Re: Re: Small Monumental Buildings . . .

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I do know that I’ve always had as a pet hate the way most architectural photography disregards the human element of buildings, i.e .treats the buildings as abstract compositions while treating people as intrusions into the purity. Perhaps it’s the same mentality? (A similar point about photos was made in another thread, re deBleacam & Meagher- was it by you, garethace?

This was the De Blacam and Meagher comment here,…

My first AAI lecture experience, was in Autumn 1992 – back then it was just a room full of chairs, and an ordinary projection showing stuff on a wall. At that level, it was perhaps flawless in its execution – but it grew into something else from those humble beginnings, and I am really not sure into what – but I don’t like it all. Worst of all, it has absolutely no feed-back system, whereby views on how things are done, etc, etc,.. are publicised and openly debated. The AAI publications, seem to lack a format, an editor basically, and seem to just lump in everything and anything to make up a publication. The organisation around the Downes Bronze Medal is a really bad mistake in my view, cause most of the time, the exhibition from which they draw the medal winner is inaccessible to the public – last year I went to visit it on a Sunday at Guinness’s and it was locked shut. Indeed the whole AAI concept, seems to be locked shut into some tiny group structure, which is really straining these days to support itself.

The restriction of presentations to boards etc, is bad – cause the AAI Awards should be less about awards and more about the exhibition part, where you get to see over an extended period, a couple of months perhaps, a decent view of some major projects, with models and the works, in some building that the AAI could be guaranteed – the top floor of the National Gallery of Ireland springs to mind – yeah, something as large as that, that can handle the crowds and be accessible. The idea of people travelling to the exhibition then, rather than the exhibition travelling around the country in the booth of someones car, in the form of flattened A1 boards, for ease of portability etc, etc,… all this should seriously be debated,… if the exhibition was indeed good enough, it would be worth the train ticket to Dublin for a day to visit it in a decent exhibition space.

Architecture translates very, very poorly into photography – yet so much of the young architectural students experience and definition of Architecture is based on photography these days. Good Architectural photography can tell you a reasonable amount about 50% of what Architecture is, but like some lossly compression digital format, that discards information for smaller file size, so Architectural photography discards an entire dimension of time. You are also right, most good architectural photography discards the people too,… but I am now going to demonstrate an attempt of showing people in the photograph, with my attachments. The whole AAI thing, and the format in which good modern architecture is presented on these multiple flatten A1 boards, which are exhibited in locked spaces, for the mere sake of finding a Bronze medal Award winner each year, this whole format reeks of inefficiency and small-mindedness. And personally as a way of presenting Architecture to the citizens, I need the whole format, needs a good shove in a new direction.

Re. the pub crowds- are you familiar with the economic concept of ‘The tragedy of the commons’? It states that individuals will exploit a ‘common pool’ resource (in the example given, it’s the grazing of animals on common land) to maximise their own ‘profit’, resulting eventually in damage to the resource, the suffering of the collective and thus of each individual? Think of city traffic, Ireland’s fisheries policy… Has been used as a justification for planning (i.e. govt intervention in the ‘free’ market for the ‘common good’).

Yeah, I have come to many of those same conclusions, with the approach to traffic in Dublin’s city centre in particular,… where the pedestrian aught to be considered at least 50% of the equation, with cars,… as opposed to only about 5% important, as it was always perceived in the past. Here again, a lot of social programming went on,… and it is only now, we are all beginning to realise, how deeply engrained our views of cars and cities actually were.

Normally the Architect doesn’t get too bothered about solving a particular problem, or even contemplating a problem, unless they are given a site, a brief and a client. Then and only then, do things begin to start moving. It has occured to me, that lately, a little known part of the community – a pedestrian – has become a client, a site and a brief for Architects to work on – in other words pedestrians have for the first time ever, become a problem, to be solved. While it isn’t quite like a person who wants to build an extension and arrives in person to the Architect’s office, asking for the design service, the Architect is nonetheless finding a way to relate to the pedestrian more these days, and help them out.

The thing is, pedestrians don’t define conditions, the pedestrians themselves, their whole state is defined by the conditions. You will probably not come across too many ‘pedestrians’ out there to talk to, to interview, to discuss progress on the project with – like say a house extension/modification brief. Indeed the Architects have been finding out, that certain pedestrians have a tendency to sue more than the house building type. But one thing is clear, attitudes have changed, and it is no longer good enough to provide pedestrians with the conditions more or less outlined, in the JPEG image I have attached below.

Brian O’ Hanlon.

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