Emerging Architecture 3: A warning
You really don’t want to go the The Lighthouse to see Emerging Architecture 3: Beyond Architainment. Admittedly, that subtitle should be warning enough, but just in case you might be tempted, here’s my review:
All exhibitions about architecture have a problem to overcome: buildings do not, as a general rule, fit inside other buildings. The onus is on the curator to find novel ways of presenting the architectural design process from initial sketch to finished product. In this respect, Emerging Architecture 3 is an abject failure.
Each of the young Austrian architects here is given a cute little modular trolley, with explicatory notes, s and blueprints printed on every surface, and an iMac screening footage of buildings. The notes are obfuscatory — there is talk of ‘spatial netting’, architects are said to ‘offensively address given restraints in urbanistic terms’ — and the floor plans and photographs are chosen for graphic impact, rather than charting the creative course.
Not that the work on show is bad. One Room have built a wonderful, topsy-turvy kindergarten that grows out of the surrounding landscape. Holz Box Tirol’s stackable modular housing is a treat, as is their supermarket project, both are skinned in dark wood, deftly making the functional formally appealing. Indeed, all the architects represented are adept at working within constraints, whether in terms of location, cost or materials. The problem is, it’s hard work drawing these conclusions: you can only guess at the challenges faced by these architects, and must divine the thinking behind their solutions yourself.
Contemporary architecture in Austria seems to be in a healthy state, unfortunately this exhibition will not tell you the why or how, offers little in the way of insight and, as such, teeters on the brink of pointlessness.