Are architects driven by obtaining media attention and are their projects dictated by the media? Juliet Moore of Melbourne-based firm Edwards Moore addressed the power of social media and its effect on emerging architectural practices.

Juliet’s presentation was a short, sharp look at architecture media over the seven years since she and colleague Ben Edwards commenced their practice in 2009.

When they started Edwards Moore, Juliet said they incorporated media into their planning to help build their architecture practice.

“Before we tried to get any jobs, we went through the process of developing a mission statement for the company, and that mission statement very much took into account the effect of the media on what we were going to do and how we could harness the media for our benefit in building a practice,” explained Juliet.

Their first foray into retail design was a fashion pop-up shop which was held in their studio on a minimal budget. With some creative thinking on how to use 154 pairs of tights decoratively and professional photography, the project went viral on social media and was eventually profiled on popular design blog Dezeen.

“As a result of it we won a number of awards, which was quite surprising considering the nature of the space and the budget … We were more importantly commissioned to do two stores in Melbourne, the Melissa shoe store and the Alice Euphemia store, and we were invited to the Australian Retail Institute to talk about the future of retail, because we were experts in retail,” said Juliet.

“So, we kind of made it with a bunch of old tights.”

Juliet gave us an introspective view about riding the media juggernaut.

“Is it really what we want to do as architects, and is that really the best outcome for the practice? There are plenty of practices that really just want that media juggernaut to keep flowing, because it generally relates to cash flow,” said Juliet.

She said seeking the accolades and approval was addictive, but it was more important to seek criticism.

“…that’s where you actually learn and that’s where you build and that’s where you generate ideas about where your mistakes might be, or where there might be things that can be done better, and not just for your own practice, but for architecture…”

After some soul-searching, Edwards Moore held an exhibition and released an on-demand book called 5, which was a culmination of all their projects from the first five years of practice. They wanted to present a more authentic view of architecture rather than the shiny happy images presented by media.

Edwards Moore published fees for every job in their five years of practice as well as their profit and loss figures in 5.

“We also like this idea that the more you give away the more you give back, because that’s really how our industry should work.”

Following Juliet’s presentation, UQ architecture’s Dr Janina Gosseye moderated a panel discussion which can be viewed here.

This article was based on the lecture presented by Juliet Moore as part of the 2016 UQ Architecture Lecture Series event on 19 April 2016.

In partnership with the Australian Institute of Architects, APDL and UQ are pleased to offer this event as a professional development activity for architects. Architects who attend UQ architecture lecture series events can claim two Informal CPD points for attendance, or earn two Formal points with completion of the Design Online written exercise which reflects on new knowledge and the ideas presented. AACA competency: Design.

References:

Watch the lecture here

Read the lecture transcript here

Further reading notes

Edwards Moore

Five

Q & A with Juliet Moore

Anita Lewis

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