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Memory and Research

Design is a skill. In fact, it’s more than a singular skill and is closer to a multi-tool of skills. With good designers utilising many skills in their design work.

In the previous two articles I wrote about how architects might utilise their whole design skills in their architectural practice for more than designing buildings. Here I’m focusing on skills that hinge out of the design multi-tool, memory and research.

Memory and research skills are essential aspects of good design skills. They inhabit an overlap with other areas of practice and certainly important, especially in the design context. Great designers have a great memory for precedents and they’re inveterate researchers seeking out knowledge, precedent and apply prodigious critical thinking skills (which I’ll discuss in my next post). …


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Fail and Iterate

There’s often a focus on how architects can utilise their skills in doing other work or careers. At unmeasured I believe that architects can utilise and leverage those skills better to practice architecture better.

This is the first in a series of articles where I’ll look at the skills intrinsic to architectural practice. Unpacking how architects might use their architectural skills to not just do the work of an architect but to do better in their practice of architecture.

Continuing on with the most prominent skill, design. Design is the principal skill that the majority associate with architects, architect as designer. …


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Designing Possibility

There’s often a focus on how architects can utilise their skills in doing other work or careers. At unmeasured I believe that architects can utilise and leverage those skills better to practice architecture better.

This is the first in a series of articles where I’ll look at the skills intrinsic to architectural practice. Unpacking how architects might use their architectural skills to not just do the work of an architect but to do better in their practice of architecture.

Starting with the most prominent skill, design. Design is the principal skill that the majority associate with architects, architect as designer.

I don’t consider design as a singular skill, instead it consists of a number of different skills. For this first article I’m going to focus on design as a way of thinking. Some people call it Design Thinking, I don’t like the term, it’s vague and inexact. …


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Did you spot it? I didn’t finish the title. What might you have missed spotting today?

This year I’ve regularly walked into proverbial posts in my Covid perambulations. For someone that considers themselves observant, I’m often not. It’s crazy the numbers of times I’ve picked out something that I thought was new and on closer inspection wasn’t.

It illustrated to me that we often only build up a general impression of our world. We might think we know the detail, but we’re really filling in bits both inferred and real. …


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This year has thrown up many challenges. Not least of which has been rethinking how we go about doing many things. Meetings, socialising, teaching, to name a few.

We’ve spent a substantial chunk of the year identifying new ways of doing our work, new ways of living our lives, meeting our friends, imparting knowledge and so on.

Previously we might have said we can’t do it this way.

Previously we might have said but this is the way we’ve always done it.

but we can if…

We consider what is the intrinsic nature of this task and by asking what it’s for and who it’s for and designing it to suit that brief. …


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Getting our work out into the world is always a challenge.

We can always do better, but mustn’t use that as an excuse to not ship. Perfection is illusive and a trap and done always better than perfect.

Instead we might concentrate on two things. Shipping good enough, and once shipped, focusing on making it better.

The wonderful thing about shipping before your work is ready, or at least before it’s as good as you’d like it to be, is that there’s more help to make it better. It’s out in the world, waiting for generous constructive feedback, for input, for new ideas. It’s being tested and challenged. …


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You might not be wrong, but you’re never right.

There will always be someone that thinks you’re wrong. They’ve a good reason too. They’ve been taught different things. They’ve experienced different things. They believe different things.

If you were them, you’d think you were wrong too.

We all have our own world views and beliefs in what is right and wrong.

It’s helpful to be critical of our own beliefs to test and find rigour in our thinking. Take a moment to consider how your thinking might be right but how it might also be wrong.

Next time someone says you’re wrong, take the time to consider why they might be right to think that. You might find it helps your critical thinking, changes what you think, or allows you to connect with the other person in a way you hadn’t previously thought possible. …


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Status quo is always appears to be the easier option. There’s no apparent risk and things just keep going as they are. Easy.

The problem with the status quo is that it can institute entitlement and takes no heed of potential changes disrupting the cosy status.

Architects are big on status quo. Keenly and jealously guarding their roles, responsibilities and the way they work. There are pros and cons here. The thing is, architectural practice has been subject to disruption for decades and it’s not finished. Maintaining the status quo is not working.

One option is to swim against the tide, desperately trying to maintain the status quo. Another is to think more creatively about how to deliver change. …


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How to do meaningful work.

Work in service of the planet first.
Build only what is needed. Demolish only when necessary. Adaptively re-use. Minimise the impact of the construction.

Work in service of people and the public.
Prioritise building trust over building buildings. Be accountable. This is the way to build value and support.

Work in service of your colleagues and the profession, not in competition.
No-one wins at architecture. Collaborate generously. Live to work don’t work to live. Celebrate everyone’s success.

Fix the diversity and inclusion problems.


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A job is the bare minimum we do only because we’re paid to do it.

Our work is the meaningful acts we consider our responsibility or privilege to perform in service. Often, but not always, in exchange for remuneration.

People obsess about work-life balance. What they’re seeking is to ensure that their ‘job’ doesn’t take over their life.

What if we were to reconsider this whole thing around work-life balance?

What if we were to instead consider that the meaningful part of our life is our work (see definition above)? Placing work and life now on the same side of the balance. …

About

Michael Lewarne

| Not inclined to stay inside the | lines.

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