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Letting go the Royal

edited July 2008 in architecture
At the Victorian Architecture Awards on Friday night, new chapter president Karl Fender announced that the Royal Australian Institute of Architects was to change its name. After 3 years of research into what people thought of them (which included some concerns at the views expressed on this forum), they will stop using the word  'Royal' in public, and have restyled their website. They say the word 'royal' is out of touch, and I guess they realise it sounds a bit poncy.
So at least that means we no longer have to tongue-trip over that awkward acronym RAIA. There is no clue as to what they propose their new acronym to be - it had better not be AIA as that will confuse it forever with the American Institute of Architects.
I await with interest the other moves they make as part of their new 'awareness campaign'. After Karl's announcement a slideshow showing some large ads was shown, with spine-tingly Coldplay playing loudly over the top. The ads are to appear in weekend supplements and come complete with slogans along the lines of 'live, and let the light in".
Thoughts anyone?
architecture.com.au/i-cms

Comments

  • edited 2:47AM
    they showed the same thing at the WA awards the week before. i thought the name was a good move and the ads were fantastic. finally the institute gets some balls and some character. look forward to seeing the ads in the mags.
  • edited 2:47AM
    I particularly like this aspect that I have quoted from the link you gave above Peter.
    "The campaign will centre on delivering educative messages about the architectural profession as well as communicating a better understanding of the true role and value of using an architect."


    For a very long time advertising of the profession of architecture, as in ones own availability to provide the service, was frowned upon (and prohibited if a member of the institute) and the disdain of such a thing as spruiking survived long past the capitulation to market forces of the similar and contemporary disdain towards sports 'professionalism' which was enacted in the cult of the noble amatuer. This reluctance to trumpet the cause of architecture has, I believe, greatly contributed to the 'cult of mediocrity', to quote Robin Boyd, in Australia's built enviroment.
    Though usually satified with thier efforts at design and very occaisionaly rightly so, the general public in general, concerns itself only with external appearance. If the Institute has a huge job ahead of them convincing the general public that an architects services are worth considering then that is a fantastic and timely effort, if only for the benefit towards alleviating climate change with good design, let alone the elevation of the Art that would benefit society in many other ways. Very good luck to them and at least they have to look forward to the fact that this time it will be pushing shit downhill.
     
     
  • edited 2:47AM
    we could have left the R for when the republic happens. Republic of Australia Institute of Architects.
    while i think the best place for kings is in the northern hemisphere.... AIA is soooo USA lapdog its not funny, Tzannes and his sydney mates have buggered it. more usefully i heard the suggestion that we could use the old AU 'subfix' as a prefix so you get AUIA or "OWWWEEEA".....the potential is as ususal there but ill considered. would love to see some of the 'market research' conducted by Parken and Co.
    Sam Newman style...(man on the street in footscray) ' do you know what an architect is?' 'no piss off. carn the doggies!'
  • edited 2:47AM
    This is a quote from Robin Boyd's 1960 book The Australian Ugliness (1971 ed p 129)
    Its an accurate rant against the habit of Featurism, of which it is well argued that Australian taste determiners and consumers and ultimately a lot of architects are prominent habituee's. Fifty years later it is still if not more relevant. Read the book and then look at DCM's brightly coloured RHS phaluses and one will see that the same issue is at stake today as it ever was, except that good design now carries the extra impetus, and I would argue more important impetus, of the life and death issue of climate change.
    Quote "The only ultimate cure for visual squalor is the redirection of public interest and responsibility to the entire feild of the artificial background of life, and a first step to this end is a better understanding of architecture's aims and means. However, most attempts to promote this step which have been taken in books and articles of architectural propoganda, take the form of a short course in the history and compositional devices of building: and so much of this is confusing and irrelevant. The aim cannot be to make a world of amatuer architects." End quote
    Is it within the new AusIA mission statements, that the sentiment "delivering educative messages" is besmirched by the dickiness that Robin Boyd entreated against fifty years ago?
    Will there be an attempt to create understanding of what an ultimately futile and egotistical pursuit architectural 'Featurism' is to the commonwealth?
    Where from good design can be achieved is not clearly spelt out in Robin Boyd's book, but it is clearly spelt out where you will not find it and that is in what he succinctly calls Featurism. I would argue that his message has been largely ignored by mainstream architecture and that high end architecture struggles for recognition amongst the public precisely because so many architects have taken to heart the expression of featurism, probably as an unconscious, or conscious as the case may be, act of prostitution demanded of them by the clientel of this geat nation of Featurist barbarians. In other word the determination og taste in this country is still driven by the lowest common denominator
    I would now argue that good design from architects, as promoted by the AusIA, should include first and foremost that employing an expert knowlege of how and why to do ESDesign is far more important to the public, even if the public  doesn't know it (and increasingly they do know it is important); it is far more important than whether or not an architect will give you a fashionable building. Good design then might stand a chance when it is thence understood that the term doesn't actually apply to fashionability as represented by what could still justifiably be termed Featurism.
    Architecture could be widely seen as a high art only when it dispenses with the tardry attempt to follow fashion and that leads back to my previous rants against using ones own ego ar a referance point for design. Since ego relies on seeing oneself as important, it paradoxicaly can't resist the attempt to be what it regards as fashionable or ahead of the fashion, and this paradox is the fundamental mistake that leads one into Featurism.
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