The art of building

NOT SO SQUARE: Main Arm/Mullumbimby in the mid-1970s.PHOTO: Tim Hixson
NOT SO SQUARE: Main Arm/Mullumbimby in the mid-1970s.PHOTO: Tim Hixson

THE do-it-yourself ethos and aesthetic of homebuilders - particularly in the period following the Aquarius Festival - will be showcased in an exhibition at the Lismore Regional Gallery next year, and organisers are calling on the community to help.

Curator Kezia Geddes said she and gallery director Brett Adlington both noticed how some of their friends lived in interesting houses and thought it said something special about the people of the region.

"The owner-built culture of this region delivered a variety of dwellings - some well-realised and the product of many years of careful work, some so experimental and makeshift that they no longer stand. The exhibition will profile a small number of exemplary houses, whilst also telling the broad story and context of the owner-builder movement," Kezia said.

"The stories are so interesting, like one lady who saw the whole design

for her house one night in the dream and spent the next few years building it.

Another couple saw Gaudi's architecture in Spain and returned home to build a beautiful and unique house in which they have continued to live for the past 40 years. That house is a work of art as much as it is a place to live."

The Not Quite Square exhibition will feature old photographs, documents such as architectural plans, stories and oral histories and newly commissioned photographs of existing owner-built houses. There will also be a film by local filmmaker Sharon Shostack focussing on local pioneers of sustainable architecture, many of whom have been building and adding to their house over several decades.

"Many of those who came to this region in the early 1970s stayed to establish low-cost, sustainable lifestyles. Their creativity and practical skills have resulted in this array of unique and architecturally interesting houses built on dreams. As the exhibition will demonstrate, this owner-builder practice that flourished in the '70s has continued to the present day.

"The seeds for multiple occupancy land sharing arrangements were also sown around this time... (and) many of the challenges faced by those early owner-designers and builders, such as lowering electricity costs and minimising water consumption, are now mainstream concerns," Kezia said.

The gallery is calling on anyone who has a story about these owner-built houses; how they were conceived, designed and built, how challenges were overcome, and of course personal stories about living in them.

Kezia said Col James, a lecturer in architecture from the University of Sydney, assisted many people with design ideas after the Aquarius Festival and took an interest in the DIY architectural movement that flourished in the following years. Now senior lecturer in architecture and urban design at Sydney University, Dr Leigh Stickells, will be coming up to do some research as part of the Not Quite Square project.

If you have a story, photos or other documents to lend to the exhibition, phone Kezia on 6622 2209, or email kezia.geddes@lismore.nsw

The exhibition will be displayed at the gallery from April 13 - June 2 next year.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Brave boy uncovers man's cow sex, child sexual abuse

A beast in the main arena at the 2012 Ekka.

Police praise boy for testimony of man's abuse and sex with a cow

DPI puts Dolphin Marine Magic 'all but out of business'

A battle over seal enclosures at Dolphin Marine Magic threatens the facility's ability to stay open, Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser warns.

DPI crackdown a threat to Dolphin Marine Magic, warns MP

Young hands ensure a strong future for Lismore

PARKING MAD: The new parking restrictions around the Lismore Base Hospital had not been popular.

A promise is a promise and Mayor happy to have followed through.

Local Partners

Brave boy uncovers man's cow sex, child sexual abuse

POLICE have praised a boy whose testimony led to a Coffs Coast man being found guilty of bestiality and multiple child sex offences.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Paul Capsis brings the nightlife to Tropical Fruits

LUMINOUS: Paul Capsis created a bespoke performance for NORPA's Generator fundraiser back in 2007.

As part of the Tropical Fruits Festival 2016.

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge