2018 NZIA Spring Series: Wrap Up

This year's theme for the 2018 NZIA Spring Series, 'What's precious?', prompted three evenings of provocative and engaging discussion. It's an interesting time to be in architecture. One of the 2018 NZIA Spring Series event organizers, Roberta Johnson, reflects on the series:

The lecture series concluded last Thursday with UK architect Hugh Broughton wowing the 250 or so attendees at Jasmax’s Auckland studio with incredible stories from projects as diverse as the restoration of a 12thC castle keep in York, through to the futuristic modular design and construction of the British Antarctic Research Station on the Ross Ice Shelf, Halley VI. Hugh’s talk equated the precious with environments of critical importance to history, culture and nature. As such, they require extremely well-researched consideration to preserve them for the future.

Two weeks previously, the question What’s Precious? was answered by ĀKAU’s Felicity Brenchley “He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata. It is the people, the people, the people.” As was the case for Tracey Ogden-Cork of Motu Design, underpinning ĀKAU’s practice is the idea that there is power to transform contained within not just the object of architecture, but the process of design and construction. I’m sure many in the room listening to Michael O’Sullivan describe the magnificent banquet rituals at the heart of the design brief for the Tongan community’s new Lesieli Tonga Auditorium left many wondering where the spaces for celebration have disappeared to in our vicariously experienced, and virtually online lives.

This is a sentiment that Jasmax’s Clem Devine may share, as he concluded social media is the opposite of precious in the series’ first event that delved into the prospect and perils of social media in our profession.

For PAC’s Sarosh Mulla and Liz Tjahjana, Instagram represents an opportunity to both share and applaud new ideas among a vibrant community of architectural and academic peers.

And Jeff Fearon of Fearon Hay Architects reflected on the patterns he has seen emerging between image types and likes: a gable end; unpainted timber cladding; and a fire-pit all seem and a fire-pit seem to repeatedly hit four figures.

One thing we all have some power to influence is how we use our time. Whether it’s for increasing brand awareness or contributing to more noble purposes, how we value and spend our time will affect the places we live in and shape the stories we tell about ourselves. It certainly takes time to build trust in community engagement processes, it takes time to plan the logistics of a relocatable building in Antarctica, and it certainly takes time for a church to build their own feasting hall because they couldn’t afford the cost of a traditional contracting firm. Lessons all hard won by our speakers.

We would like to extend a huge thanks to the event sponsors Steel & Tube, New Zealand Steel, the New Zealand Institute of Architects Auckland Branch, all our speakers, and the delightful Jeremy Hansen from Britomart Group and Kathy Waghorn from University of Auckland for steering the panel discussions Feeding Your Feed and Faith in the Collective.

Roll on 2019!