It took place last night at the Architects Association in Oslo (OAF) a conference with Gary Bates, member of Spacegroup, and for 2 hours he presented to a full room how to be an architect and an entertainer. With some humour and some amusing arrogance Bates went through 4 recent projects in different stages that the office has been working on, plus an extra project: the office’s website spacegroup.no that is worth a visit.
With the normal and sour complaints about architecture competitions, Bates showed the result from some competitions they have been involved in: Oslo S (Oslo’s central Station) and the new Opera and Culture house in Kristiansund. Also, we got the chance to see the development of the Clarion Hotel in Trondheim and some of the studies for Drottninghög’s Masterplan, Helsingborg in Sweden.
In such a short time for such big projects we got a glance at the office’s method where it is clear a pragmatic analysis of the problems, a clever approach to the sites’ conditions, an interesting excitement to solve the city’s issues and even a lucid understanding of the economical and political issues involved. Although, the solutions come out as too complicated, formally speaking. And if it’s true that often complex problems require complex solutions, though complex doesn’t mean complicated, and that’s where things fall apart. It’s probably the result of a culture of too many glossy renders and a lot of style magazines.
Anyway, Gary Bates provided an interesting lecture and proved why his office has been getting so much work and have won so many competitions.
Final note: Is it normal to go to lectures with a bottle of beer in hand?