If you are walking around Darlinghurst it is worth dropping into the Whole Meal Café at Taylor Square to view the free photographic exhibition realised after a one day photographic competition organised by DARCH, the NSW division of the National Emerging Architects and Graduates Network (EmAGN) of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) and Fraser Studio in December 2011.
The exhibition was opened on 23rd February and shows the competition-winning works among others. The winner was Felix Rausch of Choi Ropiha Fighera Architects, Miki McBride and Stephanie Hughes of SJB Architects shared joint second place and in third place was Barbara Busina.
The exhibition was also being held under the scaffolding at the Central Park construction site, in front of the UTS Tower, but had to be closed last week due to adverse weather conditions. This location was quite unexpected but matched perfectly with the urban style of the pictures. The scaffolding became the base structure for a small open-air urban art gallery.
The initial competition entrants were invited to respond to architect Robin Boyd’s ‘The Australian Ugliness’, a text which opened up groundbreaking debates about design, the nature of the architect and urban planning in the 1960s: “The Australian ugliness is bigger and better here… There is beauty to be discovered here, natural and artistic, the trouble is that it must be discovered.”
This initiative represented an opportunity to analyse how the new generation of architects see the city with its contradiction of colours, lights, materials and styles, and stimulate new debates about Sydney. It is significant that the photos in the Central Park exhibition were displayed on the wall of one of the buildings destined to be a landmark development in Sydney. One can view this as a sign that the young generation of architects in Sydney are being fairly represented in the city, despite recent speculations.
In fact the EmAGN is going to organise another competition this year to promote the work and the capacity of young architects around the country. The exhibition will run indefinitely from 23rd of February at the Whole Meal Cafè, 6 Flinders St, Darlinghurst, Sydney.