Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NSW Awards Return to Real & Beautiful

Permanent Camping, Casey Brown Architecture, Small Projects Commendation

By Elizabeth Farrelly
July 21, 2008

You will have noticed how unmistakably a gathering of architects resembles a priestly congregation: fervent, black-clad and concreted into communal faith. It doesn't stop there. Architectural ideas, too, are like religious visions. The having is easy, the words, the drawings, the promises; it's the doing that tests, both the dream and the dreamer.

This is why architectural drawings so often make you feel you're being lied to. Known as pretties, they show a world where plants never need water and humans never need comforting. It's also why awards for real, on-the-ground buildings are the only ones worth feeding, and why the 25-year award can be the most telling of the lot.

In recent years the Australian Institute of Architects' NSW Awards (it dropped the embarrassing Royal earlier in the year) have been patchy at best. This year, though, yielded a bountiful crop and a smart, winnowing jury, chaired by Government Architect Peter Mould and including Sydney councillor John McInerney and architects Peter John Cantrill, Stephen Davies and Tony Chenchow. Their pickings show a strong strain of virtue-rewarded. Not in any prissy, holier-than-thou way, but in a way that tries to reward a genuine syncretism of goodness and beauty.

Reg Lark's Balgowlah House

Full story from The Sydney Morning Herald

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