Celebrating Architecture Coast to Coast

The morning after attending the Opening of Architecture Week, where I enjoyed one piece of sushi and one glass of wine before the catering ‘ran out’, (despite friends paying $40 for their tickets) I find an email from the AAA in my inbox promoting Sydney’s Architecture Festival. Seriously. How is it possible that one state gets an event which is five small sessions over four days and not even enough funding to provide food and drink for fifty people at its opening, and another state has enough funding for a ten day extravaganza with walking tours, guest speakers, community workshops, ITS OWN WEBSITE. As an Institute member I think I deserve the same proportion of funding spent on the celebration of architecture in my city as those in the Eastern States.

I do not mean this as a criticism of our local chapter, which I’m sure is made up of members working tirelessy on a voluntary basis in their spare time to try and improve our architectural community. I simply cannot understand why we can not enjoy the same facilities that other states have. Sure Sydney might have more people and probably more members but I think this still does not explain the huge gap in what we receive. The fact that we can’t attend the opening of our own Architecture Week unless we pay is dissappointing as a member – more free events for members would show there was actually a benefit to membership, encouraging more people to attend events and become members, and continue the cycle. I have met some great people thru networking at Institute events, and believe this benefit is immeasurable and so very important.

Since I pay membership fees to the Institute (well, ok, my work does!), I’d like a say in how they’re spent. I would like to see more Institute-funded events, more advertising to non-members (why can’t the WA Chapter have a email mail-out list for anyone interested in events, not just members?) to try and encourage them to join and participate, free tickets to major events like the Architecture Week opening night, and greater parity of funding with other states. (Not much to ask is it?!)

Quite simply the turn-out for the opening was apallingly small and actually a bit embarassing, though I know some people didn’t come as they had to pay this year (understandable in the end – perhaps they knew the bad value for money beforehand!). But this kind of perpetuates the problem, we need more people (members, non-members, artists, community, interested bystanders!) to WANT to attend more Architecture Week events, and make it a celebration of our wonderful industry. So please people, try and go along to something,  and support this week so it doesn’t disappear. Lets try and make it bigger and better! Check out the events pages for this week for more info on the talks.

OK, getting off my soapbox now!


15 thoughts on “Celebrating Architecture Coast to Coast

  1. The same thing happened at the ibuild exhibition thing, I sent an email to rsvp and got a reply saying that due to the low number attending it was now just an “informal gathering to celebrate the efforts of those involved”. And there sure was a low number in attendance! I feel bad for the amount of effort that people put into curating the exhibition.

  2. Ummm…sorry didn’t even know it was architecture week…and you know I love architecture! Its so fundamental to our society, it speaks so much for our present and the past. You have every right to get on your soapbox – it means you care. Trouble is how does a non-architect get to participate/comment on the design of the built environment? More than just “Is it aesthetic?”, but how will it relate to the people using it every day? I’d love to be able to be a part of that!

  3. I think a major problem is the amount of advertising/promotion for these events.
    I am interested in these events, but have to actively find out about these things, which is a problem. I dont even know what iBuild is, but it sounds interesting.

  4. I agree, I think advertising is a big part of the problem. We need to find some way to advise more people that we even have an architecture week. Interesting a few weeks ago was Fashion Week and both weekend papers covered it, for one week either side. Where’s our press? This would then help encourage public interest in (and hopefully comment on) our built environment.

  5. The AAA which organises the tours is a different, member based organisation made up of people who are interested in architecture, not just architects. Representatvives from over east (including Ian Moore) came out and met with members in Perth a number of years ago to set up walking tours here. Nothing has happened, because no Perth architects have stepped up to make anything happen. Of course, that includes me. And you.

    On other matters:
    Architecture students don’t even know it’s architecture week.
    Non-member prices to institute events are exorbitant.
    Is fashion week so well promoted compared to architecture week because Perthites will pay stupid amounts of money for clothes, but won’t pay an extra cent for good design in buildings?

    • i would argue that member prices are also exorbitant.

      and that this years offerings were pretty slim pickings.

      i think that fashion week gets a lot of coverage because the promoters work with the press quite actively.

      i was a student member of the institute and i haven’t as yet rejoined as a graduate, and quite frankly, i haven’t noticed much difference at all.

    • Not entirely true on the AAA – I have been asking them for more info to bring it to WA for years (after they came over here) as I think their charter of bringing architecture into the community is so beneficial and would be so interesting for so many. As far as I can tell they came here and got everyone’s names etc, then never followed through. I think they are a great organisation though, which is why I subscribe to their newsletter. Unfortunately we don’t have any Harry Siedlers or Glenn Murcutts here willing to start it off.

      So it seems we agree a major problem with Architecture Week is that it is not advertised to anyone past Institute members. And this is very sad, because architecture should be about more than just one group of practitioners. So what do the full time staff of the Institute get up to, to promote the architectural world in Perth?

      • So, my position on this, for both the AAA and AIA, is that architects expect the paid staff to do, well, whatever architects want to see happen. Both are membership based organisations. If you’re a member and you want something to happen, do some work, approach them with a proposal and ask for their support. Don’t just tell them what you think they should be doing for you. I pity the poor folk who work at the Institute; organising architects must be like herding cats. Even I can’t stand working with architects most of the time.

        I love the AAA model of walking tours. If you have a good idea for a themed tour in Perth, let them know what it is, what is your publicity strategy, how are you going to make it work, all that stuff, and if you get no support, then, well, stuff ’em. When they were here they sounded like they were offering public speaking lessons to the volunteers who would be hosting the tours, but there must be some kind of person / organisation in Perth behind it.

        But if you’re just asking Sydneysiders “when are you going to come over to Perth and put on a tour” (OK – I’m sure you’re more sophisticated than that), why would they?

        The institute has plenty of committees. Get on one and, to mangle Gandhi, make the change you wish to see in Perth Architecture. (of course the blog is a good start)

        I agree on what we agree on.

      • Wow harsh…

        But maybe true…

        So I would like to set a challenge to all AIA members who read this blog (if there are any!) – write to the Institute telling them one thing you think they could improve on, and a way they could fix it.

        It’s a good point, we need to be the change we want to see in the world Institute.

      • I’ll reiterate my line “Don’t just tell them what you think they should be doing for you”, but also agree that Tasmania puts our architecture week to shame.

      • I agree we need to let them know what we want, but I also think here in WA we deserve to get as much ‘bang for our buck’ as the other states. We already miss out on the International Speaker Series, the Conference is always in either Sydney or Melbourne, the student conference hasn’t been here for years and the Awards night is generally always in the Eastern States. It would be nice if the Institute realised that this does place a financial burden on us WAussies trying to attend events, but also that we deserve to get some value in events throughout the rest of the year.

  6. I completely agree with your rant. The institute needs a shake up. and it does employ full time staff so who knows what they’re doing…

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