Sunday, April 20, 2008
I attended the AAA Banff Session this Saturday. It is an architecture conference held every two years in Banff. They invite internationally know architects to speak and its held somewhere fancy - like the Banff Springs, and we eat a lot. I also got so see some old friends from school etc. This year I was really excited by all the presenters. They were each from a different amazing part of the world: Iceland, the Netherlands, South Africa and Lebanon. Each one (except for the netherlands) was a true inspiration in that they are dong really great work that is making a difference in people's lives, is making the world more beautiful, and is counteracting so many of the consumer/capitalist forces in society that can be so difficult to overcome. All the work was really inspiring, but my favorite was Heinrich Wolff, of Noero Wolff Architect. I got a chance to talk to him, and I could have talked all day. His perspective was thoughtful and real. He was really grappling with difficult issues of the culture and politics and the ability of architecture to be something new, as well and something that makes us feel at home. The website is useful, but it was his philosophy, and his perspective that gave the projects so much more. They look like good projects, but if you don't know the context of why certain things are done, why certain materials are used, and how it fits into local culture, you may not quite appreciate it. Their museum of struggle (made just three years after the end of apartheid) is particularly profound. It made me really think about where I live and how I can make a difference.