Architecture’s Evolving Context

by Graham

I recently attended the annual Australian Institute of Architects NSW regional architecture conference held in the Hunter Valley. The conference title “Rethink, Recalibrate, Regenerate” set the tone for a wide-ranging exploration of the practice of architecture in a rapidly changing, technologically driven context. It posed questions about how architects adapt to the present context. What do we take with us from the past? And where might we be headed in the future?

While the conference themes to some extent have universal application, as architects there were some pertinent take-aways:

– The only constant is change.
Advances in technology and access to information generally are rapidly changing the world in which we live, where new construction techniques, social media, online resources, disruptive industries and the share economy are fuelling transformation at a rapid pace.
Rather than fear change, it should be viewed positively as a natural evolution and reworking of the boundaries in which we work.

– Everyone is an expert.
Social media and internet access have changed the way the world digests architecture. Projects are available for scrutiny; new products and technologies are promoted; and opinions easily and widely shared. Information once reserved for architectural publications are now splashed all over Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, even television.
In response, architects need to go beyond the superficial image and clearly communicate the underlying drivers of a design process.

– It takes a team.
The way we work has changed dramatically. Innovative technology in terms of systems, software, processes and construction has left us more connected at work and the wider world than ever before. This has led to evolving work environments, cultures and working relationships.
Architects need to collaborate with colleagues, consultants and Councils as well as our clients and contractors in bringing an architectural design to fruition.

A collaborative workshop at the Edmiston Jones annual retreat held in Tidbinbilla earlier this year.

While traditional tools and methods may be disrupted and change, the creative challenge to innovate and design with excellence in response to community needs remains. Edmiston Jones, with its entrenched culture of embracing innovation and collaboration, is well placed for this exciting future.

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