Supported by Temperzone and New Zealand Institute of Architects
5 November - 27 November 1999
Architect Andrew Barrie manipulates conventions for representing architecture—drawing and painting, photographic reproduction and modelling—suggesting ways architectural space might be rethought. Several of the schemes represented in the show have received New Zealand national architectural awards, and two were selected for the SD Review, one of Japan's most prestigious accolades for young architects. The expatriate New Zealander is currently working on a PhD as Monbusho Research Scholar at the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences at the University of Tokyo.
Barrie writes: "My work is informed by three ideas: CODE. New representational codes provide new ways of understanding and making the world. How we understand architecture is evident in the codes we use to represent it. Architectural drawings and models typically emphasise edges, borders, and boundaries, shifts from one material or component to another, or from solid matter to empty space. In attempting to devise an architecture which subverts such transitions I have been developing alternative representational systems which disregard boundaries and emphasise vision rather than substance. EQUALISATION. I want to diminish the difference between visible and invisible, equalising solid and void, mass and space. This is much easier in drawing than in building. In my composite sectional drawings for instance, sectional outlines mark the change from solid to void, but don't indicate which side of the line is which—solid and void have been equalised. But what is easily drawn may be impossible to build. The models exhibited here result from the process of trying to translate this idea from drawing into three dimensions. FAILED SPACE. In The Lost Dimension, Paul Virilio argues that modern communication and media technology have eliminated the gap between near and far. Seeing all barriers as penetrable and all separations as bridgeable, he claims, 'there is no plenum; space is not filled with matter'. Virilio may overstate the point, but certainly distance is no longer absolute, it can be overcome. Certainly this may be more a phenomenon of urban or geographic space than architectural space. But if we understand the space we inhabit as neither empty nor extending smoothly in every direction, and if mass can be reworked so that space and therefore vision can penetrate it, then we have a world in which different and incompatible entities can occupy the same position. Here space is unable to hold its own, and 'fails'."