Talks / Designed by Women: the Lyceum Club

RMIT Design Archives - May 28/29
Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA). Image by Ellison Harvie, 1957, Architect, Stephenson & Turner, principal designer, Ellison Harvie, RMIT Design Archives.

Join RMIT Design Archives for a special collection viewing of Berenice Harris’ archive for the Lyceum Club in Ridgeway Place Melbourne, followed by a conversation at RMIT Design Hub with Melbourne architects Eli Giannini and Kerstin Thompson, and architectural historian Julie Willis.

When the modernist architect (Edythe) Ellison Harvie relinquished her role as the Club’s architect in 1957, architect Berenice Harris became her successor advising the Club on its development until 1987. Harris’ archive tells the story of the Club’s commitment to supporting women in architecture and design by engaging them as consultants and architects for its premises in Ridgeway Place.

The Club’s striking modern building in Ridgeway Place was designed in 1957 by Ellison Harvie. Since then a number of prominent architects have contributed to its refurbishment and expansion, including Berenice Harris and Kerstin Thomson Architects (KTA).

During the collection viewing you will have the opportunity to view drawings, photographs, correspondence and other records assembled by Berenice Harris.  There’ll also be an exhibition about the Lyceum Club curated by RMIT University’s Masters of Communication Design students.

The conversation between Eli Giannini, Kerstin Thompson and Julie Willis about the various transformations of the Club through the past 70 years will take place in the RMIT Design Hub lecture theatre at 5:30pm.  Numbers are limited for the collection viewing, and conversation. Please book separately for the collection viewing and the conversation.

Image credits: Perspective of the Lyceum Club by Ellison Harvie, 1957.
Architect: Stephenson & Turner, principal designer: Ellison Harvie, RMIT Design Archives.

Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA), Interior of the Lyceum Club, 2018, courtesy, Kerstin Thompson


Eli Giannini

Eli Giannini, AM, is an Australian architect and principal of MGS Architects in Melbourne. Giannini completed her architectural undergraduate studies at RMIT University in 1983 and Master of Design in 1993, entitled Metro-scape. She is a curatorial volunteer at the RMIT Design Archives, and has been documenting Berenice Harris’ work on the Lyceum Club (1979-1980s).

Kerstin Thompson

Kerstin Thompson is Principal of KTA and Adjunct Professor at RMIT and Monash Universities. A committed design educator she regularly lectures and runs studios at various schools across Australia and New Zealand. In recognition for the work of her practice, contribution to the profession and tertiary education, Kerstin was elevated to Life Fellow by the Australian Institute of Architects in 2017, appointed the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2022 and awarded the Gold Medal in 2023 – the Australian Institute of Architects’ highest honour – recognising distinguished services by architects.

Julie Willis

Julie Willis is a Professor of Architecture and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning. She is an authority on the history of Australian architecture 1890-1950 and has undertaken significant projects researching public buildings in community, civic and national identity; architecture during wartime and its subsequent impact on practice and production; and equity and diversity in the Australian architecture profession, and co-founder of Parlour.


Free, Booking Required:


Tue 28 May 4:00pm – 5:30am / Collection Viewing / Book now

Tue 28 May 5:30pm – 6:30pm / Conversation / Book now

RMIT Design Archives and RMIT Building 100 Lecture Theatre / Building 100 (Design Hub) – RMIT University, Victoria Street, Carlton VIC, Australia