Being so fresh to the industry and wanting to immerse myself within the profession I made the (very easy) decision to attend the 2016 National Architecture Conference held in Adelaide and titled “How Soon Is Now?” With no real expectations and traveling solo the whole experience has been an incredible opportunity to meet passionate, friendly, like-minded people exchanging ideas and brainstorming new ones. It’s safe to say this conference will be the first of many for this aspiring architect.
Looking back through my notes (and the endless illegible scribbles), it’s difficult to find the words to accurately recap on such an extraordinary event. Every speaker provided such a unique insight into what architecture of the ‘Now’ is, what itshould be and what it means at a local and global scale. With presenters from Japan, New York, London, Spain and Australia the information was diverse yet cleverly cohesive, investigating ideas of resilience, society, equity and architectural agency within our cities.
To better summarize, Ben Hewett, Sam Spurr and Cameron Bruhn (creative directors of this year’s conference) spoke of the need to “explore everything between the very quick and the very slow in order to develop a discourse around how architecture [is] dealing with tomorrows problems today” where time is approached as “a register of cultural progress“. Sam Spurr closed with saying the conference was “less about the presentations of sequences moving through buildings” and more about how we can “explore architecture’s agency, openly and collaboratively, [whilst] seeking a way to acknowledge … how we are responding to diverse ways of working … to develop this agency of architecture.” While discussions were at times elusive providing no hard solution, the conference really succeeded in provoking real conversations, conversations about how to deal with our current problems judiciously and to improve the quality of life for the future.
With the population growth expected to sky rocket in the not too distant future along with the rapid depletion of our environment, it’s not hard to see why it’s important to be having these conversations. The “How” while still ambiguous needs the lime light in order for creative minds to collectively work together to find a solution. We need change to be happening at all levels, not just through governmental reform in process and policy, but also through implementing versatile urban design. It’s up to us in the now to care and take action, to provide genuine leadership for the generations to come.
If you do get the chance I highly recommend chasing down the information that was discussed over the two days. hownowissoon.com is a great place to start or alternatively I recommend looking up the following presenters:
Kevin Low (smallprojects)
Sadie Morgan (dRMM Architects)
Vicente Guallart (Guallart Architects)
David Sanderson (University of New South Wales)
Nasrine Seraji (Atelier Seraji Architects and Associates)
PS: Those looking for a neat little holiday, Adelaide has so much to offer. If not for its delicious food and wine, the city has so many beautiful church’s to visit, historic walks and scenic hikes up Mt Lofty. For the enthused, the Murray River is only a short drive away for perfect water-skiing spots.