Kirsten is a registered architect in the state of Victoria/Australia and is a principal architect with Norman Day + Associates. She has worked on numerous projects in Australia and in the Asia-Pacific Region.


Swan House, Frankston South 2017

Research background:
Field: Sea change options, design re-acquaintance + construction.
Large numbers of baby-boomers are reaching an older age which requires them to reassess their needs for housing, finances, health, and fitness to work and live. This project encompasses that scope for a client for whom we had previously designed an inner city house (for herself and her late husband). She desired a smaller place, with necessary sustainable and secure designs for access, ease of operation, and comfort to see her through her later years. She also wanted it to continue the concepts of our original design which were contemporary, open planned and well day lit. The project cost was to be contained within a strict cost budget.

Research contribution:
We assisted find a suitable site for the project, where an existing building could be recycled for a new purpose. It is located near the beach and was a small three-bedroom villa with dated internal resources. We investigated appropriate technology, equipment, fittings and fixtures and adopted the requirements for aged access in a way that is not apparently different from the norm. The strategy was to retain the existing external shell of the house, completely strip and rebuild internally. We analysed the structure to ensure we could provide large open and well-lit space and the relocation of furniture and artworks from the original house.

Research significance:
The project was completed in 2017 on time and within a budget that would represent approximately 50% of the cost of a new house on the site. Internal planning has removed entirely a number of walls, so the house becomes and open planned, easy access dwelling with entirely new ceilings, walls, floors, electrical and wiring, sustainable heating and completely newly fitted bathroom, laundry, kitchen and storage cupboards throughout. The recycling of existing building stock for new functions to suit a growing aged population at low cost and using sustainable principles has produced a workable paradigm for similar projects.

Stanhill Apartment 2, Melbourne 2012

Research background:
Field: Historic apartment, renewal fitout, heritage issues.
Stanhill is a heritage listed building, an early example of off-form concrete structure erected in Australia, designed by Frederick Romberg in 1943 and completed after War II in 1950. The external fabric is protected but interiors can be constructed provided it can be shown they can be removed and the original fabric reinstated. The interior architecture is characterised by curved formed plaster over the concrete frame and larges steel window frames allowing views across Albert Park. Original fitouts were generally small for kitchens and bathrooms. The color palette was limited by post-war supply but mainly associated with the Modern Movement of pre-war Europe.

Research contribution:
Research centred on the limitations of heritage legislation and finding an appropriate expression of replanning and update fitouts to suit current needs. The process entailed uncovering the basic frames of Romberg’s design which would remain, while allowing for alteration to infill panels which respected the original concept. New fittings are designed with reference to the original and colors were selected by reference to the original mosaic tiles of the apartments. Floors are polished timber as the original and walls remain off-white. Incandescent lighting is limited to the original wall lights and mobile lamps. Fittings such as taps, handles, door furniture and wall tiles were selected by reference to Romberg’s preferred preferences.

Research significance:
The significance of this project research is that it is designed to respect the heritage of the original author/architect so there is a clear definition between the original fabric and new, but the contemporary works respect the former. No alteration was made to the basic character and structure of the building, so it remains intact. The result is a present-day fitout suited for living now – some 70 years after the building was built.

Nasekula community Centre, Labasa, Fiji 2010

Research background:
Field: Community, site analysis, design + construction
Nasekula is a small village collective located in the larger town of Labasa which is on the northern island of Vanua Levu. The community contains around 2000 people who live in small houses centred on an old Methodist church which acts as their religious centre, community hall, school and ceremonial place. The community Chief, Eliki Tikoidraubuta had contacted Architects Without Frontiers (AWF) seeking help to expand the hall so it could properly provide accommodation the hamlet needed. AWF offers pro-bono architectural services for such a purpose.

Research contribution
As the appointed AWF architects, we provided architectural services for this project, including site mapping, analysis of the community needs, projections of design options and outcomes and documentation of the various proposals. We visited the community a number of times (at our own expense), to form a relationship between us and to best understand the needs, mitigating issues, history, and limits imposed for the project. We treated the exercise also as an educational opportunity to discuss construction, design, and methodologies applicable to Fiji.

Research significance
As a result of our contribution, we were able to show how diverse cultures can effectively interact for good achievement. We adapted traditional Fijian architectural expression with contemporary design and documented a renewed and expanded building which would house most of the adult community while showing how existing fabric could be usefully deployed to a new purpose. The designs embrace local traditions and techniques, so the scope of the building is within the community’s grasp.

RMIT University South Saigon, HCMC Vietnam – Masterplan and Stage 1 project

Research background:
Field: Education, site analysis, masterplanning, phasing + construction
RMIT University is based in Melbourne Australia, and services a large population of international students especially those from Asia. As part of their global aspirations, they won a bid to provide the only international university licence to operate in Vietnam and we were employed to design the masterplan for a new $USD160 million university and for full architectural services for the first stage buildings (valued at $USD22 million).

Research contribution:
Under our guidance, the university established a principle to provide a world-leading campus adopting the highest level of international standards, but also to reflect the Vietnamese culture, urban design traditions and architectural history. We investigated the various layers of history of Vietnamese construction, materials, building techniques, landscape and planning to establish a guide-map for our designs. In addition, we analysed means of construction which would reflect local capabilities also those that would provide educational opportunities for Vietnamese trades-people.

Research significance:
This project was able to combine the flexible needs of an international tertiary educational program which would be delivered at a high level of sophistication using traditions for construction which contributed to the local economy and a number of advanced technologies which were employed as part of the construction and which attracted training and practical capacity education of locals so they could contribute to this project and also establish ongoing careers based on their new skills.

Winner: Australian Business Award – “Business Innovation” – AUSCHAM Vietnam  – 2005.



Role: Curator and organiser

Future Housing: Global Cities and Regional Problems

Interdisciplinary – International Conference. Part of the Housing-Critical Futures Program
Location: Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Dates: June 09-10th. 2016

Melbourne, Australia

Kirsten’s involvement with this project began after presenting a conference paper at The Mediated City conference in London 2014. Over a two-year period, Kirsten worked with AMPS director Dr. Graham Cairns to bring the conference to Swinburne. The conference had 33 papers presented, 57 presenters (from twelve different countries) including two pecha kucha sessions – Housing 2030 and Decisions, Decisions, Downsizing.

The conference was opened by Prof. Aleksandar Subic (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Development), Dr. Graham Cairns (Director of AMPS) and Ms. Jill Garner (Victorian Government Architect). The keynote speakers for the conference were Professor Esther Charlesworth (Founding Director Architects without Frontiers, Australian Research Council Future Fellow – Architecture on the Edge Designing Sustainable Housing Systems for Vulnerable Communities, and Director of RMIT Master Degree in Disaster, Design and Development; and Dr Tom Alves (Office of the Victorian Government Architect and Research Fellow at Swinburne Institute for Social Research).

In addition to the Conference Proceedings, papers from this conference are published in:

Day, Kirsten, and Christakis Chatzichristou, eds. Housing Solutions through Design. Housing the Future Series. Farington, Oxfordshire: Green Frigate Books, 2017.

Cairns, Graham, Georgios Artopoulos, and Kirsten Day. From Conflict to Inclusion in Housing: Interaction of Communities, Residents and Activists. London: UCL Press, 2017.

Further papers are included in Housing Design: Practice, Community, and Pedagogy. Housing the Future Series – also published by Green Frigate Books to be published in 2018.

Information on the practice: