Archiendo has always had a "soft spot" for our icon spawning friends at Zaha-Parametric Banana- Hadid architects. However having just read an article recently published in the Architectural Review by one of her leading Parametric Monkeys (Patrick Schumacher) I felt myself nodding my head in agreement to almost every pleonastic word that he put down on the page.
"Architecture can be as much a catalyst for progress as innovations in science...However, I doubt if the invention of other worlds as arenas for innovative design is the way to achieve this"
He was of course referring to the RIBA silver medallist this year, Kibwe Tavares and his 'Robots of Brixton'. There is a big problem with the architecture that RIBA's student medals have been rewarding over the last few years. From ship building machines to buildings made from aromatic gas and even one that had a Multiple Form Disorder and mistakenly thought it was some sort of giant violin in a quarry.
Don't get us wrong, these projects often have a very well considered subtext hidden beneath their complex metaphor. They tackle every issue from social unrest with immigration to the devastating effects of mining on our landscapes. It all just seems like a very unclear and roundabout way of telling us about it.
It is like the pointless task of trying to describe a banana to your boss by telling them it's like a sock full of sweet butter with brown bits in, when actually they are perfectly aware what a banana is. The convoluted and bizarrely abstract way Kibwe communicated his message on immigration was insane. His frolicking and drug taking robots were an unnecessary strain on the poor digits that had to run around his superheated Mac circuit boards painting his utterly superfluous scenes all those dystopic colours. Funnily enough, architecture doesn't have time to make such videos when there are buildings to be created and it never will.
So what should architecture students be doing with their precious two years of creative post graduate freedom? Perhaps encouraging more ethical problems to be approached would be a noble move. Architecture students en masse could be striving to create bold new solutions to solve the issues around energy and waste, these being the two most pressing global catastrophes we are hurtling towards. We are all disappearing into our own gigantic WALL-E world of super rubbish mountains surrounded in air so brown and thick you could practically spread it on toast like marmite. Is that future not dystopian and morbid enough to satisfy the oddly depressed brain of the Part II architecture student? If RIBA were to award more sustainable projects with their highest accolades perhaps we would all stop striving to create time wasting renders of disastrously unrealistic worlds and instead start trying to design architecture that will actually save the world.