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Meet our new resident architect professor

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Introducing Brit Andresen, the latest addition to our architecture professors in residence.

Brit Andresen is a leading Architect who has spent as much of her time designing and studying Architecture as she has teaching it, passing on her insights and expertise. In a field where the push is mainly for practice rather than combining practise with theory and teaching, the profession has thrived from the variety of experiences and knowledge shared by Andresen.

Andresen spent her youth in between Norway and Australia following her father's career as an engineer. She settled in Norway to further her studies at Trondheim University, receiving a scholarship to study housing typology in the Netherlands.

From the beginning she was teaching and in practice, rather than just pursuing one then another. After completing her research scholarship, Andresen became a tutor at the AA in London and at at Cambridge - where she collaborated with Architect Barry Gasson to jointly win a competition for the Burrell Museum in Glasgow.

This prompted a move to the UK, unfortunately it transpired some five years later when the documentation was completed that there were insufficient funds to build and the project was put on hold for several years. This big down turn in the European economy brought Andresen to Australia however she never intended to stay as long as she did (intending to return when building started some years later).

In 1977, Andresen accepted a teaching role at the University of Queensland, where she was the first woman in the department. Within this time she met Peter O'Gorman whom she married and established a practice together, Andresen O'Gorman Architects.

Over the years her teaching has brought her many opportunities to travel. Such as a visiting academic for a month in Malta, as well as, taking students on travel programs to Papua New Guinea and India in the early years and later Finland and Japan.

Although she was responsible for teaching design to whole year groups she has also directed a range of electives and theses in the areas of architectural history and conservation and with a colleague ran the Queensland country towns project with students. Andresen says teaching offers "a great sense of joy in sharing ideas and knowledge of discipline she enjoys".

Upon making the move to the University of Newcastle, Andresen shared her views of the progression of the study of Architecture in Australia.

"I would like to see that students develop deeper knowledge across all key areas of the discipline," such as basic design and construction principles in both current practise and through history. She also advocates maintaining a range of skills in architectural representation.

"Just because we learn new methods, such as digital skills, why are hand drawings skills now so poor in many schools?”

In 2002 Brit Andresen was awarded the AIA Gold Medal. Andresen was also the first woman recipient to receive it. This was in recognition of her achievements as a designer and an academic around the world.

Images

  • Mooloomba House by Andresen O’Gorman Architects
  • Lookout House by Andresen O’Gorman Architects
  • Ocean View Farmhouse by Andresen O’Gorman Architects
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