Architects thinking locally acting globally.

A one-week residential Master Class was held in the Blue Mountains in March 2012 with eminent American architect Rick Joy from Arizona, Richard Leplastrier, Peter Stuchbury and Lindsay Johnston. The Blue Mountains region, west of Sydney, is designated as a World Heritage Area, due to the spectacular scenery and unique vegetation, one of the most diverse eucalypt communities in the world.

We had become aware the fantastic Norwegian program of building architect designed lookouts, rest areas and small buildings on major tourist routes – ‘Detour – Nasjonale Turistveger’. We decided to set as the project for the Master Class, an investigation of Evans Lookout, a short walk down the road from the venue of the master class at Jemby Rinjah Lodge at Blackheath, with a view to developing proposals for the improvement of the visitor experience, reviewing the landscape and planning, and to possibly design a lookout or lookouts.

Sixteen architects, including some fine award-winning people, working in pairs, produced some excellent ideas.

One of the members of the Architecture Foundation, Joan Domicelj, architect, former ICOMOS Vice President and World Heritage Director, who was centrally involved in getting the Greater Blue Mountains designated as a world heritage area, drew to our attention the Australian 'National Landscapes' program, and suggested we should show the outcomes of the Blue Mountains Master Class to the Parks Australia and Tourism Australia.

Joan Domicelj, and Geoff Luscombe Regional Manager Blue Mountains of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, sat in on the final presentations with Rick Joy and the other tutors.

The master class outcomes have since been presented to the Director of the Australian ‘National Landscapes’ program, as a small 'seed' of a proposal for a program of architect designed lookouts and other facilities in these designated 'National Landscapes' across Australia, along the lines of the Norwegian example.