Risk – The 2015 National Architecture Conference



We recently attended the annual National Architecture Conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. (This was quite a sacrifice since it clashed with a Dr. Who Conference which Matt Smith and Karren Gillan attended!) The topic this year was ‘risk’. SHoP Architects in New York are no stranger to the idea of risk, ranked #1 most innovative architecture company and #33 most innovative company globally. There is no architing that SHoP architects are avant garde leaders in the field. They have pushed the edge of where our profession can end by entering into manufacturing, shop drawings, property development, app and software development, and patents. Their practice of constantly questioning preconceptions and ideas has earnt them notoreity and respect. Below are some paraphrasing from Greg Pasqualle’s talk at the Risk 2015 conference.


– “Shared risk is shared reward.”

– “Architecture is the last generalist profession.”

– “If you don’t take risk, you aren’t pushing the limits of what you can do.”

– “[Architects] are more than image makers.”

– “The most sustainable thing we can do is not to cover a building in photovoltaic cells. The most sustainable thing you can do is design buildings that people love, buildings that perform well, that don’t get ripped apart and renovated or demolished every 20-30 years.”


One of the overriding messages from the whole conference was that risk is a beautiful and essential part of progress and design. It is an opportunity to be approached as we approach any design problem, to be researched, understood and a solution proposed, edited and re-proposed. So how do architects deal with risk? The way we know best – through design.