‘Potential Futures’ update: Lecture, big thanks, and a book

In April this year I was a visiting scholar at the University of Sydney Faculty of Architecture where I ran a workshop on Unsolicited Architecture and also gave a guest lecture titled ‘Potential Futures for Design Practice’ (video link), a version of this earlier post of the same name, expanded to include a number of new ‘types’ and a handful of my own projects for context. The lecture formed part of a series on alternative methods of practicing architecture put together by David Neustein, who also gave a very generous introduction, here is a snippet:

“At the Young Architects Forum which took place during the Australian Institute of Architects conference three weeks ago, a select bunch of emerging architects from Australia were invited to present to an international jury of quite critical architects. Under that glaring spotlight it was interesting to see how many of our emerging architects retreated into discussing ‘bush poetry’ as a theme, perhaps as a way of explaining their mundane situation of working. Rory did not do that. And I find that a great relief. It’s nearly a decade since Glen Murcutt won his Pritzker, and I think it’s about time that we had another way of talking about architecture and design. So please welcome Rory Hyde.“

Lecture: Potential Futures for Design Practice from Rory Hyde on Vimeo.

The rest of this post is basically one big ‘thank you’ to all those who propelled the original ‘Potential Futures…’ piece to another level. The response has been incredibly gratifying and overwhelming for me as a researcher. It all started very innocuously: after an interesting round of emails with Gerard Reinmuth of Terroir, who has recently taken up the role as Professor of Practice at UTS, I decided to chuck it up online to open up the conversation, not really expecting anything.

What followed took me completely by surprise. Largely thanks to some extensive and thoughtful comments by Dan Hill, Bryan Boyer, Marcus Westbury (whose projects were each cited) Anita Morandini, MM Jones, Noah Raford, and many others, the conversation really got going — now totalling some 20,000(!) words — and was picked up or mentioned all over the place: BLDG BLOG, An-Architecture, Architizer, Liquid Architecture, Archinect, Architect Magazine, Mammoth, Creative Commonwealth, ETC. Of this we are sure, and more.

On top of that list, I’d like thank Greg J. Smith in particular for really propelling the conversation forward with a piece for Current Intelligence where he invited Mason White, Imran Morandi, Marius Watz and David Bausola to respond and expand upon the original piece. Just terrific.

In all, it’s confirmed my faith in the potential of the blog as a platform for intelligent discussion, introduced me to the work of dozens of incredibly smart people, and perhaps most excitingly for me, has attracted the interest of a publisher with the offer to develop it into a fully-fledged book. There’s not much I can say about it at this stage, as we’re still in the negotiation phase, but only that it’s spurred me to pick up and extend the topic further.

As it now stands, the book will be largely made up of a series of interviews with those people or practices who I believe are carving out a path for innovative means of shaping the city in the future. As with the original piece, not all are architects, but all offer unique strategies for engaging urban or architectural space.

Importantly, these people have not been selected for their innovative modes of practice alone, but for their capacity to create contributions to the city of the highest quality. The underlying message of this book is therefore not that architects and designers should expand into new territories because they are needed elsewhere, but because an understanding of these expanded territories is needed to succeed in their core aim: creating great spaces.

I hope to be able to share more on that here soon.

Posted: June 2nd, 2011
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