Linda Bennett: Ethics, Anarchy, and Architecture
What do you get when you mix the practice of ethics and anarchy and apply it to architecture? You get Arch-Ninja, and its founder Linda Bennett.
Linda studied at the University of Technology, Sydney completing her Bachelor of Arts, followed by a Masters degree in Architecture. She graduated top of class across all areas of study, including history, theory, practice, construction and design. During her studies, Linda worked forArchitectus on 1 Bligh St.
After graduating she travelled to Europe and the US before returning to work for Rodgers, Stirk Harbour and Partners on the Barrangaroo Redevelopment project in Sydney.
In 2012 Linda relocated to Melbourne and is now working once again for Architectus. In her spare time Linda is the founder and author of archi-ninja.com and is also working on a number of design projects. Currently, she is exploring the meaning of home through the DIY Concrete House Ring.
The Quick Details:
Name: Linda Bennett
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Occupation: Architect and designer
Title: Architecture graduate and all round freelance designer, writer, traveler
Degree(s)/Education: Bachelor of Arts in architecture, Master of architecture.
Your personal hero(s): Henry Rollins, Greg Graffin, Stephen Hawking, Andrew Maynard, pinky and the brain, family and friends.
What first made you interested in architecture?
I initially studied architecture because it has the ability to contribute to the making of society. I have a strong interest in working on projects that have a social and political agenda. I have always been inspired by the ethics of punk (2 hero’s noted above happen to be from punk bands!) and anarchy and often apply this interest to architecture and criticism.
Architecture is dependent upon commission and regulation; the architect must work within a timeframe, budget and brief, and is restricted according to safety, money and law. Anarchy, on the other hand is the generic social and political suggestion that expresses negation of all power, autonomy, domination and division.
Architecture happens to naturally prosper under the structures and regulations that anarchy aims to eliminate. But it is precisely the differences and contradictions between the ideologies of architecture and anarchy that motivates my role in architecture.
What do you do now?
During the day I work for Architectus, which is an architecture office, located in Melbourne. I have no desire to leave architecture but have so much energy to work on lots of side projects that explore mediums, themes or scales not possible in my day job.
Established in 2008 as a university project, I am the founder of archi-ninja.com. The ninja is symbolic of an underground culture, a figure unobserved and highly-trained. Archi-ninja therefore seeks to explore topics in architecture outside mainstream media. The content tends to evolve with my thinking and is reflective of what I am currently researching or inspired by.
I am also the designer of the DIY Concrete House Ring, a high quality silver and concrete composite unisex ring. Rooted in the architecture and construction industry, the ring is packaged as a DIY kit, which invites you to experience the unique and rewarding process of making.
Instigated by a journey through themes of scale, intimacy, meaning, memory and experience, the DIY Concrete House Ring is a statement piece, offering multiple narratives that are subject to each unique making and allow you to integrate your personal associations with the meaning of “home.”
Do you apply your architecture background to your current job?
I cross-pollinate so many technical skills between my various roles and jobs in architecture, design and writing. I use all the knowledge gained from these various networks and reapply them where possible.
My thinking across each industry is always related back to architecture. Architecture education is so intense that it appears un-doable, even when I try to venture away, I always return. The DIY Concrete House Ring is rooted deeply in the architecture and construction industry. During its making I spoke with builders rather than jewelers. Even the silver component is constructed to work like re-bar in building design. It is here that exciting intersections occur between traditionally separate industries.
What’s in store for the future of the architecture education, the profession, and/or the building industry?
Wowzers! Tough question. Until the 1800s there was no clear distinction between the project manager, architect, builder, or engineer. Today, architects affect less than 5% of building development that occurs globally. The role of architecture in building is diminishing, and as a result architects are expanding into broader areas of design, history, theory, and hypothesis. Inherently this is exactly what I am doing; yet I would like to see architects regain their position in the industry by returning to the construction site to perform the role of architect, project manager and builder. I wrote an article about this recently.