AR138 – Margins
The latest issue of AR, 'Margins', is on newsstands now. Editor Michael Holt gives a summary of the latest architectural insight, interviews and projects behind the cover.
Settle back and enjoy this special bumper issue of (inside). As you turn each page you will be proud, just as we are, of the talent, diversity and expertise that is Australian design.
The transferability of the term ‘margin’ is under investigation. It is assumed the profession is experiencing a false consciousness that disables any possibility of a disciplinary position being formed. In Preview (published in Residential) I queried in ‘a profession with no margin for error, where is the room for manoeuvre?’ As architects we are hemmed in, claustrophobically unaware of our own inevitability.
We are no longer aware of the external, exploitative assertions impacting on daily practice or pedagogy; indeed, the very notion of formulating an argument or ideological stance leaves many architects or academics marginalised – architecture is on society’s margins. However it is evident that a manifesto will not suff ice alone, but the engagement of the discipline to seek to ask questions rather than to repeat answers is paramount; and yet questions can only come when the disciplinary parameters are determined.
‘Margins’ can be edge conditions, boundaries, exile, pedagogy, profit, positions, constraints, risk, or the overbearing spectre of Modernism lurking as a marginal note on contemporary practice. The profession needs to better self-critique, to engage in a discussion between practitioners, academics and students. It is an obligation. Criticism should not be viewed as a pariah, it should be cultivated. In AR138, four reviewers – Anthony Burke (AB), Marcos García Rojo (MGR), Marissa Looby (ML) and Eva Franch I Gilabert (EFG)– have each added their commentary to the content, offering multiple opinions as critique in marginalia.
Architects must take ownership of the economic and political forces impacting on practice, we should be more in tune and establish new ways of procuring and producing architecture. In one of the feature articles, ‘The machine that makes land pay’ (p030), Clare Sowden discusses the transactional values of the business of architecture and the business of speculative development, outlining the relationship of housing, debt and the economy as a matter of ‘life and debt’ – enforcing the link to the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 in regard to real estate speculation. While in On Trial (p024) Juenan Wu observes the work of little-known Cambodian architect, Vann Molyvann, whose work holds a distinctly Corbusian sensibility. An architect once lauded then later exiled during the Khmer Rouge regime, he has since faded from collective consciousness.
Stephen Loo in the In Conversation article (p094) addresses the need for greater intuition in academia, noting that ‘universities need to develop an understanding of where architecture sits within an economic paradigm and the differences between the profession and academia within the knowledge economy’. And, in one of three interviews, Barry Bergdoll (p022) suggests we need to step beyond conventional barriers and attempt new types of interdisciplinary collaboration, allowing architecture to be seen as signifi cant in the design process. While, secondly, Ben Hewett (p028) demands practitioners show vision in both pragmatics and practice, engaging in strategic positioning to infl uence policy decisions. Finally, and intriguingly, Camilla Block (p034) believes that Modernism still holds significance, even though it may purely be aesthetic and not ideologically driven – Modernism, it seems, is very much in marginalia.
And playing on the Modernist mantra, ‘less is more’, Austin Williams outlines that the contemporary discipline lacks the Modern Movement’s clarity of purpose in the feature article, ‘Less is less’ (p036). Examining Modernism as a standpoint, Williams attests that ‘back then a vision was positive. The future was viewed with anticipation, unlike today when it is more likely to be viewed with trepidation.’
Notable project reviews include Scenic Architecture Off ice’s Huaxin Business Centre (p052), Zaha Hadid Architects’ Wangjing SOHO (p068) and Woods Bagot’s Deakin University Burwood Highway Frontage Building (p076). Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, UTS by Denton Corker Marshall, a project fi rst published in AR133–Contrasts as Under Construction, returns here as a full project review (p044); while our Under Construction feature in AR138–Margins is the Kaohsiung Port and Cruise Service Centre by RUR Architecture (Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto, p018); and, the issue is fl anked by a revisit to the annual Residential edition in POSTVIEW (p006) and a look forward in PREVIEW AR139 (p098). And, to celebrate Architectural Review Asia Pacific’s launch in China, Austin Williams’ ‘Less is less’ has been translated into Mandarin (p040) for this issue.
Editor, Architectural Review Asia Pacific
The end of the year has come by so quickly and summer is almost here, but more importantly the IDEA 2014 winners are presented in this issue of (inside). With 194 shortlisted projects and 11 categories, determining those who have received the top accolade was a daunting and diffi cult task. Our wonderful jury worked tirelessly over two days to review each and every project and then choose the ultimate winners. We would like to thank Mim, Mark, Fiona, Trent, Jon and Grant for their professionalism, consideration and resolve throughout the process.
As you will see, the winning projects speak volumes about the calibre of Australian designers, architects and object makers. Our winners and those projects that were awarded a commendation are exemplars and we are proud that they have been recognised in IDEA 2014. In fact all entries this year were of such a high stature that we think the bar has been lifted for design resolution, innovation and sheer talent.
Although half the magazine is devoted to IDEA 2014, we also have great pleasure in presenting some wonderful projects and outstanding profiles and reviews in this issue. These days art is an integral part of the design process and Jane O’Sullivan chooses the best from the Melbourne Art Fair (p32), while Mira Calix’s forthcoming installation is reviewed (p36). We talk design and violence with MoMA’s Paola Antonelli (p48). Trends are integral to the business of design and in this issue Annie Reid talks to Kim Chadwick from Colourways about this year’s Trend Forecasting Workshop (p54).
In Profile is Travis Walton (p40) one of the busiest, up and coming designers in Australia and in Practice we discover how Geyer (p44) has helped shape a slice of Australian design over the decades.
Our projects are varied but in essence they all have a particular beauty and style. There are two refurbishments of architectural gems: fmd architects’ Deco Residence (p80) and Greg Natale’s Rosemont Stud (p64). The interiors of both are outstanding for their sympathetic and exciting design, and for the ability of the respective designer to interpret the desires and requirements of their clients. From one end of the spectrum to another, Cancer Council Victoria (p88) has moved into new premises and a recently established design company, Hot Black, completed the project with great flair and in record time. Hare + Klein’s Mosman House (p58) is typically divine, while Durbach Block Jaggers’ Balmain Apartment (p72) is robust, elegant and a fine example of this firm’s stylistic intelligence.
So settle back and enjoy this special bumper issue of (inside). As you turn each page you will be proud, just as we are, of the talent, diversity and expertise that is Australian design. Congratulations to the IDEA 2014 winners and those who received commendations, but most of all to everyone who entered. We look forward to talking with you in 2015 and seeing your projects for the next Interior Design Excellence Awards.
Jan and Gillian
Co-editors of (inside) Interior Design Review