This is the second exhibition curated by Gerard Reinmuth for the AAA and the Customs House, Sydney. The exhibition examines the work of key people in larger practices and their contribution to major projects.
For, a misunderstood aspect of architectural practice is the extent of collaboration involved. From the smallest projects (which involve a client, architect, engineers and builders) to the largest (where the design team alone may consist of dozens of people) the reality is that buildings rarely emerge from a sole creator.
This reality is being acknowledged more widely by some key members of the profession. For example, Pritzker-prize winners Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid are two architects who make explicit the importance of key collaborators in their offices and the shared authorship that results from these contributions. While these collaborators are from a younger generation, they have often been with a practice for much of its lifespan. In other cases, younger architects have joined established practices and become part of an transformation that takes their input and skills into account.
So, while the term “young architects” brings to mind the thought of sole practitioners working on house alterations from their spare room, there is a far larger group of young architects at work.
This group arguably has a larger effect on the landscape of our cities, even though the members of the former group may be more recognized. Theis group consists of the designers, project architects and junior partners in large practice.
The relationship between these architects and their practice is an interesting one. Directors of a large practice often provide a theoretical or architectural position which has been developed over decades and which provides a framework within which staff can operate. The practice also provides access to projects and a financial and management support that the younger architect cannot organise on their own. Further, the younger architects are insulated from commercial risks they are not willing to accept in the pursuit of private practice.
On the other hand, the role of loyal and dedicated key staff is essential for the viability of any organization and these younger architects are the lynchpins around which the practice can confidently deliver quality work time and time again. They may also bring a different design perspective that can reinforce the position of a practice or even see it shift and mature over time. Younger architects also tend to be closer to new innovations – in technology or theory – thus ensuring that the practice remains abreast of contemporary practices.
This exhibition showcases the work of 8 young architects who are fortunate to be located inside respected large practices who have provided opportunities for them to excel. Together with the young architects presented in the inaugural AAA Customs House exhibition, these professionals hold the future of the architectural profession - and its role in the evolution of our cities - in their hands.