He may be best known for his work on TV and radio (at different times hosting both the number one breakfast and drive shows in Sydney) but comedian Tim Ross has also always had a passion for architecture and design.
Over the last six years, he has performed his live Man About the House show in architecturally-significant buildings and homes all over the world. Turning each venue into a temporary theatre, Tim and musical partner Kit Warhurst perform sold-out shows in buildings designed by a who’s who of Australian architecture, including Harry Seidler, Robin Boyd, Glenn Murcutt, John Wardle, Clare Cousins and Roy Grounds. They’ve also taken the show on successful overseas tours that have included seasons in the United States and New Zealand, the Venice Biennale and the London Festival of Architecture. In 2018 they presented Man About the Sydney Opera House with special guest Kevin McCloud, the host of Grand Designs.
Tim also passionately supports important issues in Australian architecture and design, in particular the ‘Save Our Sirius’ campaign, fighting alongside the local community to protect Sydney’s now neglected modernist apartment building, Sirius. In 2018 Tim was awarded the National Trust Heritage Award for Advocacy, which recognised his activism in drawing attention to Australia’s legacy of modernist architecture and promoting its conservation. In 2019 Tim was awarded the National President’s Prize from the Australian Institute of Architects, to “recognise him for his advocacy, activism and outstanding contribution to the architecture profession”.
He has written on architecture for various publications including Real Living, Habitus, The Saturday Paper, The Smith Journal, QANTAS magazine and The Guardian. In 2017, Tim launched his second book, The Rumpus Room, capturing nostalgic short stories about life in Australia’s suburbs in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
Tim’s two-part series on Australian architecture, Streets of Your Town, premiered on ABC TV in November 2016 to rave reviews, and quickly became the most watched arts program on the ABC for the year.
In 2018, Tim partnered with the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney to curate his first exhibition, Design Nation. Bringing together design objects from the mid-1960s to late 1980s, and casting a spotlight on Australia’s rich manufacturing history, the exhibition looked at a golden age of innovation in Australia.
MOTEL by Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst toured Australia in 2019. A nostalgic, thought provoking and funny exploration of Australian holidays of the past, the show uses storytelling and song to take the audience on a sentimental motel journey. Motel. Images of Australia on holidays the book inspired by the live show and produced in conjunction with the National Archives of Australia.
Tim’s latest live show about why architecture matters, Designing A Legacy, premiered at the Sydney Opera House in February 2020. Part talk, part screening, part stand-up comedy, the show features Australian families whose lives have been shaped within the walls of modern masterpieces and poses the question of what will happen to these legacy homes. Commissioned by the ABC, Designing A Legacy has been adapted for television and went to air in February 2021, to rave reviews.