Red-dirt Voodoo: Rebuilding Australia’s Northwest

Originally published in Architectural Review Asia-Pacific magazine #128: New Civic Realms. All photography by Simon Sellars unless stated otherwise. In my time as AR editor, I never imagined the job would take me to Australia’s remote northwest and the Pilbara and Kimberley regions. How could architects design in places where there is no built environment to speak […]

If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It: or, What’s the Point of Architecture Criticism?

A panel of four speakers convened on 23 July as part of Refuel Victoria’s Monday Night Talks for ’Blood-Sport or Boosterism?’, a discussion about the nature of architecture criticism. The impetus behind the event was as follows: “What’s the point of architecture criticism? What are its conventions and can we productively subvert them? Who speaks and […]

Red Zone: the Regeneration of Christchurch

Christchurch Cathedral. Expanding on the theme of the 2011 SCAPE Biennial in Christchurch, Simon Sellars reports on the possibilities for regeneration in the city through art and architecture. ‘Only approach when all clear’ To paraphrase Hölderlin, ‘What are architects for in a destitute time?’… Let us recall the immortal American sergeant who said of Hue, […]

In Defence of the Virtual: A Secret History of Ballardian Film Adaptations

Originally published in the Norwegian-language magazine Vagant, May-August 2011, pp. 10-11. In 1986, Christian Bale, as a child actor, made his breakthrough in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, a film based on the wartime experiences of J.G. Ballard. Recently, Bale announced he was returning to Ballard in a forthcoming adaptation of the author’s classic […]

RealTime Archive Highlights: Animation

Originally published in RealTime magazine, September, 2009. I began writing about Australian animation in 2003, but only by default. I was in the queues for the Melbourne International Film Festival waiting to see various short film programs, which is what I intended to review. I kept overhearing the names ‘Adam Elliot’ and ‘Harvie Krumpet’ in […]

Crown Casino: ‘A snarling, digitised mutilation’

Originally published on, 27 May 2009. by SIMON SELLARS & STEVEN from MELB PSY Soundwalk by MELANIE CHILIANIS; photography by Simon Sellars. “The consumer society is a kind of soft police state. We think we have choice, but everything is compulsory. We have to keep buying or we fail as citizens. Consumerism creates huge […]

Kingston Brio

Photo: Andrew Rowat. (More photos here.) Originally published in Dwell, May 2008. Aaron Roberts and Thomas Bailey, the young architects behind room11, teamed up to design a house for Aaron’s parents, fixing the structure into the topography of the site. The Kingston House is deceptive. From the street only the property’s raised garage can be […]

The Making of a Tasmanian Film Industry

by Simon Sellars ‘The Making of a Tasmanian Film Industry’. Originally published in RealTime magazine #61, Jun-Jul 2004. In RT58, I interviewed a group of Melbourne directors and producers about the environmental factors that influence their films. Besides the weather, the main aspect cited was Melbourne’s distance from Sydney: geographically and financially (most of the […]

Cornerfold: Reinvigorating Web Writing

Cornerfold screenshot: I Am A Toaster: Courtney Collins/Allison Colpoys by Simon Sellars Originally published in RealTime magazine, no. 55 June–July 2003. The New York Times recently posited that only two things succeed on the Internet: shopping, as perfected by Amazon, and searching, as perfected by Google (pornography could be added, too, perfected by everyone). The […]