The current fascination with the ‘reconstruction’ of the architect comes as a direct response to the turbulent forces reshaping global contemporary culture. This unsettling of the professional stability of architecture for most of the past century has forced many architects to question the motivations and assumptions upon which the profession and its practice have been constructed.
More from curators Anthony Burke and Gerard Reinmuth:
By locating practice as a lens to examine contemporary architecture, we offer a conceptually different way to understand and critique architecture than the modalities usually employed. In this exhibition, titled Formations, practice is understood both as an imperative to action (practice as a verb), and through the deeply contingent and relational nature of architecture to forces beyond its disciplinary boundaries and control.
Formations describes an approach to the dynamic of practice structures that extend through and beyond the traditional architect’s focus on building. Leveraging the potentials of dynamic, flexible and networked practice structures, Formations points to a disciplinary shift away from the fascination with form and technique toward a re-energising of architecture’s political, cultural and experiential dimension.
The work presented in this exhibition examines six unique practices currently based in Australia that challenge the limitations of architecture and practice as it is generally understood. By exploring the potentials for the design of practice itself, these six teams reveal opportunities for a much broader understanding of architecture and its agency or capacity to effect positive change in the world.
The Formations exhibition presents six innovative architectural groups, which are exploring new domains of work, as diverse as robotic fabrication, humanitarian causes, specialist technology and education networks, and media. The exhibition focuses on how these unconventional practices are formed and work, expressed through interactive digital displays, structural installations, film, live radio broadcast and a series of events beyond the Pavilion.
Formations contributes to a growing body of work about the future of the profession as a whole, and the type of professionals and practices which it constructs. By focusing not on objects, but on practices and agency, Formations suggests an alternative to the ways in which we conceive of architecture and the potentials of the practices that take place in its name.