Huge thanks to the City of Port Phillip for a very happy night on Tuesday for ACUTE HOUSE. We're very excited to have taken home the 2018 Residential Award for Excellence AND a commendation in the Heritage Conservation category. Thanks also to the esteemed jury panel of Prof Don Bates (Chair), Shelley Penn, Cr David Brand*, Cr Katherine Copsey & Deputy Mayor Cr Dick Gross.
Other architects may not be so chuffed to receive a pat on the back from the local council but we LOVE IT. Local council attitudes to and influence on good contemporary architecture is often underestimated and mercilessly belittled. This is commonly because inner city planning schemes are now so byzantine and mysterious few planning officers have the sophistication - or confidence - to implement them properly. I won't bore you with my rant on this but I will tell you it is the number one, all time, favourite architect's whinge. If you're looking to kill some time - and your will to live - ask ANY architect about council planning permits and that'll be 16 hours of your life you won't get back.
Unfortunately, this whinge only tells half the story. Many architects prefer not to acknowledge - and most clients absolutely refuse to acknowledge - that there are other "clients" for their architecture apart from the ones footing the bill.
The face of your house on the street is also your face in the street. And like your actual face, everyone else sees it more often than you do. Most decent buildings also outlive their creators by a wide margin. Even a modest house can live on for generations, maybe a hundred years, maybe more. Who's the "client" then?
While council's tools can be blunt and their processes clunky, I like to think they're trying to represent the clients that won’t live in your house but with your house. If your house can be seen in the street, it has a public role and civic responsibilities. Even the smallest house lives with neighbours, in a street and in a wider community. Just like a person. Of course I’m indulging the architect's conceit of considering a building to be a sort of person but it is an analogy I return to consistently.
Pareidolia is a natural human talent and we tend to see faces in everything from clouds and rocks to power points and toast. While some people may be more literate than others, there’s no doubt we all look for faces on buildings too and read their personalities accordingly. What's your house telling everyone right now?
Thanks again to our super clients Mick Briese + Jess Payne - we're so grateful to be able to work with you. We know there is no good architecture without good clients. WE LOVE YOU
* Disclosure: Cr David Brand was not a jury member for any award category in which OOF was participating. Just in case you were wondering