greaseproof architecture since 2000

Debating architecture

Melbourne has a series of architectural debates running at the moment. I’m aware of this because I was in one. That is part of the reason it’s been a little quiet here – lots of things waiting to be written, but all for others. That’s what happens in careers sometimes – the hobbies start to take more of a centre stage. I write about architecture a lot and produce it a little.

The others on the panel have had similarly swaying careers, incorporating a bit of this, that and the other. And it’s a truth for many small practitioners, that they’ve diversified in order to stay independent, and to stay known and informed. They’ll find themselves writing, teaching, hosting radio shows, and even hard-coding websites… So in order to keep making their own architecture, they make fewer buildings.

Architectural debate
Suzannah Waldren questioning the merits of hairitecture. Instagram by T_Davidge

So it was quite fitting that the moot for the first debate was, “architecture is ALL about buildings”. This and some of the other moots have a slightly chestnutty flavour about them, I think this weekend’s moot is, “Is less more, or a bore”. Perhaps we’d heard these chestnuts to the point that we’ve stopped thinking about them, and they do bear reexamination.

That’s how it felt on Sunday – all six of us had miraculously come up with quite different slants on our respective arguments. Having to knuckle down and come up with seven minute of riveting monologue that pushes an enforced opinion can make one feel a little mercenary. Such is the nature of debates – they present two sides of an argument to the audience jury, with no grey area to take shelter in. It’s a refreshing change in format at a time when most architectural talks allow the architect to take a slideshow down memory lane while regurgitating their own well-polished chestnuts.

What Is... Architecture?

What is… debates. Generously organised by Openhaus. Audio recordings may be added to the website after the series has completed.

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Posted by Peter on 12.10.12 in 



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