At Action!, Rory Hyde has written a great review of ‘extra/ordinary’, the national conference of the Australian Institute of Architects. Framed around a description of work presented by Elemental, Teddy Cruz, and F.A.T., the post raises some of the same issues we’re discussing in mammoth’s recent post on The Infrastructural City.
On the necessity of a command-line architecture:
Architects presented innovative (and often idealistic) approaches to complex problems, while not afraid to go beyond the discipline to engage with the pragmatics of financing, policy or public engagement in order to see them executed [...] If we continue to hitch our future on offering rarefied aesthetics instead of participation in the complex mechanisms of the city, our days are surely numbered.
On the lack of any singular, linear relationship among formal styles, purpose, and instrumentality:
Aravena showed his teeth (when I provoked him), claiming that ‘I don’t buy from that presentation that that is the taste of the people, it was extremely exaggerated, a bit ironic, and I don’t think you can play with these kinds of issues, [social housing] is a serious thing.’ This comment – and other backchat from delegates to the same effect – seemed to capture a major rift in the reception of the ideas presented; namely that social ambitions ought to be expressed with a corresponding language of earnestness. Has our Modernist training led us architects to measure authenticity and honesty by image not impact?
You should go read the whole thing.