Re: Re: AAI Awards 2008
(From AAI website)
Aims of the AAI from 1896
â€œTo promote and afford facilities for the study of architecture and the allied sciences and arts, and to provide a medium of friendly communication between members and others interested in the progress of architecture.â€
From reading the above I would understand that the AAI’s aims are purely academic and whilst the RIAI awards are about the assesment and comparison of built works (ie the here and now) the AAI awards are an assesment and comparison of architectural ideas/theories primarily (ie the infinite) illustrated through the medium of buildings built during that calender year. Apologies for the philisophical jargon but I’m trying to draw a clear line between the two awards.
I personally feel that the AAI awards were hugely relevant during the “quiter” years up to the 80s and early 90s but seemed to then loose their way once the building boom of the late 90s kicked in. The AAI awards were a fantastic platform for projects, during that time, that due to economic shortcomings would have remained in the lower drawer of various architectural offices around the country. With the onset of the building boom in the mid 90s the challenge of “building” took its natural place to the fore amongst Irish architects and by its nature the AAI awards were not equipped for this with its policy of no site visits (just photos etc.) For this reason the RIAI awards became the true judge of architectural “built work” and remain so.
I think there is an important place for the AAI awards as they are based on a very strong academic premise that allows for a huge variety of entrants. They should just realise that their strengths are the RIAI Awards weaknesses as I would welcome a return to ideas like “Making a Modern Street” or Tom de Paors “Garden in Cork”. It will take alot of bravery on the part of the AAI comittee to go back to the original spirit of the AAI awards but it would be very refreshing.