This research selective at the University of Queensland School of Architecture (semester 2, 2016) was run by Janina Gosseye, Deborah van der Plaat and Don Watson and focused on the life and work of Robin Gibson (1930-2014), one of Queensland’s most distinguished architects. Gibson raised the community’s understanding and appreciation of architecture through advocacy and the consistent high quality of his public and private projects. Apart from some of his large public commissions in Brisbane, including the Queensland Art Gallery, Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Museum and State Library … Gibson’s architectural work and career remain largely unstudied. The aim of this research selective was to determine the range and usefulness of primary resources – architectural plans, drawings, models and correspondence – relating to Gibson’s life and career held within various public and private collections across Queensland, including the private collection held by the family of Robin Gibson. Using these sources, students were asked to prepare an exhibition on the life and work of Robin Gibson. This involved an understanding of not only the architect’s life story and the work he produced, but also necessitated an appreciation of the different ways in which the story of an architect’s life can be exhibited. Students were encouraged to seek innovative ways of exhibiting the material that they discovered in archives. Each student was responsible for developing one particular component of the exhibition, but the overall curating of the exhibition – i.e. deciding on themes and parameters – was done collectively.

The students – a group of 8 – opted to prepare a digital exhibition, which consisted of a folding map with various components, including: a short bio, a timeline of works and a walking tour with crossword puzzle. This map also featured a short introduction to the six films that were produced, which can be viewed online by scanning the QR codes on the map. Each of these films focused on one particular typology from Gibson’s rich architectural oeuvre: (1) commercial designs; (2) religious buildings; (3) cultural work; (4) educational work; (5) residential designs and (6) unrealised projects.

Images of the map, produced by Patricia Bozyk and Bansi Vekaria:

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 Film featuring Robin Gibson’s unrealised projects, produced by Jonathan Chew: