or scrolling through Instagram, you’ve experienced The Australian Ugliness—but have you read it? Published in 1960, Robin Boyd’s bestselling book presented an unexpected and fierce critique of the ‘featurism’ inherent in Australian suburban architecture. Labelled unpatriotic (and worse) at the time, his 268-page work went on to fuel a productive, nationwide debate about design, architecture and urban planning.

“The basis of the Australian ugliness,” Boyd wrote, “is an unwillingness to be committed on the level of ideas. In all the arts of living, in the shaping of all her artefacts, as in politics, Australia shuffles about vigorously in the middle—as she estimates the middle—of the road, picking up disconnected ideas wherever she finds them.”

Is this still true fifty-four years later? And if so, how can we change the way design works in Australia’s cities and suburbs?

In the spirit of general, generative conflict, MPavilion presents a lunchtime dip into The Australian Ugliness. Join us at midday each Monday to Saturday as a relay team of Melbourne architects and design fans reads aloud from Boyd’s caustic masterpiece for fifteen minutes—day by day, cover to cover—then stick around afterwards for some healthy disagreement in the gardens.

Daily reader schedule


Wednesday 8 October: Peter McIntyre
Thursday 9 October: Tony Lee
Friday 10 October: Shane Murray
Saturday 11 October: Penny Modra


The Descent into Chaos

Monday 13 October: Susan Renouf
Tuesday 14 October: Alison Cleary
Wednesday 15 October: Kate Rhodes
Thursday 16 October: Philip Goad
Friday 17 October: Nic Dowse
Saturday 18 October: Martin Carlson

Monday 20 October: Ingrid Bakker
Tuesday 21 October: Josephine Ridge
Wednesday 22 October: Frank Lloyd Wrong
Thursday 23 October: Jan Van Schaik
Friday 24 October: Qianyi Lim
Saturday 25 October: Shelley Roberts

The Featurist Capital

Monday 27 October: Kelly Fliedner
Tuesday 28 October: Stuart Geddes
Wednesday 29 October: Amy Muir
Thursday 30 October: John Henry
Friday 31 October: Ann Keddie
Saturday 1 November: Peter Mallatt

Monday 3 November: Charlotte Day
Tuesday 4 November: NO READING TODAY


Anglophiles and Austericans

Wednesday 5 November: James Carter
Thursday 6 November: Mary Vallentine
Friday 7 November: Joel Stern
Saturday 8 November: Emma Telfer

Monday 10 November: Kane Daniel
Tuesday 11 November: Mitra Anderson-Oliver
Wednesday 12 November: Ben Evans
Thursday 13 November: Nella Themelios

Pioneers and Arboraphobes

Friday 14 November: Kerry Gardner

Monday 17 November: Kim Irons
Tuesday 18 November: Norman Day
Wednesday 19 November: Robert Buckingham
Thursday 20 November: Fleur Watson
Friday 21 November: Jon Cattapan
Saturday 22 November: Tony Lee

Monday 24 November: Richard Stampton
Tuesday 25 November: Jessie French
Wednesday 26 November: Stephen Bram

The Non-Featurists

Thursday 27 November: Elizabeth Nash
Friday 28 November: Max Boyd

Monday 1 December: Rachel Elliot-Jones
Tuesday 2 December: Mikala Tai
Wednesday 3 December: Deanne Butterworth
Thursday 4 December: Dan Honey
Friday 5 December: Nicholas Braun
Saturday 6 December: Courtney Gibbs

Monday 8 December: Andrej Vod

The Innocent Era

Tuesday 9 December: Adele Winteridge
Wednesday 10 December: Nicole Durling
Thursday 11 December: Danni Zuvela
Friday 12 December: Frank Lloyd Wrong

Monday 15 December: Thomas Jeppe
Tuesday 16 December: Ewan McEoin
Wednesday 17 December: Quino Holland
Thursday 18 December: Jeremy Yuille
Friday 19 December: Meredith Forrester


Monday 12 January: Sam Redston

The Pursuit of Pleasingness

Tuesday 13 January: Christian Wagstaff
Wednesday 14 January: Rosemary Redston
Thursday 15 January: Karen Monaghan
Friday 16 January: Kerstin Thompson

Monday 19 January: Michael Roper
Tuesday 20 January: Robert Buckingham
Wednesday 21 January: Ross Paxman
Thursday 22 January: Paul Fuog
Friday 23 January: Peter Maddison

Monday 26 January: NO READING TODAY
Tuesday 27 January: Christie Petsinis
Wednesday 28 January (finale): Shelley Roberts

The Ethics of Anti-Featurism

Wednesday 28 January (finale): Tony Lee


Wednesday 28 January (finale): Kim Kaye