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Stan Grant - The importance of not having a home

Let’s talk about the importance of not having a home
– Stan Grant

Stan Grant at the Australian Institute of Architects Conference 2023

Stan Grant’s keynote speech at the Australian Institute of Architects Conference 2023 has left a lasting impression on many, sparking deep reflection on the “importance of NOT having a home.” His speech was thought-provoking, especially for the architects in the audience. 

Grant, an award-winning journalist and senior correspondent for CNN, drew on his personal experiences as a Wiradjuri, Kamilaroi, and Dharrawal man to challenge the conventional notions of home and belonging.

A Different Perspective

Grant’s childhood, spent living in a car with his family, serves as a powerful testament to the idea that a traditional home is not the only source of fulfillment. Despite lacking a permanent structure, the ability to gaze at the stars with his family made Grant feel complete and content. This perspective challenges the common narrative that defines home solely in terms of physical structures.

Conflicts and Exclusion

Grant delved into the conflicts arising from land ownership and borders, emphasizing how buildings can exclude people. He used Bondi Beach as an example, where tents marked designated areas for beachgoers, highlighting the exclusionary nature of borders. This emphasized the potential negative impact of borders within the built environment.

Bondi Beach, Photo from Elias/Getty Images

Communal Spaces and Inclusivity

In contrast to exclusive spaces, Grant praised the significance of communal areas, citing outdoor cafes in Paris as an example. These spaces, he argued, have the power to bring people together, fostering a sense of community and inclusivity. Grant’s emphasis on shared spaces challenges architects to prioritize designs that encourage connection rather than division.

Responsibility and Narrative Shaping

Grant urged the audience, predominantly composed of architects, to reflect on their responsibilities in shaping the spaces they create. He emphasized the role of words in constructing narratives about spaces, encouraging architects to consider the impact of their designs on inclusivity and the broader community.

Reflecting on Our Roles

Stan Grant’s keynote address at the Australian Institute of Architects Conference 2023 has undoubtedly been a highlight, challenging conventional views on the importance of home and emphasizing the power of spaces to either include or exclude. 

The speech left attendees contemplating their roles as architects and the impact of the built environment on inclusivity. Grant’s message prompts a reconsideration of the priorities and values embedded in architectural designs. As architects, we now find ourselves asking: How can our creations contribute to a more inclusive and connected society?

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