We first drafted this ‘rather portentous call for contributions’ in July 2020, when the world was beset with pessimism. Our call was not an invitation to even bleaker pessimism, but rather for positive assertions of where and how architects can break out of this habit of building the wrong thing in the wrong place out of the wrong materials.
I could quote the statistics – 18,600,000 hectares burned, 5,900 buildings destroyed, 34 lives lost, 1,000,000,000 animals killed. I could tell you about better building practices – strengthened BAL40 guidelines, a revised National Construction Code, new and improved fire attenuation materials.
Let’s consider that precursory to the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct, an architect could carry a duty of care to place; an obligation to be in tune with the long-term impacts of our profession, practice and production.
Australia has long prioritised the movement and shelter of cars over the movement and shelter of people – and this has impacted on the liveability of our cities and the health and wellbeing of residents.
At Sydney-Open, a livestream panel discussion chaired by Adam Haddow on new heritage asked what buildings saved from demolition have changed the city for the better. Panelist Richard Francis-Jones put forward the Sirius building but also suggested that while the building was saved something more important has been lost.
Sahibajot Kaur chats with Justine Clark, researcher, writer, co-founder and director of Parlour, to discuss the impacts of the pandemic on the way we are working.
Our concept of living has dramatically shifted in the last six months. With the need to stay put, the pandemic has forced everyone to consider how and where they live.
Architectural practice, for better or worse, is at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of larger societal forces, whether that be the political, economic, or, as we find ourselves in now, a global health crisis.
The pandemic, recent bushfires, drought and flooding which caused massive destruction of human and natural habitat make us dramatically aware that our lives and wellbeing are not separate from the environment we live in. Hippocrates warned us 2000 years ago that we cannot ignore nature, dominate it or control it. He told us to listen to changing patterns in nature, respect them and work with them.
When considering what are we doing in the architectural and built environment space to address our post-pandemic and climate-impacted world, I reflected on my architectural education and recalled the work of Christopher Alexander.