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Provocative Material

24 May 2005 - 11 June 2005

As New Zealand architects gather in Auckland for their centenary conference, architects 8 Railway (of Aimer Naismith and Cook Sargisson & Pirie), Archangels, Architectus, Cheshire Architects, JASMAX, Noel Lane Architects and Elvon Young & Davor Popadich take the NZIA’s centenarya provocative position on contemporary material issues with their installations which successfully forge an alliance between conceptual ideas and the appropriation of new or unorthodox materials and their inherent potential.

Charles Walker in his Provocative Material essay has written, “with recent advances, in philosophy and aesthetics, as much as material science and fabrication technologies, our understanding of materials and their applications has expanded to challenge received ideas about material objectivity, significance and signification. Arguably, the architects in this exhibition have become less concerned with modernist beliefs, such as straightforward expression, and rather more interested in the increasingly ambiguous nature of most modern materials themselves. Whilst the initial invitation to the participants appears to insist on an interrogation of the constructional process - paradoxically, an operation often deferred in architectural practice to other disciplines - the organizers  also encouraged the exploration of materials and modes of assembly towards a critical redefinition of contemporary architectural praxis.”

“Eileen Scarry suggests that the process of making is really an act of giving, where the labour of work is compensated by the joy of offering that which is made. This imaginative transfer - through material and technique - of human affect to physical artifact, is what links making with making-up, with creativity. This rarely acknowledged relationship, of emotion to execution, lies at the very heart of New Zealand architecture and Provocative Material.”

Provocative Material is a partnership between the Auckland Branch of the NZ Institute of Architects and Objectspace. The NZIA and Objectspace gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship provided to the project by the participants, Auckland University of Technology, Detail Lighting Ltd, Unitec and the University of Auckland School of Architecture.