The hero shot. Memorable to the point of misrepresenting the building, misinforming even the discerning viewer, sabotaging the creation of knowledge?
Probably true in the case of most buildings written about in traditional architectural media, and still true today when most of our information is gathered from the web. But the proposition is seldom subject to critical scrutiny, least of all in the web-based architectural media themselves.
So it is doubly refreshing to come across the article We don't need another hero, in the most recent posting of ARCHITECTURE AU. More than doubly welcome in fact, because not only is it a rare reflection by the media on their own role, but it is actually an article written as a collaborative essay by a group of Monash University Masters of Architecture students. That the students' piece itself critiqued magazine reviews of two heavily promoted local projects completes an unusual circularity.
OK, the writing is more earnest than profound. The issues raised are limited to the lost opportunities for communicating more about the buildings than the hero shot allows. Tellingly, the students take at face value all other rhetoric about the two buildings represented, and therefore they are arguably complicit in the very process of controlled representation they seek to highlight.
But we should be grateful for any and all attempts by our media to reflect on their role, and especially when they deliberately help us deconstruct rhetoric. So, congratulations Architecture AU.
Read the original article here. And open up the excellent Discourse section of this on-line magazine for a generous collection of other content here.