What is… architecture?

By Tania Davidge20 Oct 2012No commentsThis post is


Beginning with the question – What is… Architecture? – this discussion and debate series will unpack some of the issues that face us as architects.

Join us for an afternoon drink and some great discussion each Sunday in October. Entry is a gold coin donation which goes towards venue hire and documentation costs.

Culminating in a panel discussion for the 2012 Melbourne Architecture Annual, each week we will ask a variety of interesting and persuasive architectural professionals to address the following topics:

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 04. WHAT IS…
… PUBLIC architecture?
(architecture for the PUBLIC)

Melbourne Architecture Annual panel discussion
12pm, Sunday 28 October, 2012
BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square

Our speakers will reflect upon their favourite public spaces, what makes good public spaces work, how architects and designers can help design buildings and environments that facilitate and reinforce community engagement, and why an ongoing commitment to public space is important.

Donald Bates – Director of LAB Architecture Studio and Chair of Architectural Design, University of Melbourne

Dr. Melanie Dodd – Director of Muf_aus and Associate Professor, RMIT

Jill Garner – Associate Victorian Government Architect, director of Garner Davis Architects

Simon Knott – Director of BKK and founder/co-host of ‘The Architects’ on radio station 3RRR

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 01. WHAT IS…

debate: Architecture is ALL about Buildings
2-4pm, Sunday 7 October, 2012
Fitzroy Bowls Club
578 Brunswick St, Fitzroy North

In 1968 Hans Hollein wrote:

Today a museum or a school can be replaced by a TV set. Architects must cease to think only in terms of buildings… A true architecture of our time will have to redefine itself and expand its means. Many areas outside traditional building will enter the realm of architecture, as architecture and ‘architects’ will have to enter new fields.
All are architects. Everything is architecture.

40 years on, architects are asking themselves whether this position is liberating or confining? Does it open up architectural practice to multi-disciplinary collaboration and the exploration of other architectural paths beyond building? Or, has this type of thinking allowed the power and strength of the profession to dissipate through a lack of intensity and a lack of focus?

speakers for the affirmative:
Stuart Harrison, Suzannah Waldron, Maitiu Ward
speakers for the negative:
Peter Johns, Juliet Moore, Anthony Parker

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02. WHAT IS…
… the purpose of ORNAMENT in contemporary architecture?

debate: Less is More VERSUS Less is a Bore
2pm, Sunday 14 October, 2012
Middle Park Bowls Club

A building’s ornamentation used to give the person on the street cues as to the importance of the building and its program and function. In contemporary society the way a building communicates through its ornamentation has changed significantly. Can buildings still speak to us and to the wider public? Do they even need to?

Melbourne is a great place to talk about the role of ornament in contemporary architecture and our architects engage with this question in a myriad of passionate and sophisticated ways. What are the foundations for these positions, what attitudes do they represent and in what ways do they engage the people who use them?

Is less MORE or is it just a BORE?

‘Less is MORE’ speakers:
Charity Edwards, Paul Minifie, Simon Whibley
‘Less is a BORE’ speakers:
Nigel Bertram, Kris Green, Jeremy McLeod

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 03. WHAT IS…
… the importance of PLAY in design?

debate: Architecture is SERIOUS business
2pm, Sunday 21 October, 2012
Middle Park Bowls Club
Tram: Middle Park stop, #96 tram
Parking: exit left off Canterbury road (opposite the
Middle Park Hotel) and go UNDER the tram lines.

Architecture is a weighty profession as serious amounts of capital are involved. However the realisation of architecture is also a creative act. Architects balance the pragmatics of the client’s needs and the playfulness inherent in the act of designing.

What is the balance we need to strike between addressing the client’s expectations of what a building should be like (experientially and physically) and stretching the boundaries of a client’s comfort zone in an effort to create innovative, unexpected and intriguing buildings and spaces?

Architecture is not all fun and games. There are serious issues that need to be addressed in terms of our cities, the environments in which we live and our ethical duties to ensure our professional culture is sustainable. Can architecture really live up to all it claims to achieve or do we all just need to lighten up a little?

Is architecture serious business?

speakers for the affirmative:
Tom Morgan, Michael Roper, Louise Wright
speakers for the negative:
Justine Clark, Emilio Fuscaldo, Simon Thornton




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