Hosted by the Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning and ACAHUCH (Australian Collaboratory for Architectural History, Urban and Cultural Heritage) at the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne, Australia, 6-9 July, 2016
Call for Papers: Abstracts due 14 October 2015
Call for Plenary Sessions: Proposals due 4 September 2015
Gold is the theme for the 2016 Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ).
Gold, for millennia, has fascinated humanity and possessed an extraordinary value amongst most civilizations. It was the favoured ultimate currency in many cultures and served as the signal form of capital: both its accumulation and its waste. It was the catalyst of wars, and constituted its spoils. Gold is the adjective to describe mythical lands: for Marco Polo, Japan was ‘Zipangu, the Land of Gold’. There have been venerated building types celebrating religious and cultural beliefs like ‘golden’ temples and ‘golden’ houses like Nero’s Domus Aurea. There have been buildings to protect gold, buildings which openly display it. In art and architectural historiography, there have been ‘golden’ periods and ‘golden ages’. Gold is about luxury, glamour and excess. It also has as its direct opposite objects of no value, things that might be described as worthless.
The 33rd Annual SAHANZ Conference to be held in Melbourne in July 2016 is to be devoted to the exploration of architecture and gold. The public announcement in 1851 that gold had been discovered in the newly created state of Victoria changed the course of Australian history. Melbourne, the state’s capital, grew to be one of the world’s great provincial metropolises and gold was its motor. In 1854, the Victorian Gold Discovery Committee observed that “The discovery of the Victorian Goldfields has converted a remote dependency into a country of world wide fame; it has attracted a population, extraordinary in number, with unprecedented rapidity; it has enhanced the value of property to an enormous extent; it has made this the richest country in the world; and, in less than three years, it has done for this colony the work of an age, and made its impulses felt in the most distant regions of the earth.” Melbourne is thus the ideal conference venue for critically examining gold and the history of the built environment.
Please check the SAHANZ Homepage for further information.