AR131: Present

Jul 31, 2013
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Designer

AR131 is focused on exploring two opposed terms: preservation, in architectural terms, locates itself as historical salvation and maintenance – it positions itself in the past; the antithesis to preservation is the phrase that points in the opposite direction, sustainability – a moniker liberally applied to regulations, design strategies, energy efficiency etc., traversing scale as designers and planners alternate the term across everything from the individual buildings up to and including the urban, situating itself in the future.

In basic terms, to preserve is to protect, whereas sustainability is a question of endurance; yet both have the same sense of imbued morality. In contemporary practice, however, such morality is stripped away in favour of implementing each as buzzwords, whether it is a well-tempered environment or the restoration of projects due to their identification of decay. But, then, if one element is linguistically tied to the past and one with the future, where is the present? Is the present in a state of inertia, constantly looking at a ‘before and after’ condition?

• On the cover: Cooled Conservatories, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore by Wilkinson Eyre Architects with Grant Associates and Atelier One

Project reviews
• National Arboretum Canberra, by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects (review: Christopher Vernon)
• Ta Ta Apartments, Jiaxing, by Logon Architecture (review: Clare Jacobson)
• Adelaide Studios, Adelaide, by Grieve Gillett / Cox Richardson Architects (review: Marissa Looby)
• Cooled Conservatories, Singapore, by Wilkinson Eyre Architects (review: Fiona Nixon)
• Kukje Gallery K3, Seoul, by SO-IL (review:Jinyoung Lim)
• Precinct Energy Project, Melbourne, by PHTR Architects (review: Leon van Schaik)

Under Construction
• ‘CRAB’s new faculty of architecture at Bond University’, a report by Chris Knapp

• ‘The Working Village’, by Darryl Chen
• ‘The Hitherto Present’, by Naomi Stead
• ‘Retroactive Review on Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies’, by Richard Weller

On Trial
• ‘Longing For a Greener Present’, by Ross Exo Adams

In Conversation
• ‘More Than…’, by Kerstin Thompson

Plus: One to watch – Stewart Hollenstein; Craig Allchin on Made in Australia, and Anthony Burke on Dark Horses and Trojan Matter

Conversation • 2 comments

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31 Jul 13 at 2:51 PM • Patrick BH

Gardens by the Bay is about as sustainable and as necessary as liposuction and Justin Bieber. But… yes, like liposuction and the Biebster, it may be ‘linguistically tied to the future’, when cited as an example of early 21st century self-indulgence.

28 Nov 13 at 3:35 PM • Joseph Neveaux

Patrick – you’ve missed the point entirely. Sustainability, in this instance, is posited as a moniker applied. When reading the magazine you’ll probably be more well informed.


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