Thursday, July 5, 2012



 Architecture is said to relate to its' time; that it is specific to its' era.

After reading the advertorial in The Weekend Australian Magazine,  the thought arises: is this advertorial hype the same fake exaggerated enthusiasm that we see in the new architecture that is morphed and distorted just because it can be done - as if to declare its own cleverness?

Brisbane is a pleasant place, but this text exaggerates just too much. The 'thrilling weekend; Australia's most vibrant; elegant boutiques and simmering nightlife; laneway markets and trendy eateries; survived the pace of progress; will nourish the body and the soul.' The image is of fireworks on the river - one flash in the pan for a short time each year. It is not 'everyday' Brisbane. Things are much grimmer here, as a report in another section of the same paper records. One might see the text as an attempt to attract tourists - see WHO OR WHAT IS A TOURIST? Tourists need places that can offer opportunities for a different, extreme pleasure.

Cripes! Has the author of The Good Life, (no one has owned up), forgotten that the premier has cancelled the State's literary award; that thousands of public servants have just lost their jobs; that gay relationships can now only be registered like a dog or a cat and cannot be celebrated with anything that looks like a traditional marriage ceremony; that changes in surrogacy laws now make it difficult for those in relationships outside of marraige to have children; that funding for environmental groups is being cancelled; that funding for community support groups that help the disadvantaged is being cancelled; and more, and more . . .? This is Brisbane, capital of Queensland - the state that is 'different.' This is the premier who is happy to spend $45,000 on a video to tell Queenslanders that savings have to be made.

This does not sound like 'The Good Life' being promoted in the advertorial text. It does appear to equate to the extremities of exaggerated hype that we are seeing more and more of in our architecture where whiz-bang forming overrides all, decalring 'how great I art!'  -  MY ART: clever and smart.

 A sign of our times? At least one could argue that there is a consistency here where qualities of each aspect might help us undertsand what we are and what we are doing. I say 'might' because the mind that generates these outcomes appears blind to any self-assessment / criticism. As one 'Gen X' teacher wrote in a recent article, 'This is generation I' - me and my are all that matters. Has social media changed us?

Life, and architecture, is more than this hype - more complex and rigourous - even though this selective exaggeration might appear brilliantly picturesque and desirable for a just few seconds. Once the fireworks have fizzed, only waste and smoke remain. These, metaphorically, are an important part of life, and architecture too, that we neglect at our peril.

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