Stories of struggles to make technology work are unending. As long as there are technological developments, whether a book, an overhead projector, video conferencing or buildings equipped with complex automated systems which call for re-humanizing architecture, such stories will continue while the actor playing the role of the technology changes. Picking up on Adrian Leaman‘s earlier blog on the five most important things to think about in architectural briefing, Sam Cassels illustrates the plight of the nervous presenter confronted with an overhead projector.
Eventually, from behind the rustling stage curtains a bewildered head appeared at floor level. Like a convict emerging from the wrong tunnel. The small figure extracted himself on all fours from the clutches of the heavy drapes and then quickly leapt to his feet, and smiled at the invited audience as if he had just sauntered on after the now distant introduction.
Our 7th sounding panel session connected participants from across Australia and the USA to explore how tertiary and workplace learning can lead to new ways of practice and how emerging forms of practice can inform design education.
Although participants trajectories toward integrative briefing practices were diverse, characteristic of many formative experiences were opportunities beyond traditional architectural training and practice. Some participants had worked in other design and creative fields, such as set design, curatorship and exhibition design, exposing them to a range of other types of people, professions and practices. Working with mentors such as Mary Featherston, Frank Duffy, Shirley Dugdale, James Calder and John Worthington featured strongly in helping people learn about briefing in practice.
Jacques Chevrant reflects on the need for the Architecture, Environment & Construction Industry to look outwards and learn from other industries to better engage with innovation and knowledge sharing to ensure long-term sustainability.
Reflecting upon the competitive nature of the Architecture, Environment & Construction Industry (AEC), the for-profit organisation residing within has increasingly behaved like a silo. Intellectual property amidst innovation is closely guarded, used as a tool for maximising competitive advantage.
In our July Sounding Panel session on Transformative Design, Adrian Leaman reiterated the five most important things to think about in architectural briefing…
The next time you see Sam Cassels – and it ideally it should be in person – get him to tell you the story of the nervous presenter confronted with an overhead projector, and baffled by the way it worked, so that every time he tried to say something he stood in front of the projected light image, thereby blocking the projection, thus preventing the audience from having any clue of what he was talking about. Which made him even more jittery and incomprehensible. The presenter should have followed Michael Caine’s advice to young actors: don’t blink, it makes you look weak.
Raymond Young discusses the importance of soft-skills for project management and invites us to participate in research contributing to the development of a tool to assess soft-skills required for project success.
Our conception of a project is probably flawed. I came across Figure 1 in a project management textbook and thought to myself, “that’s not the way it really happens”. Figure 1 gives the impression that each stage of a project takes roughly the same length of time when in fact initiation of a project can take many years (while people think about what they actually want) and realising the benefits should be as long as possible. The problem with Figure 1 is that it is a project manager’s view of the world – the focus is on planning, development and implementation.
In this blog, Theo van der Voordt and Per Anker Jensen discuss the idea of ‘value-sensitive’ design and management of the built environment. They also reflect on different values that are encountered and the challenges to balance different values.
The concept of “value” refers to what is important to people in their lives, ethics, and morality, and to beliefs that steer our behaviour and everyday actions. In addition to universal human values, cultural differences come to the fore as well. For instance, a feminine culture is associated with being more cooperative and caring for the quality of life, whereas a masculine culture is associated with being more competitive and striving for success. Similar differences come to the fore in organisational cultures. In workplace design, a high power distance may result in a higher level of privacy, territoriality, extra square metres, and a luxurious interior design for top managers, as an expression of their status and position in the organisation. Organisations who adopt the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility will likely pay more attention to societal values such as sustainability and incorporate the triple “P” of People, Planet and Profit or Prosperity.
Chris Alcock reflects on changes in the nature of environments for living, learning and working, the foregrounding of user experience and how we might approach briefing for the built environment.
Why is it that we rarely appreciate the power of “incremental change”? John Worthington (co-Founder of DEGW) describes change in two forms – seismic and incremental. The former is immediately recognisable and demands action, the latter a slow, creeping evolution of ideas and innovation that in isolation seem unremarkable but in combination are profound in hindsight. The COVID-19 pandemic has generated seismic change of the first order. But do we realise that our astounding ability to respond to it has in fact been the result of incremental change in our attitudes and experiences of work and workplace over time?
Between March and August 2021 we hosted six international Sounding Panel sessions with participants from across 16 countries and six continents.
Each session brought researchers & practitioners together to discuss, debate & evolve collective understandings of briefing from the scale of a chair to the urban context. In particular, this process has helped expand and shape our understandings of integrative briefing & the direction of the next iteration of the book. A summary from the first six sessions can be downloaded below.
As you can see, there are still many parts of the world we haven’t heard from. If you are from a part of the world not currently represented and have an interest in briefing, or know of others who might like to contribute to the conversations, please let us know.
Just before joining our last Sounding Panel session on design for human experience, Anna Maskiell from Public Realm Lab took a moment to reflect on the past.
1983 was a pretty big year as far as I’m concerned. I was born (always useful!), Fraggle Rock debuted and the Thriller video was released (still influential in the schoolyard 9 or 10 years later). Wolfgang Sievers continued to document the landscape of work in Melbourne, but the heroic images of Australian manufacturing were starting to give way to images of knowledge workers, in their salmon cubicles under a relentless march of ceiling tiles.