In Real Life is about the extraordinary here and now. It is about the fabric of everyday life, the contradictions it creates, and the opportunities it presents. In a world where the only constant is ‘rapid-change’, how can architecture help us understand and navigate the complexities of modern life?

Back to life, back to reality.
So what role can architecture have in this shifting landscape? What is really happening on the ground? How can the visionary integrate with the every-day? There are real problems to be solved all around us, and an imaginative, generous, inclusive architecture can help us realise this - not in a far-off future, but in the places and spaces we occupy today.

A Critique of Everyday Life.
Our built environment is the singular condition that unites us all. We share space but too often the design of that space dictates the way it is occupied and selects those who get to share it. Architects dream of a return to affecting public life, extolling the virtues of civic space, civic buildings and shared infrastructure. But in real life people also learn, work, socialise, date, create and play online. If we are to believe that our lived experiences are increasingly seen from inside our own ‘filter bubbles’ how should we design for shared experiences, or for places that can embrace plurality and diversity? In the era of fake news, are we equally guilty of creating architectural façades?

You only need to walk 100m from where you are now to experience a multitude of diverse and often conflicting ‘realities’. How can we acknowledge and design for these parallel worlds? Architecture has become increasingly rarefied. It neglects the opportunity to engage and elevate that which is ordinary, and becomes lifestyle and spectacle - visible, but rarely accessible. How can we ensure we hear the voices currently missing from architectural discourse?

Ways of Living.
This year’s provocation is an invitation to speculate on the ‘ordinary’ - to explore and expose the conditions and contradictions in architectural culture, experiment with the every-day, challenge the ‘realities’ of our built environment, and re-energise architecture’s role in creating better places and spaces, IRL.