Paul Walker, “John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense”

Drawing of a large building with multiple levels and a few figures seen throughout.

Drawing by John Andrews Architects, photo PANDA Associates, Canadian Architecture Archives, University of Calgary.

A recording of this event is available with audio description.

Event Description

John Andrews was the architect of a remarkable series of buildings starting with Scarborough College completed in Toronto’s outer suburbs in 1965 and ending with the Intelsat headquarters in Washington of 1988. In between came buildings in Canada, the United States, and Australia. This talk will focus on four of these projects: Scarborough, George Gund Hall for Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (1972), the Cameron Offices in Canberra (1976) a bureaucratic city for 4000 workers, and the project that brought Andrews back to his native Australia – and Intelsat. It will explore several themes relevant to understanding his work: the significance of geography, connections between his work and that of other architects of his generation, Andrews’s tendency to consider buildings as urban forms, his attitudes to construction and to environmental issues in building, and the significance of teamwork to his practice. Andrews also adopted the role of advocate for architecture and design beyond just his own. While Andrews often claimed his architecture was a matter of pragmatics – common sense the architectural strategies he employed were linked by their concern for human habitation and together produced complexities that evade reductivism. He was an architect of uncommon sense. 

Paul Walker is also the curator of John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense, on view in the Druker Design Gallery from October 28 – December 22. His lecture will be followed by a reception in the Gallery for the exhibition.


Headshot of Paul Walker, who stands outdoors.Paul Walker is a professor of architecture at the University of Melbourne where he teaches architectural history, theory, and design. He has written widely about modern and contemporary architecture in Australia and New Zealand and about British colonial architecture in various locations. Walker is a life member of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand.  With Justine Clark, he is the author of Looking for the Local: Architecture and the New Zealand Modern, Victoria University Press, Wellington (2000), and with Julia Gatley, Vertical Living: The Architectural Centre and the Remaking of Wellington, Auckland University Press (2014). His work has appeared in the Journal of Architecture, Fabrications, CLOG, Architecture Australia, and Volume. Walker is the editor and lead author of the John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense, forthcoming from Harvard Design Press. 

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