It Takes Two…or Three…


“If everyone is moving forward together, success takes care of itself,” as good old Henry Ford would say.  Effective collaboration with others can generate excellence that is much greater than any sole individual. Without such, architecture is nothing. Not one building was conceived, designed or built by just one individual. In high school, I used to dread working in groups, as it is difficult to come to a unifying concept and make everyone feel like they are an important, transformative member. Since being in architecture, that has definitely changed this outlook for the better, as I have had truly engaging, thought-provoking group projects these past 3 years with very talented individuals.

Studio V is no exception. Everyone is dedicated to creating a meaningful pavilion for the community garden in their unique way. Likewise, all group members bring different insight and methods of design that have definitely enhanced the project thus far. Now that we have been in our small groups for one week, it is interesting to see the different group dynamics that are taking shape, depending on group size, styles and personalities. Rachel and I are a team, while Arif, Beejay and Yiwen have joined forces. It’s great to be able to cross-communicate between the small groups as well. We do not view this as a competition, Group 1 versus Group 2, but rather a larger collaboration as a whole that we can ultimately tailor to generate the best possible final design in less than a few weeks. This way, both proposals will be of high quality infused with ideas from all students in Studio V for tomorrow’s review.

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The boys’ group sharing ideas
A brainstorming session at LS3P

It is also interesting to compare our studio to the professional realm of architecture. I am currently interning with LS3P architects this semester and have had some great opportunities to understand the idea of collaboration with 5, 20 and even 300 people. While a large firm, LS3P maintains its principals, visions and passion for design through constant connection between its employees in Charleston and the other locations. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the construction site for the new Wando High School renovation with my mentor, Brian Wurst.  One aspect that he really highlighted on the visit was how many different people that were involved with the project, from contractors to concrete specialists to the teachers of the school. Everyone played a very critical role in the building process and it took very efficient collaborative efforts to ensure this. This is one of the reasons why I am drawn to architecture, the fact that it is so interdisciplinary. I think this concept should be explored even more, by engaging people from not just within the immediate realm of building construction or design, but also doctors, politicians, scientists or conversationalists.  We are starting to develop those connections even within the small scale of our pavilion, by working with plant specialists and gardeners of the Parks Conservancy, rainwater specialists with Clemson and more.


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