SYMPOSIUM


Expanded Architecture : Temporal Formal at Seidler City Symposium was on Saturday 8th November 2014 at The Museum of Sydney.

Papers presented at this symposium were selected from an Open Call.  All paper abstracts for the symposium were subjected to double-blind peer review. The selected abstracts listed below were presented at the symposium, accompanied by an artist talk by : Ainslie Murray, Eduardo Kairuz, Kate Sherman & Ryuichi Fujimura.

 

Documentation from the Symposium to be uploaded soon.

 

SCHEDULE

 

12.00-12.30 LUNCH

 

12.30 – 2.00pm - SESSION ONE

 

GEMMA SAVIO

Composing Shadows : The Transient Geometries of Light and Shade in the Photographic Compositions of Max Dupain and Harry Seidler.

Distilled into a palette of black, white and grey, much of the work of Max Dupain depicts the strongly geometric compositions of Seidler’s heroically executed modernisms. Engaged by Seidler throughout his career, the relationship between architect and photographer delivered a visual chronology of Seidler’s modernist tour de force as his work became easily recognisable against what was the “mediocrity” of early Australian architecture.

The photographs of Seidler’s buildings while captured by Dupain were ostensibly influenced by the meticulous direction of Seidler, who would orchestrate the details of the photography sessions. Details as seemingly minute as the time of day at which his buildings were memorialised in order to create the precise composition of light and shadow that his vision for each building required.

The proposed study will contribute a series of shadow diagrams that analyse the elements of light and shadow in Max Dupain’s “Seidler” series’ viewed in applied colour. The images will be used to support the theory that Seidler and Dupain’s photographic compositions are informed by the geometry of the Formalist artworks of the period. Thus offering an insight into the transient art/ architecture “moment” in which the compositions of both architecture and photograph are informed.

Gemma Savio graduated with a Masters of Architecture (Hons. 1) from the University of Newcastle in 2012. She is currently a PhD candidate with the University of Newcastle researching Marxist themes within the discourse of architectural history and theory. Gemma has held positions within the University as a tutor in both architectural design and architectural history. She is currently engaged in architectural research and small-scale architectural design.

 

 

GLENN HARPER

In paraphrasing Breuer as a Sydney translation: the Buhrich Reclining Chairs c.1941 –1972.

In the design and placement of two handcrafted laminated timber reclining chairs the émigré ar- chitects Eva Buhrich (1915-1976) and Hugh Buhrich (1911-2004) enriched the living rooms of their Castlecrag homes. While these houses are well documented, being built in 1952 and 1972, the importance and value of the cowhide-covered reclining chairs, constructed by Hugh in Sydney around 1941, have tended to be overlooked in any analysis.

The Buhrichs, as contemporaries of Harry Seidler (1923-2006), based the design of their reclin- ing chairs on the ‘Long Chair’ (c.1935) which Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) had designed for the London based company Isokon. It was through an image of this chair, as featured in Leslie Mar- tin’s (1908-2000) omnibus CIRCLE (1937) and acquired by Hugh while in London, which formed the basis of this investigation. The image of the ‘Long Chair’ resonated greatly with the Buhrichs and aligned with their modernist thinking which emphasised functional logic, structural clarity and the use of furniture and joinery in a ‘unified architecture’. The Buhrichs did not meet Breuer, yet they were indeed inspired by his projects; with Hugh being employed briefly in 1938 by Alfred Roth (1903-1998) within the recently completed Zurich Doldertal Apartments (1936).

Through paraphrasing the Breuer “Long Chair’, the Buhrichs as ‘artisan architects’, verified their modernist pursuits. In a dramatic photograph taken by Max Dupain (refer to Figure 1), we see how in the re-positioning of the Buhrich chair at the base of Hugh’s spiral laminated timber staircase designed ‘to hang’ in Buhrich House 1, this modern piece of furniture becomes an inex- tricable part of the architecture. This paper examines the importance of these reclining chairs and demonstrates how rich the overlay of the Modernist ideal (as inspired by the German Bauhaus tradition) were an integral part of a Sydney translation – the Buhrich homes.

As a Senior Associate at PTW Architects, Glenn is an architect with over 25 years practical experience. Recipient of a University Medal during his studies at the University of Sydney, he is registered as an Architect in both NSW and the UK, a long term member of the National Trust and Historic Houses Trust of NSW and is currently on the AIA (NSW Chapter) Heritage Committee. With a keen interest in architectural history, especially the Modern Movement within Sydney, Glenn recently presented a paper at the 2014 Utzon Symposium – What would Utzon do Now?

 

PAOLA FAVARO

Six Lectures: reconstructing and testing Harry Seidler’s 1980s architecture design studio.

Harry Seidler was appointed in 1980 Visiting Professor in Architecture at the University of New South Wales. In that role within March and June 1980, Seidler coordinated and taught in the graduation studio with a design project for a new School of Architecture at UNSW. As part of his commitment he delivered six lectures on the guiding and motivating forces of both aesthetics and science behind a successful architectural design process. The result of the studio is still available at the State Library of New South Wales with the title Seidler Studio: A record of student work under Harry Seidler.

This paper looks at reconstructing Seidler’s studio in 2014, testing the content of his 1980s lectures against current guiding and motivating forces and investigating the transformations in design process and theoretical thinking that have occurred. The proposal will run with the third year Architecture Urban Studio as the historical/theoretical trigger for the design of a new Graduate School of Architecture.

This new iteration of the studio raises the question of who and what would be the current protagonists and current theoretical design thinking? As this is intended to be a test, three of Seidler’s six lectures will be viewed in the lecture theatre and discussion will be initiated by the three invited guests both practitioners and academics who will give three new lectures, each responding to one of Seidler’s lecture topic. The students will be asked to re-view the original video-taped lectures and respond to a series of questions through graphic exercises related to the themes presented by Seidler and also the arguments raised by the invited guests.

Constructed in this way, the 2014 design studio is not only set up to explore design thinking but to explore the way in which design thinking is shaped by theory and by extension to explore the legacy of Seidler’s lectures on architectural thinking.

Dr Paola Favaro is a Senior Lecturer in the Australian School of Architecture + Design at the University of New South Wales. Paola is passionate about architecture and urban design informed by a rigorous research and its current role in solving design problems related to the contemporary 21”century city. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture, Universita’ IUAV di Venezia, Italy and she holds a PhD from the University of New South Wales. She has more than twenty-five years experience in architecture and urban design practice, teaching and research in Italy, Canada and from 1997 Australia.

 

 

2.00-2.20 AFTERNOON TEA

 

2.20 – 4.30 – SESSION TWO

 

THEA BREJZEK and LAWRENCE WALLEN

Unstable Architectures, or: on the Practice and the Art of Camping

Historically, temporary occupations have offered an alternate vision of inhabitation to the constraints of a society that typically defines itself through conventions of settledness, stability, and duration. The three main genres of what we call unstable architectures, namely the camp, the folly and the pavillon, provoke very different modes of social behaviour and they both unsettle and reaffirm existing social orders. This paper explores one such unstable architecture, the camp, and looks closely at the ways in which the transitory, as concept and design principle, opens up a new and unexpected discourse between individual and society, between impermanence and permanence.

In 1921, Austrian émigré architect Rudolph Schindler and his wife Pauline, went on a camping trip in the Yosemite National Park. For Schindler, the immersion into a previously unknown Californian wilderness, became social and architectural program. Within weeks following the Yosemite trip, Schindler found a site to build his private home and started construction on what he called, a ‘permanent camp’.

The Kingsroad House, as it is known today, in West Hollywood, is positioned at the intersection between a transient and a fixed architectural program. A clearly demarcated building structure with a tilt slab construction incorporates spaces of no definitive purpose. Built for two couples, there are no bedrooms, instead, ‘sleeping baskets’ are perched on top of the building. Open fireplaces both in the house and the outside areas inscribe the notion of the campfire into the modernist house, and a communal kitchen completes Schindler’s vision of a way of living where each space is open to definition by its inhabitants and where architecture lets go of the dominating force of material mass.

David Harvey, in The Conditions of Post-­‐Modernity refers to Baudelaire’s essay, The Painter of Modern Life, when he describes as the origin and driving force of modernity “the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is the one-­‐half of art, the other being the eternal and the immutable.” (Harvey 1989: 10)

In interdisciplinary architectural practices, such as Berlin’s Raumlabor, a collective of architects, artists and urban planners, the notion of impermanence clearly belongs to a post-­‐postmodernist critique of a society oblivious to the effects of evermore consumption of goods, of spaces, of the city itself. Raumlabor’s Theory Camp at the Steirischer Herbst Festival in Graz, Austria (2012) presents another version of the camp site. Fuelled by the recent proliferation of protest and activist camps internationally, the Theory Camp spatializes the thinking about contemporary urbanity into a temporary multi-­storey structure from recycled building elements that sits uncomfortably between the two main venues of the Festival and is meant both to connect and to productively interrupt ease of passage. Its continued spatial reorganization during the Festival is understood as a production of scars that testify to the visitor’s active participation.

A close reading of both Kingsroad House and Theory Camp show that Baudelaire’s notion of the ‘fleeting and transient’ practices of modernity continues to have social, cultural and political relevance, be it in the reinvention of domesticity toward communal living, or in the provocative anti-­‐aesthetics of the activist camp.

Thea Brejzek (PhD, Mphil, BSc) is Professor for Spatial Theory at the University of Technology Sydney and a PhD supervisor in the Theatre Studies Department at the University of Vienna. In 2013, Thea Brejzek was Visiting Professor at Bartlett School of Architecture. Her research focus is on transdisciplinary practices and the politics of space in performative environments.

Lawrence Wallen (PhD, MArch, BArch) is Professor and Head of School of Design at the University of Technology Sydney. A trained visual artist and architect, Lawrence Wallens research and practice is concerned with the mapping of urban space in such a way that the complexity and shifting nature of such entitites is made visible.

 

CAMPBELL DRAKE

Dynamic Fluidity

“Greatness in music is often defined as an ability of a work of music to transcend origins and historical contexts. Tonight’s concert suggests several alternatives. The music heard tonight is music that deserves more than the occasional performance. It does so not because it transcends its context, but precisely because it inspires future generations to make contact with history in a way that only music can accomplish” – Conductor Leon Botstein writing on Hanns Eisler.

Proposing a dynamic fluidity between the built environment and the inhabitants of the city, this paper is an investigation into the relationship between live performance and architecture. Drawing on Henri Lefebvres The production of space, this paper speculates upon the proposition that ‘space and the political organization of space, express social relationships but also react back upon them’1. Reaffirming this claim, this paper contests conventional interpretations of architecture as immovable and passive, instead asserting the built environment as dynamic and active. Exploring such notions in the realm of temporal art practice, this paper pulls focus on a selection of performance based works situated in the public realm. Adopting music as the transient medium to explore intersections between art, architecture and history, this paper provides a reflection upon a series of unconventional investigative spatial performances situated within redundant and historically significant sites.

In addressing this selection of experimental projects, this paper provides a critique of a specific group of spatial practitioners whose work is often considered to be situated between disciplines. Whilst each of the projects discussed are diverse in there locations and contexts, they share common ground in a type of performative practice that seeks to produce new relationships between performers, the public and the built environment. Highlighting the idea of event and lived space-time compositions, projects discussed include the Princess Theatre Inversion (2014) in which a traditional theatre in Melbourne was turned inside out through a spatial inversion, Duration (2012) in which a redundant ballroom was reactivated through a performance after laying dormant for 30 years and a proposed site responsive performance to take place at Grosvenor Place as part of Expanded Architecture 2014.

Each of the projects addressed involves an engagement with the complexity of the urban environment with which to reposition public perception via the re-appropriation of space. Central to each project is an architectural relic in which creative intervention is able to temporally transform the relationship between architectural and social space, to produce moments of social, cultural and political significance.

Offering an explanation of such spatial acrobatics, Jane Rendell writes; “Social relations of production are both space forming and space contingent. It is not simply that space is produced, but that social relations are spatially produced”2 . This dialectic interactivity between social and architectural spatial formation infer a dynamic connectivity between people and the urban realm in which the performative qualities of the built environment are apprehended and manipulated through performative practice as a means to shape the contemporary and future city.

1 Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space. Oxford, OX, UK; Cambridge, Mass., USA: 2 Rendell, Jane. Art and Architecture: a Place Between. London: I. B. Tauris, 2006.

As an architect, artist and academic, Campbell Drakes practice seeks to challenge conventional definitions of architecture through ideas-led practice and research. Campbell is a lecturer in Interior and Spatial Design at The University of Technology, Sydney, and is undertaking a PhD at RMIT University exploring socio-architectural spatial dynamics and architectural performativity.

 

FRANCIS KENNA

Learning to See: understanding phenomena, colour and space

Pure phenomenology is defined as the investigation of pure phenomena in their relationship to the subject. The philosopher Edmund Husserl believed firmly that by examining our engagement with objects the essential constitution of the subject may be revealed. By applying a phenomenological analysis of perception to the art of Josef Albers, this paper will situate the artist’s work within the field of phenomenology as a form of qualitative investigation, confirmed in the aesthetic experience of the viewer as an active ‘participant’. This paper will examine the phenomenological concepts of intentionality and temporal experience as central themes of Albers’ work. His paintings and graphic work, along with his research into the experience of colour, reveal the active character of perception and intuition that constitute the structure of subjective engagement with objects in the world.

These concepts are central themes in contemporary art practices and architecture, and an analysis of Albers’ work reveals how his art fundamentally questioned static notions of the object and grounds his importance for understanding perception and the nature of ‘objecthood’. Regarding the relationship between art and phenomenology, this paper will ask how a phenomenological engagement may broaden an understanding of the experience of objects and their relevance to contemporary art and architecture practices. The intentionality inherent in perception gives to the subject not mere objects, but objects that have meaning for us. This ultimately involves a fundamental breakdown in the classical dichotomy between subject and object, such that there is an actual overlap of my consciousness and the world. This defines the manner in which we experience the world around us and the precise manner in which consciousness is necessarily consciousness of something.

Francis Kenna is a visual artist currently based in Canberra, Australia. Working with installation and light-based media, Francis’ practice is an ongoing investigation of perception and our engagement with the world around us. His work is centered on our temporal and often tactile relationship to space, objects and perceptual phenomena. Francis holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours First Class) and a Bachelor of Art, major in philosophy from the Australian National University, Canberra. He is currently undertaking a PhD at ANU, Canberra investigating the relationship between art and phenomenology and the subject-object relationship.

 

ARTIST PANEL DISCUSSION BY: EDUARDO KAIRUZ, AINLSIE MURRAY, KATE SHERMAN and RYUICHI FUJIMURA
Refer to EXHIBITION  link at top of page for more information on these artists works created for Expanded Architecture: Temporal Formal

 

EXPANDED ARCHITECTURE WRAP UP  BY: 
SARAH BREEN LOVETT & DR CLAUDIA PERREN

Refer to the ABOUT page for more information on the curators of Expanded Architecture.

 

4.30pm END