Our studio, while mostly open, is flanked by two small conference rooms. These conference rooms have one wall that is entirely glass that looks out to the main hallway of the studio space which is currently housing three separate studio sections (one of which is our community build Studio V). Throughout the semester we have rotated between working as a whole class, individually, and as partners, but right now we are in two groups of six. Each of these groups, as a few other people have mentioned, are working on one of the sites (Coburg and Timmerman). As we have settled into these groups, we have also migrated from our studio space and there has been a full blown takeover of the conference rooms by Studio V. During studio hours, and often outside of those hours as well, you can walk by the glass walls and see a small group of six huddled over piles of trace paper, pens, books, and maps. My roommates, who are in other studios, are always curious when I get home and ask me “why are ya’ll always in there and what are you pouring over for so long?”. To other studios this much group work, to where we have adopted both conference rooms indefinitely, seems abnormal. To us, it is becoming second-nature.
At first working this closely with a small group almost seem like more of a challenge than our actual design project but we have developed some great strategies for remaining productive, navigating conflict, and hitting design blocks. My favorite so far is anytime we feel like a discussion isn’t going anywhere, everybody pulls out their trace paper and we set a timer for 10 minutes. Everybody sketches the specific detail that we have been discussing (sometimes with the soothing sounds of Enya in the background) until the timer goes off. This allows us to have visuals to aid our discussion which sometimes results in many of us thinking the same thing, but saying it differently. It’s only a week and a half from our next meeting with lots of decisions to be made, and then drawings to follow. So, for now, its back to the conference room (and Enya).