Letters

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Leplastrier: Inspiring and Real
A note to congratulate you and the AA team on your Jan/Feb 99 edition and particularly the anthology devoted to Richard Leplastrier. The subject matter is, of course, inspiring, provocative and critically important in this era of digital technology, digital imaging and digital creation. AA has dealt with the Leplastrier story in the way that architectural stories should be told … real people, real creation and real buildings.
The conjunction of text, sketches and photography was well conceived and edited and skilfully formatted. Thank you!
Peter Freeman, Manuka, ACT
Ric Leplastrier deserves much of the credit for planning this feature to appropriately represent his concerns and activities—Ed.

A Thrilling Discourse
Thank you for Nielsen Warren’s thrilling exposition on Peter Stutchbury’s house in Kangaroo Valley (AA Mar/Apr 99).
Of course, Peter’s house is great. Nielsen’s discourse lifts it again, so that it can be understood not just as a beautiful object, but a function of willing, spirited relationships based on eternal qualities, both human and natural.
Achieving singular beauty requires an enormous amount of effort, discipline and confidence. Not only personal confidence from the architect, but faith from the client, that these few lines on paper will amount to a distillation of all their hopes.
Sometimes I wonder if weird and wonderful large-scale, non-geometric shapes are partly driven by a desire to justify our existence to an increasingly sceptical client (particularly at sketch design stage). If so, we should resist. Strong graphics do not necessarily equal a well thought-out solution.
On the other hand, there is Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Here is a mature archiect continuing an extraordinary, three-dimensional exploration of form on a grand scale.
Nielsen Warren has reminded us that the best architecture is founded on truth. Whether that truth is akin to Stutchbury or Gehry is unimportant.
We need to be courageous, obedient and authentic listeners.
From Andrew Scott, Gordon, NSW

Reluctant Architects
Why are Australian architects reluctant to respond to opportunities for permanent renown, as distinct from the 15 minutes of fame Andy Warhol promises everyone?
As Australian editor for Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon
, the world’s major reference on artists, published in Leipzig with support from the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art,
and the German Federal Government, I constantly decry this indifference.
Various biographical dictionaries list painters, sculptors, printmakers, even craftworkers, photographers, cartoonists, etc, while the only directory of architects covers Queensland to 1940—without reference to buildings or styles.
Yet when I write to architects seeking information on their work, only a notable few respond. Consequently, many are represented by brief entries or regrettably not at all— much to the frustration of serious researchers using the work.
Since I operate with minimal support facilities, I trust that architects will take this plea seriously for the future. Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon represents architects under individual names, not those of professional practices, and has now reached D in the alphabetical sequence.
From Robert Smith, PO Box 6029, Highton, Victoria 3216. Ph/fax 03 5244 0004

Thanks for Raymond’s Queries
My thanks to Raymond Howes (AA Mar/Apr 99) for his queries of the editor about the review of Michael Mobbs’ Sustainable House.
As the most frequently named architect in that book, I am pleased that questions which I consider should be put were asked by Raymond.
From Emilis Prelgauskas, Monarto, SA

Fixes
• The Chairman of the National Trust in NSW, the Hon. B.S.J. O’Keefe AM QC, has written to note that our reference to him as a “Liberal lawyer” (AA Radar Headlines Mar/Apr 99) is false. Architecture Australia apologises for publishing this statement and accepts that he has never been a member of the Liberal Party, or any other political party.
• In Radar Academia (AA Mar/Apr 99), we misspelt the name of UNSW Adjunct Professor Adam Kreisler.
• Since our Radar Academia round-up (AA Mar/Apr 99), Lindsay and Kerry Clare have been confirmed as Adjunct Professors at the University of Sydney.

We welcome your concise views on issues of interest to architects. Please provide contact details; we may need to edit. The RAIA’s CEO, Michael Peck, has right of reply to letters criticising the Institute. Address correspondence to Architecture Media at 4 Princes Street, Port Melbourne, Victoria 3207. Fax (03) 9646 4918. Or email us at
“Architectural stories should be told [with] real people, real creation and real buildings”
—Peter Freeman, Canberra
Editor’s Notes
What’s happened to the AA Prize?
Alert readers noticed that we didn’t announce this year’s Architecture Australia Prize for Unbuilt Ideas as promised for our March/April issue. We apologise.
Twenty two entries were judged late last year by architects Carey Lyon (Melbourne), Brian Zulaikha and Kim Jones (Sydney), 1998 Prize-winner Martine Merrylees (Geelong), and AA editor Davina Jackson (Sydney).
Most submissions were either unsuccessful competition entries or projects by first degree architecture students. After several hours of discussion, the jury reluctantly concluded that while several concepts were interesting, none warranted either the $1000 prize or a commendation.
AA has since decided not to continue running the competition. Instead, we’re introducing an informal system of sourcing and publishing unbuilt concepts. As well as calling generally for submissions, we will actively seek notable schemes from practices and senior students. All AA readers are invited to either send or suggest to us any unbuilt concept that they consider warrants serious attention by the profession. Selected submissions will be published in AA’s November/December 99 issue, along with our coverage of the RAIA National Architecture Awards.
Please send submissions as crisply publishable documents in a package no larger than A3 size. Digital files need to be compatible with Macintosh and Photoshop; AA doesn’t run CAD software. Our address is noted at the end of Letters. Entries close September 24.
Transitions in architectural publishing
AA readers are alerted to two legal and economic shifts which are transforming the conventions of architecture publicity.
1. The Copyright Act now allocates copyright of photographs to photographers, unless otherwise contracted. We advise architects to clarify (before a shoot) exactly what film and publicity rights they are buying.
2. In response to competition, AA has begun to pay photographers for first rights to publish project pictorials. This move raises the journal’s professional standards—but has implications for architects. Like our commercial rivals, we can now commission photography directly, and not necessarily rely on architect-supplied photos. Also, we are being contacted increasingly by property owners and publicists (not always with their architect’s knowledge) to consider showcasing new projects. We will occasionally organise photography directly with clients; perhaps conflicting with other publicity arranged by architects.
Rapid advances in digital photography will further transform publicity practices.

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