I really do love 3 Over 4 Under. And not just cos they provide too much booze. It’s always just so interesting and I always leave feeling inspired. I really enjoy seeing how different architects approach their work and where they get their inspiration from.
So … Susie over at What Would Frankie Do will undoubtably provide a very thorough and well thought out review so I’ll just do a quickie with my thoughts…
First up tonight we had Patrick and Sid from architecture.collective. These guys were really good, had a great rapport and presented some interesting ideas on technology. I liked their concept on modular design and utilizing our innate problem solving skills as architects. And just have to mention the expletive-ridden answering machine message they had recorded from one of their builders which was hilarious, the usual things that I think builders often think about (this f***ing detail doesn’t work, bloody architects with no idea if the practicalities of building etc) but rarely does it get captured for posterity. Pure gold.
Next up was Fiona Hogg of Paradigm, presenting some of their beautiful work from the Cocos Islands and northern WA. The idea of environmental functionality ran through each of their designs while also focussing on the ideas of modularity and prefabrication to provide accommodation options in remote areas.
Next up we had David from GHD presenting a slightly dry take on BIM. But although is was a little flat I actually found this really interesting. I am actually really excited about the possibilities of knowing the intricacies of the built form in a prototype form, becoming a Master Consultant in a way, and understanding the integration of building systems. I think this is an exciting step forward and it was great to see the way GHD have used this on projects like the Perth City Link.
And finally before the break we had Ahmad Abas from Gresley Abas presenting the concepts of technology in their making of form. Their use of technology seemed to me to be more about the integration of art within the building, rather than as an add-on, which gives their projects a beautiful sense of textural form. They also presented a quite beautiful DNA-inspired footbridge to Heirisson Island which they developed in consultation with a French bridge engineer, I hope this goes ahead, it’s a really elegant little structure.
And then unfortunately someone was giving out extra drink tokens during the break so my next recollections are a little more hazy.
So we had Simon Anderson presenting some of his work, including his public housing work, which ‘should’ look blank and efficient? Also his thoughts on how technology has changed society and where it might be heading in the future. Found this one a little hard to hear so hopefully someone else can fill us in on some info.
Benji from Taylor Robinson hijacked the theme and instead spoke on ‘making’. This was quite a neat little presentation showing how architects problem-solve on site (eg the blockwork screen wall at the Boulevard) and the great results that can appear on site that are out of our making. He also presented the CUT Engineering Pavilion which has quite a beautiful engineered shape and allows the conservation of an existing concrete walkway within a new grand box.
And finally Andrea from Morq presented their house down in Margaret River which was built around two existing majestic trees, which they had to convince the clients for months to retain. This has a really nice materiality about it, with the dark coloured timber external cladding amongst the trees. He then played a five minute video of some of their WA work, which was an interesting way to finish. They was an interesting looking Fremantle house at the end but because of the artistic nature of the film it was a little hard to see. Looked like it had an intriguing use of light wells or skylights to create some depth of shadow – looked interesting so will try and find out more. I liked the way of working with a split firm of Perth and Rome-based offices too, especially in a small firm, must be an interesting way to work.
So all up I think there were a really good mix of speakers and I really enjoyed them all. The speakers were all good, with humour and humility, which I always find extraordinary. Its always great to see some of these architects who you think of as amazing, are really just ordinary people (well architects, so not that ordinary!) Gives one hope. And thanks to Merge for their great organization yet again!