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Designing the Future of Architecture

October 26, 2017

I had the honor to participate in the Practice Innovation Lab, hosted by the Young Architects' Forum through the American Institute of Architects. Sixty of us met in Washington, D.C. for a fast-paced workshop, culminating in team pitches for new practice models.

 

 Team 5 hard at work! It was an honor to collaborate with Beau Frail, Kurt Neiswender, Liz Lessig, Christa Wood, and Josh Flowers. Thanks to Beau for capturing us in action.

 

Expert Inspiration

Over the course of three days, our work was catalyzed by thought leaders who inspired us with talks and coached us as we developed our firm vision and business model.

  • James Patten, of Patten Studio, shared his work in interaction design and visual art. Check out his TED talk below for some thought provoking ideas about how humans can best interact with technology. It is exciting to think about the potential for architects to spend less time sitting at computers with a mouse, and how we can start blending the physical and digital world in more productive and healthy.

     

     

  • Susan Chin, Executive Director of the non-profit Design Trust for Public Space, encouraged us to think about the social impact of our work, how to 'give voice to community and ask whose voices are missing.' Recognizing that we are in a disruptive and creative time akin to the Industrial Revolution and Renaissance, she shared four ways to create impact that she uses in her practice:

    • Change the system

    • Create a replicable model or tool

    • Create a catalyst

    • Build a constituency

 

Collaboration & Connectedness

I left the event with a renewed sense of excitement about the future of our profession and, more importantly, connections with architects and designers who are actively working to improve the relevance, equity, and environmental responsibility of the practice of architecture. Several attendees commented that a major take-away from the event was the recognition that we are not alone in our desire for more collaboration and connectedness among our peers as we work to address the critical social, economic, and environmental issues our country currently faces. In fact, the majority of the ten business models included some version of a nationwide network that connects us with clients and shares resources so we can do more as a profession - think co-working space & Uber for architects. 

 

Let's make it happen!

Design has a crucial role to play in a future that is increasingly digital and disconnected: because we have a choice to use technology instead of having it use us, and to connect rather than stay isolated. Good design lets us create communities where all can succeed. I look forward to bringing this spirit of innovation back to Minneapolis, where I'll continue to use Precipitate to push the boundaries of traditional practice in search of more resilient, holistic, and socially conscious design.

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