Advantage of being at home and hearing daytime radio (ABC at least), last week on the conversation hour, Richard Fidler interview with architect Tim Hill was a ripper. Hill was responsible for designing the Brisbane Library- yet another boring public library? Not the way Hill describes the role libraries such as Curitiba in Brazil-take on. In Curitiba libraries are seen as information hubs- they ‘unroll’ their city through their library network. These are key civic places, and transport/shopping hubs. He also explores the theme of masculine /feminine practices: men build railroads, women build libraries . Men need quantifiable, singular outcomes and deadlines; women tend towards qualitative experiences represented not by a single point of declaring a project ‘finished’.
Hill also talks of pluralism of purpose, again designing not for a singular outcome (masculine trait) / but multipurpose propositions- eg sun shelters that collect solar energy & provide power for sewerage plants. Australian cities like Sydney & Brisbane are (pragmatically) planned around political cycles. But five year political cycles are not a viable basis for planning either cities or major education reforms. Problems confronting architecture & urban planning in Australia are also underlying issues in relation to what it is to be a citizen in the information age. There’s not much consciousness about how we either re-vision our cities or education systems.
Futurist Richard Watson is also worth hanging on for.