Architecture as an idea

Lacoste + Stevenson = Book, 2012, First, pp. 15 - 18
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The preface examines the historical and ideological background of the team 'Lacoste and Stevenson' which comes from a generation of young European architects whose work has been promoted by the politics of open idea competitions supported by public institutions. Idea design competitions play a crucial role within architectural debate, encourage a turnover in the way the right to speak and build is distributed within the profession. Its condition of possibility is to embrace a culture of speculative thinking, uncertainty and self-criticism. A common practice in Europe that is, unfortunately, rare in Australia. This cultural heritage has formatted their design approach today. The thesis of the preface is that Idea not only qualifies a particular type of design competition as a modus operandi helping to grant access emerging practices to the architectural scene but should also be understood in a specific way: idea as a cause as when architecture was a ramification of a larger social project. Lacoste and Stevenson's agenda focuses on the design of conditions for architectural projects to operate as a social device rather than an object for contemplation. In order to implement their multi-faceted socio-political agenda Lacoste and Stevenson's privileged strategy is an in-depth speculation on a series of factors: typologies, limit, density, identity and social interaction. A majority of their projects is about inventing new types or re-interrogating familiar ones. New typologies stem also from the exploration of limits, edge conditions and thresholds with the ability to reconcile different heterogeneous conditions, environments or typologies.
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