Fundamentals: Labour – Architects as Workers

Fundamentals: Labour – Architects as Workers


Welcome to some new attendees since this
morning and we had a fantastic session and no doubt the the conversation will
continue after this final one so we’ll be rolling it up as in at the end as
well and that will be my job as final chair so I’m delighted to introduce the
final panel I do have some some unfortunate
well news which is that rainy ideographs plane was cancelled so we have two
wonderful presentations and we are going to do a silent presentation of Rania’s
PDF because it’s really quite fascinating and I think we’ll still get
a lot out of it and also I think that there’s some fantastic slides that we
can take through to the end in terms of a discussion so Rania’s very
disappointed not to be here he’s done a very special and focused presentation so
that’s that’s disappointing but not too disappointing because we have two
amazing speakers and I’m going to first just introduce the theme of the final
panel and also then introduce our first speaker so this is final panels
architects as workers architects our workers the work that architects do
whether ascetic technical theoretical social or administrative is a form of
labor yet rarely framed in this way architects rarely participate in unions
or the organization of workers rights they are highly susceptible to
exploitation in the workplace individually by employers or
collectively through competition and procurement systems ethical codes for
architecture exist in a reductive form at professional level but even these are
often disregarded at a more personal level in the workplace or in the field
of design production so our final panel will conclude with a conversation which
brings the dilemmas of labor to the professions own doorstep and I think
that that’s been a recurrent theme that we’ve started to pick up on throughout
of course our first speaker he’ll give us an extended lecture is Peggy Deema
Peggy is a professor at Yale and also a member of the architect Mayer founding
member of the architecture Lobby she’s an architect practicing in New York and
has been the of architecture in capitalism 1845 to
the present and the book that as much cited in this symposium the
architectures worker immaterial labor the creative class and the politics of
design she’s the co-editor with Phil Bernstein
of building in the future and beam in academia
she’s the founding member of the architecture lobby through which she
explores the relationship between subjectivity design and labor in the
current economy so do welcome Peggy to the stage just to say it’s a pleasure to
be here and I really appreciate the invitation from Mel and from this school
I’m also delighted to be here with the country can dudas group I I was part of
the Brazil I guess conference around that and that was part of the pleasure
for me and so to be back here in that context is feels very kind of complete I
also should say thank you to Siobhan who again where are you you know has it’s it
was been said before but but one does really recognize all the work that goes
in does making something like this happen smoothly and so it’s a real it’s
a real pleasure I also should say thank you to Jeremy till a Hugh a conference
at Yale that that I organized around very similar themes but I think in some
way he’s a real leading voice for another kind of discipline and another
kind of education and another kind of profession so I feel like I’m in a in a
happy crowd here and I appreciate it so just say something about about this
slide in in some way everything that I maybe want to talk about is embedded in
in this and this was about ad protests that happened with the inauguration of
President Trump but and this this was not a lobby members but a lot member
took this photograph as part but what’s interesting here is one that
pay matters and but it also is a question of who’s being addressed here
so in some way it’s being addressed to the public the public should know pay
your architect it’s being addressed to Trump for sure who did not pay his
architect and in some way it was also a call to architects to pay their
architects to pay their to pay their staff but in some way it also speaks to
a larger issue of what it means to be an architect in in in heightened
neoliberalism which is which is this context so anyway I’m hoping that that
lays out some of those things that I’m interested in so the talk will be in two
parts and the first will be the architect as worker the second part will
be the worker as activist the architect has worker I feel like the prior session
the three talks covered everything that I want to talk about no work is all
right kind of if you put those three talks and put them in a blender it will
kind of come out to be this and so you’re gonna have to be I think patient
with what will feel repetitious at this point but anyway it it makes a point
that’s important to me but I also want to acknowledge how great those three
talks were and in some way they’re much more detailed around the things that
they’re obsessive about and are researching in a probably more complete
fashion than this will be demonstrating so anyway the architect is worker there
are four parts to this talk we do work not just art we are knowledge workers
not object producers we are aligned with other types of workers and we must
reflect the society that we work for each of these four parts has three sub
themes so you’ll get it that there are three
there this 12:12 points that I’m going to make and I’ll go through them fairly
quickly again because I think I’m repeating points that were made made
earlier but but to align them in this way hopefully make some relationships
that matter to me into the architecture Lobby clear to you so we do work not
just art the first sub theme is identifying our work as work does not
mean that it is not fun creative and rewarding this partly comes from my work
on utopian societies and if you know that literature there there really are
two different approaches to work the utopian societies have and one is cut
the workday short so that you can have leisure time and the other is have your
work actually be creative fun and fabulous I am definitely of that second
sort that work is something that is subjectively satisfying if it’s done in
in in the right way so I’m trying to identify the fact that our work as
architects should be seen as fun not because it’s creative but because work
done in the right way is is itself something that is is fulfilling and
rewarding we see a picture here of the Utopia topia society the shakers the
shakers were a celibate Society and all of their utopianism went into their
products that they made and I’m hoping this some of you are familiar with with
the beauty of those products but but the point was that that work was in every
way fulfilling part of it is and just you know to bring this into a larger
kind of political context if you don’t own the means of production the work
itself will be creative and satisfying and and that’s what they exemplified so
then the corollary to this the the the second sub theme of we do work not just
artists creativity is still work and artists recognize this more than
architects I I maybe don’t need to elaborate on this
but it is interesting to me that when I talk about architectural work or labor
one of the things that I often hear is like oh we don’t we don’t do work we
don’t labor we do art and so then it’s interesting to me that if that is the
case the people who really really do art which is the artists recognize that what
they do is is work and are much more politically astute about that I think in
some way because they know that the term starving artists and so in some way they
embrace that and fight that and have to politicize that so you know in the one
hand we’re seeing a union union for artists in England but we’re also seeing
the work of Maureen Connor who also I think was was part of yeah that part of
the work with who builds your architecture and she’s an interesting
artist because most of her work her artwork is about the nature of work and
so this is one of her projects called casual Friday but just to say the
artists themselves are taking taking work on as a Content more and more you
know particularly those architects I mean those artists who are related or
who are working in the in the rubric of relational aesthetics so then the third
subcategory here we are part of the economy and until we understand this and
embrace it we will not be in a position of power just to say the if we don’t
understand our work as as labor we basically don’t understand the economy
and if as a practice you haven’t one hasn’t incorporated the financial
realities of labor within your practice you don’t have a business plan and if
you don’t have a business plan you basically don’t have any place at
the table of power so labor is a large part of getting ourselves into the into
that position of power so the second main category we are knowledge workers
not object producers and then the first subcategory of that is we do immaterial
work the building’s we produce are the tip of the iceberg so there there are a
number of aspects to this one is is recognizing for ourselves that we know
so much before we actually come to the design of a project whether it is about
precedence whether it’s about community whether it’s about real estate whether
it’s about material is whether it’s about the environment whether it’s about
procurement whether it’s about our clients psychology we know so much and
we tend not in any way to make that clear to the public or to our clients
and that’s part of our tragedy but it also in some way comes with a different
definition of design and and I think kind of borrow you were talking about
this I think this has been a theme that was has been brought up earlier what do
we mean by design a problem defining problem solving information structuring
activity that on the basis of understood goals conditions and rules defines a
specific course of action so in in some way if if we think about design in that
larger sense and think about again you know is the the other term that that I’m
sure we brought up is abstract labour all of these things have to do with an
with a different notion of design that is as part of our value so the second
subcategory here producing only buildings is piecework the worst form of
labor the quote here by Marx I probably don’t have to read it but
basically the essence of it is that if you think in piecework that you can
actually get a profit by doing more of it more and do it quicker the market or
the manager or the owner will recognize very quickly to change the price of
what’s being done and so it’s the most easily manipulated form of labor I want
to emphasize that going to seeing your work is going from project to project is
piece work it’s big piece but it’s piece work and basically if you don’t if you
assume that your business plan is to wait for that phone call to get that new
piece work you also don’t have a business plan
but it also is part of an industry that is particularly unfortunate which is
that if you think of it as piece work and operate as piece work you hire up
for the piece that you’ve got and you fire down when you don’t have the
project which means that there’s no ongoing knowledge base within the office
structure itself and I think within the within the larger discipline as as an
approach to work so the third subcategory here we need to
leverage our long term knowledge of and care for the environment so what we’re
seeing here are two projects from Karen Timberlake Karen Timberlake in in many
ways I think our model for a kind of practice that transcends client driven
practice but but what we see here with with the app that they developed which
is tally which is that while you’re designing you actually understand the
carbon footprint as you go and so it’s not it’s not after the whole design is
done and then you go through the analysis of what it is you you while
you’re calling up materials and calling up processes and calling up a certain industry that will satisfy that you you
know with a carbon footprint is and then on the other end this is a gizmo that
they’re devising that you put into the buildings to monitor the
you can sumptuously buildings so that you can actually then begin to determine
whether whether the claims for the environmental operations of the building
are would you claim them to be so pre design post design it’s a longer
term understanding of what our obligations are to both the client and
the environment together the third major category we are aligned with other types
of workers and the first subcategory we are part of a larger team of knowledge
producers contractors engineers owners financial analysts lawyers software
producers etc etc indeed we’re all designers so again this this connects to
the point that I was making earlier about a larger definition of design that
isn’t only about object production but also includes many more people under
that definition of design the image here is of everybody who was involved in the
design and production of Federation Square in in Melbourne this is one of my
favorite slides ever because it shows the community of workers that all
contribute to to a pretty fabulous public space and the building so second
subcategory the worker manager distinction is no longer the primary
operative dialectic who does and does not control money is I bring this up
because when we’re talking about other types of workers allowing us hope that
other type of workers we also should realize we’re talking about that within
the office itself and when we tend to talk about the architect I think we all
kind of go to the image of the firm owner yeah that’s the architect but but
but through healthy is that the number of people who are actually the firm
owners in relationship to the staff is very small and most of the people are
our architects or architectural designers who are employees than our
employers and so we want to talk about that relationship in some way so when I
bring this up there’s kind of two aspects of it one is and I think this
has brought up earlier that we do work in a kind of manner that makes the
employee very friendly and close to the employer such that the worker manager
distinction is very very hard to determine I’m my friend we’re sitting
there where she reading together we’re all making the project together we’re
one big happy family you know but that masks a point that there is truly a
structural division and it’s one that syczyk makes you know which is the best
thing that employer can do is remind the employees that there are the employers
and there’s those employees that there is a difference in that way you actually
know what you what you’re going to be talking about in a fairly
straightforward transparent fashion but having said that while trying to
emphasize that there is that structural difference when one talks about labor or
you know when one talks about organizing labor I think the first thing that
architects maybe go to is like ooh no I don’t I don’t want to set up in any in
any way an antagonistic relationship between staff and and you know firm
owners don’t want to do that and so the the question is then how do you actually
in some way recognize that difference but don’t make it antagonist ik you make
a transparent but not antagonistic because in the end what architects need
to face what all workers need to face is the difference between who does and who
does not control the money but that’s the bigger difference and of course then
this relates to the issues that come up with Occupy Wall Street and the
difference of the 99% to the 1% so in some way this is a claim for much larger
anti-capitalistic project that needs that’s embedded in the one that that we
experience in the architects office the third subcategory of this one is
this is a socio-political position workers of the world unite I I really AM
this point really indebted to who builds your architecture for making me very
aware but I think all of us aware of the fact that our obligation to identify
with the construction workers and that’s one of the huge issues that then we’re
all struggling with right now we’re certainly not going to be empathetic if
we do not identify ourselves as workers if we’re above work and they’re there
are working we shouldn’t be surprised that that the majority of architects
don’t think of it as they’re quite unquote issue there are other things I’m
going to go into later about that but certainly the identification is worker
is is a socio-political position that goes beyond architecture okay the fourth
major category we must reflect the society we work for and the first
subcategory we aren’t exceptional geniuses no starchitects in some way
this is a twofold plea one is against stark attacks the other is a certain
notion of exceptionalism I think architects tend to think of
themselves as exceptional and the star system is is merely a symbol of a larger
feeling of exceptionalism such that we are the exception to the rule or that we
give our gifts to societies that we’re not in society is we don’t model society
in and of itself but this is just to say this is an op-ed that I that I wrote
after there was a long article exposing calatrava’s overindulgence in the new
transit station and the 9/11 site ten years over do you know
100% over budget so anyway there was an article you know talking about that and
maynooth at the response from the architects would be but but this he’s a
genius yeah this this is how we get great
workers all right this is how we get to live and this is you know this is how we
got all this great things and but the point that point that I wanted to make
is that it’s not it’s not that we need geniuses to do with things like the
genius has never ever been an accurate description of how it is that we work
it’s never been the case and it’s it’s it’s a Miss and it’s a myth that we the
certain architects like to perpetuate you know I like to tell the story that
when there’s the discussion at Yale and it was Frank Gehry and Peter Eisenman
and someone said to Frank it’s like how do you feel about the term starchitect
he was just outraged outraged and he and Peter said if if there were nost
architects architects would not be in the newspaper that’s what they’re in is
kind of like some some of you were perpetuating that being the case and so
anyways to get rid of that myth all together so I also want to emphasize
that if it’s never ever been the case that there are individual geniuses who
do this thing particularly now when we have the technology that not only allows
collaboration but in some way demands collaboration it’s really really
pathetic to think about this as a model for how we get good buildings out in the
world so second subcategory gender equality is essential and it’s not
enough I just grabbed this from from the website of case which is an architecture
group that actually no longer exists they’ve been absorbed into we work which
is it’s an interesting story but I took it because you can you can kind of get a
sense of a somewhat you know democratic office and it seems to be fairly fairly
outstanding in terms of gender equality better than most but in terms
of racial diversity or age diversity or I would suggest socio-economic diversity
it’s it’s not there so and then last for this category and last of the twelve
you’ve been counting we can’t give our architects a better world if we don’t
model experience or practice it ourselves and this is something that I’m
thinking more and more about which is again if if we think that we’re if we’re
given the right projects going to give better public spaces better housing even
in better better homes that are better places to work because we know you know
what what a what a better world is like it’s like how could we how can we think
that if our daily life of going to work in a sexist racist unpaid situation if
our daily life does not in any way experience a better world how are we
truly supposed to understand what a better world is like a part of this
again I know just to go back to this idea of the kind of exceptions like
we’re above here we know what we can give the world and here we are our gifts
as if we’re not in some way in a position to model that society ourselves
and so it’s really like let’s clean up our own home before we begin to go out
into the world and say this is how you should do it so this is the second part
of the talk and this will talk about the worker the architectural worker as
activist and this will really go into the work of the architecture lobby I do
have to say I none of this work is paid for it so in
some way this is a shitty model all volunteer but there we are
anyway the architecture Lobby is an organization of architectural workers
advocating for the value of architecture in the general public and for
architectural work within the discipline and these are demands we are precarious
workers these are demands I feel like I don’t want to read all these and and in
some way they incorporate many of the things I’ve already identified in the
architect as worker but this manifesto is is something that was very
instrumental in organizing conversations not just that we’re putting out there in
the world but amongst ourselves and these manifesto points are still being
debated but in some way their go-to point for many many of our discussions
so I want to say just internally and externally there they’re important and
then this is just a diagram of how the organization works we have chapters in
different cities and in different schools those chapters speak to each
other if there’s a project that they’re working on together collaboratively but
all of those different chapters also will work through our organising
committee and the organising committee is made up of somebody manages the
organization a secretary financial manager and then somebody who’s the
content coordinator me and somebody who is the design coordinator and someone
who the research coordinator em and so there it’s kind of rhizomatic but mildly
centralized as well so in going through the the worker is activists I’m going to
talk about three different types of things that that we do
and yeah anyway one is theory work when I had the most of that theory work is
around what I would call institutional critique performance which I aligned
with kind of ideological critique and then practice you know which is certain
actions that that we do that are more practical in nature so so so for the
first theory institutional critique is work that is on antitrust laws and this
came up because when I’m a fellow Lobby member and I went down to the AIA
National Committee in Washington DC and I think they were humoring us by
actually letting us you know meet meet with them the lawyer the CEO the the
head of design projects you know they knew that we were kind of coming down
with certain questions about why the AIA wasn’t more effective anyway the long
and short of it was the the reason I said that they that there was
sympathetic to the things that we were saying why couldn’t we discuss fees why
can’t we could talk about wages why can’t we talk about better labor
practices was that antitrust laws and that and that the AIA had been visited
with two consent decrees and 1972 in 1990 with really draconian effects and
any discussion of fees and any discussion of wages was going to bring a
third consent degree and bring the Department of Justice against and which
is to say it’s collusion to either talk about fees or talk about wages at all
which is why they’re not going to touch it
and I will just say that it is you know this it is the case that the Department
of Justice is very very strong about about this and you can read the bottom
of this it’s not just that the AIA as a professional organization
you will have the the Justice Department come down and it to architects if the
Justice Department gets wins if it to architects who are in any way colluding
about anything like I’m not I won’t do this competition if you don’t do this
competition as you can see that’s ten years in jail and $10,000 fine or if we
agree to not go after a job unless unless we both agreeing that we want 18
percent collusion ten years in jail $10,000 fine so they’re there objection
is is house has weight behind it so anyway because of this I thought but
somehow we all know what doctors get we all know what lawyers get we all know
what real estate agents get you know how how is it that somehow really realtor’s
know the 7% and and somehow all the lawyers will for example give all of
their first-year associates the same amount of money it’s all it’s all known
and how did that happen so I thought well I should I want to do a study of
antitrust laws to see whether architects or the AIA is interpreting them with
more paranoia than the other disciplines in in the end that is not the case what
is the case is that these other industries have much more power then
than we do and there are ways to get around those antitrust laws and these
are some of them there’s a third party survey that invites implicit collusion
and this is actually how all the lawyers know what they’re going to pay their
first-year interns which is the a third party that’s not part of the industry
put a descriptive papers saying what what’s being what certain law firms in
New York and Washington DC are paying their first-year associates and as soon
it was described everyone went to the top and that was it
so that’s implicit which is collusion no one said let’s do this
but they do it so above all the other ways to change is legislation so the
only way to get around antitrust law is to change the laws which means
legislation and that means that you need to
strong lobbies to change legislation another way to which architects do not
another one is unions unions are exempt from antitrust laws and then another one
which I’ll talk more about is d professionalization which is to not be a
profession so that’s one kind of institutional critique that’s gone on
another one came out of this work in this paper that we did response to AI a
values and this was kind of referred to in who built your architects talk about
the particular motivation that came to many of us with Trump’s election and
particularly the CEO of AIA saying the next day after Trump was elected the AIA
and it’s eighty-nine thousand members stand to work with with you Trump and
that was a horrible way of implicating us architects whether we’re members of
the hire or not and so we wrote a paper in response to that that had a number of
different things and I and I won’t go go through it but but this is also where
the idea of competition which again antitrust laws are all about making sure
that we do competition is not only embedded in us as as handed down from
the Department of Justice and the capitalism which it serves but I think
comes on to a profession that is particularly competitive and egotistic
in and of itself around that notion of the lone genius and so I think we’re
particularly susceptible to that but also and this is kind of I don’t know if
we’re here we are but hum is they put as keynote speakers that won their National
Convention those two firms could prove how much more work you could
do for less money for your client so that that doesn’t seem to be good
advocacy for how we actually might get more value for ourselves and that’s
that’s a subliminal assumption about competition which is a sure way to get
down to the bottom but the other is in that paper this is where we talk more
fully about deep professionalization and you know deep professionalization and
does not mean we don’t have certificates of competency the difference between d–
professionalization and and certificates of competency is that certificates of
combin see are run by the the industry itself and not by the state and so the
industry makes its own standard but the idea of deep professionalization what’s
attractive to me about that is that instead of the potential client or the
public you know they’re potential clients and hearing is like oh and you
should hire an architect just like architects we know what that
means egotistical wants to do their vision doesn’t want to listen to me well
make it more expensive and we’ll probably leak this is what architect
means so let’s just get rid of that don’t do that don’t have that that
particular room and actually have a situation where people will come to us
whether we’re certified at certain levels could part of the certification
could happen in different levels certain kind of competency that you have after
three years and profession another half you have ten is that you actually
identify what your knowledge base is you actually have to describe it as opposed
to getting into the category of expensive if you go to stick and
whatever and I did I could go on and on about this but you know it does indicate
here professionalism is a construct of liberal capitalism I mean that construct
had three simultaneous goals to ensure a guiding elite knowledge sector to
ironically at the same time harken back to pre capitalist the ideal is a
craftsmanship Universal protection of social fabric and noblesse oblige and
then thirdly to offer conventions of standardization sigh
and cognitive rationality and a progressive division of labor all of
these which are conditions I think are no longer relevant for our particular
time or our economy I will just say the professionalization
is something that I’m fairly strong about and it does not represent
everybody in the lobby so it this becomes a part of our conversation that
I think in some way characterizes what the lobby does we talk about things we
don’t always agree so then so this then leads to another part of the kind of
institutional or T which is professionalism itself and I I wasn’t
going to talk about this but because of conversations that came up yesterday I
thought I would put this in here which is really a reminder that Robert Gottman
has given us a fairly good description about why architecture is not like law
and medicine and you can see the figures here the ten years out the the
difference between pay of ten years out between lawyers doctors and architects
their services their services which as architects they’re their services I’m
sorry lawyers and doctors aren’t dispensable czars are architectural work
as not as as they’re as transactional work it depends on projects that we need
to seek out the right to dispense legal and medical services is restricted to
members of the legal and medical profession while architects right to
practice design and supervise building construction must be shared in most
states civil engineers are permitted by statute to perform most of the same
services doctors and lawyers or to those who execute their work which is nurses
paralegals etc around but we don’t order the builders around our decisions and
rules are negotiated the demand for of architectural services is a function of
the market demand for buildings and architects have not freed themselves
from dependence on the construction industry that goes up and down with the
economy and then this is when architectural offices from partners to
architecture employees order production according to the principle of hierarchy
indeed hierarchies are often illogical law and medicine operate under the
principle of collegiality in which all lawyers and physicians are regarded as
equals possessing equal rights to contribute to
decision making and architectural firms people with equivalent training and
credentials frequently take their work orders from fellow professionals whose
training is no different for in another way one of the striking features of
architectural work is that so much relatively tedious humdrum work is done
by persons with full architectural credentials anyway yeah but what was
interesting to me then when we began to you know think more about
professionalism itself is is is that is the fifth category of this one which is
our dairy we’re too dependent on construction we haven’t disengaged
ourselves from that and consequently on the ups and downs of the economy and our
response is basically to oppose kind of like well okay you can bypass that in
two ways and one is not to be quiet driven not not to not to wait for that
construction project to come your way and one way to do that is is to think
about research and development entrepreneurial ISM as Jimmy was talking
about it create your own work and again I’m using as an example here the app
that Karen Timberlake developed and now they sell that you know as their own
product and then the work here the living there their hi-fi project which
was at ps1 which is built of disposed this mushroom material that basically
means that this will be biodegradable when it’s understand so this this is
another kind of production that is not client driven enhanced disengages from
that the dependence on on the construction industry but the other one
and it’s actually the one that I’m most interested in is is the one where you’ll
get closer relationships with construction and I’m sure most of you
have seen diagrams like this before these come from shop the kind of old
model of the kind of enclaves or the client being separate from the architect
being separate from the construction industry all of them having their own
Consultants and you know bifurcated and then the possibility with with BIM and
sharing a model of having them talk through that model and then finally to a
different plan a different contractual plan altogether integrated project
delivery where those silos are completely broken down and everybody
works together with shared risk and shared reward so that I get interested
in that model and so button could go farther than that so then the next
institutional work is around contracts because I was interested in how it is
that that the contracts are set up to have such antagonistic relationships
between the owner the contractor and the architect and this came from a paper and
we did recently but but just to go into this slightly what we’re seeing here is
the standard design-build contract and and it’s actually I hope you all notice
and I was bringing this point up yesterday it was kind of in your brought
up today it’s not just that there are these three silos it’s that there is a
contract between the owner and the architect and there is a contract
between the owner and the contractor but there is no contract between the
architect and the contractor and I you know I’ve always been this like we’re so
dependent on the contractor that relationship is so important why can’t
we have a direct relationship with them but of course one reason we don’t is in
the design bid which is we design and and then it goes out to bid and you
don’t even know who the contractor is gonna be and then the contractor is
gonna be somebody that the owner chooses probably the cheapest one and so already
that you know you’ve been you’ve been beating down fee wise and they’re
beating down fee wise and and you’re all kind of looking at each other you know
the contractor and the architect is you know the reason that the project is not
of the finest quality it’s their fault there so anyway we all know that so it’s
just why why was there never a contract between their hearts item the contractor
it is part of the question but then I’m also was interested in how is it with
integrated project delivery that we have this totally different model where these
silos disappeared and it didn’t seem to be in the order of every single
trajectory of contracts that we’ve understood to do that and so the with
the research yielded one was the very first contract and I don’t know with
history England the very first contract in in the u.s. was between the owner and
the contractor and it was 30 years later before there was an owner and an
architect contract and so it’s not it’s not just that there’s no relationship
between them but there seems to be this kind of hierarchy they that has a set up
a relationship between the owner and the contractor that that then has certain
assumptions that that there doesn’t need to be that same kind of relationship
until much later on between the owner and the architect so I thought that was
interesting but but the other thing that that I found is that traditional
contracts are work under the principle of enforcement which is you do a
contract and you live up the Contra because you know that if you don’t
you’re gonna get into trouble there so it’s a it’s a stick situation it really
was an invention of very few people in California in the 60s and I hope you’re
getting the picture of that kind of hippie who came up with a whole other
idea about what what contrast could be which is relational and it was from that
relational contract that certain people who are working in architecture through
kind of parametric design came up with the idea of what now is is integrated
project delivery so it is an outsider it’s not an evolution what’s interesting
to me about that is that the AIA basically doesn’t support it and if one
reason it doesn’t mean it technically it does but one reason that it doesn’t
embrace it fully even though it could really revolutionize the industry is
that the contracts are so tricky to negotiate
that you will probably get your own individual lawyer and you won’t buy the
AIA contracts AIA contracts is the main source of income for the AIA so just
some of that stuff I should actually go faster okay part of the theory work is
also around unions learning about history of architecture unions the
Federation of architects engineers chemists and technicians and the history
that they had and the social work that they did this was again during the the
as a result of the Great Depression and and the period between World War one and
World War two when most of of architects were working for the government and so
there there was a reasonable motivation to complain to is that single you know
contractor about the work conditions but again this is an ongoing condition and
ongoing debate today around what the role of Union unions are in the creative
professions and the lobby is in the midst of coming up with with its
strategy for unionization now okay now I can really go more quickly the the third
and the second part of what we do is is performance which I like to think of it
II illogical critique this is the Venice Biennale in 2014 where we first read our
manifesto and just said we were not invited I think these are these are public acts and so reading the manifesto
but also reading from a book that we had produced which was the Sanford kareo
book and this we took as a model this idea of a middle-class worker precarious
worker who’s you know you know hoping to you know sustain or be maintained in a
precarious economy and then we had architects do their own prayers and the
so the book was made up of their own prayers and their own
so we were passing that out and Venice in 2016 two years later we also went to
the Venice Biennale and did another performance and this in this case again
we were not invited we were reading from a book that we produced called
asymmetric labors and the economy of architecture in theory and in practice
this was a book that I call it performance but it was also some way
theory this is a collection of essays written by academics whether they’re
students PhD students or people teaching about the nature of academic value and
how people understood their value and so they’re very many they’re they’re very
funny but very observant critiques of how the Academy plays into this and of
course Venice seemed to be a right location for this since much of the work
that goes into the pavilions is unpaid Ceri work by done by the students in the
universities that are represented there or the countries that are represented
there so if you’re going to perform in Venice
you’ve got to perform at the national AIA convention again not invited and we
this one we we started to perform this inside and we were on the verge of
getting arrested we came outside and performed the manifesto again as people
were going into the convention somebody said that they thought that if we went
to the showroom where they sell goods that that would not be seen as the
convention floor we went back in performed it in the inside and I should
out so so keep doing it next year a national convention again an outside
we’re curious workers really manifesto blog and then we also
made this was at both the performance and the creation of a video called
reworking architecture where we where we built different scenes that enact the
kind of humorous tragic side of architectural work and then these are a
logistical ego through these are third part practice these are kind of actions
these are more practical things pledges that we have students who are about to
go out in the workforce take that they won’t work for any firms that have
unpaid internships or don’t pay overtime or don’t obey legal labor laws but also
tactics for how to negotiate for better pay when you’re interviewing in an
office workshops professional practice this was we did a series of workshops
where we basically asked those people who were teaching professional practice
again the hinge between academia and the real world about whether they teach to
the practice that we have or teacher to the practice that we should have to
start Advait going with those academics thinking’s and we’ve we’ve had three
different thinking’s and different cities where we ask people from four
different sides of they ease the industry labor firm owners institutions
which is AIA and carb and the media to talk together about what they think the
the kind of acupuncture points are in the profession that could could loosen
it up and and make us reinvent ourselves and then our pocket guide to labor law
which is just coming out so that everybody who’s going into the workforce
knows what the labor laws actually are and then finally our just design which
is a certification process that we’re working on so that certain firms that
have particularly exemplar labor practices will be known to those people
when they go to an office so they choose an office not just for the products that
they do in the design that they do but the kinds of
support that they will get as workers in that office there are there are
criterias and questions that that are the standard or indicate the standard of
what good practice is under these six categories family friendly fair pay
legal labor practices gender and ethnic diversity transparency that’s
transparency about about pay and how you rise in the office an agency which is
how much power you have within the workforce how much you contribute to the
kinds of projects that are being taken so and then the one more thing that not
our wall there was a we called for a day of protest that the day that the that
they are the the proposals were do for the getting the work of building the the
border wall so we asked for a 45-minute walk out so that everybody in
architecture office would have 45 minutes to contemplate why they had
entered the profession and whether their office was doing a proposal or not
consider why why we would not probably want to go enter into that kind of work
let alone other unethical kinds of projects and this has produced a book
the members of the Bay Area Lobby chapter and the LA chapter went down to
to the prototypes after they were built and have just come out with with the
book that is part of their analysis of who built them what what they’re
claiming is is the case what they’re made of and who knew about it so that
book is in print right now thank you so much Peggy next because you
need introduction so delighted to have Jeremy next as most of us know but maybe
some don’t ahead of central Sint Maartens
pro vice-chancellor of the University of the Arts London as an architect Jeremy’s
work with Sarah wiglesworth on their pioneering project nine stock Orchard
Street winner of multiple awards and countless articles but as a writer his
extensive work includes seminal books like flexible housing architecture
depends on spatial agency all three of which won the IBA President’s Award for
a search thank you I thank you all for staying I slightly worried that when Mel
announced that Renier was not arriving that would be mass exodus but thank you
for that and also it’s been an honor to follow a group of such powerful women
and I didn’t think it’s I don’t think it’s a kind of accident that the
critique of many of the forms of exploitative labor is also a critique of
a patriarchal behavior and that there is although it hasn’t been kind of out
there on the surface as a feminist critique I think that that is running
through some of the discussions that that we’ve been having my talk is very
slight compared to the others which have been wonderfully expansive and covered
the globe as it were mine is about competitions and I’m using the
competition as a lens or as you see it’s actually a magnifying glass into the
conditions of labour within the architecture profession so it is it’s a
sort of going right in deep as to the competition as a system and then but
using it as an example of much wider issues and I’m going to start with
a surprising slide this is a slide done by pujan and let’s say in about 1840
let’s I guess in which it’s a satire on competitions so let’s just go through it
new church open competition to youthful unemployed I can’t say I’ve lost it but
aspiring architects is what it says five pounds for the best design each
candidate will send for elevation as three sections it’s a temple of taste
and architectural repository so just remember these words a large assortment
of rejected designs selling considerably under prime cost then these are the a
house of call for students and these are the notices places and situations an
errand boy for an office who can design occasionally and this one I saw you can
hardly read it a young man who understands surveying
would like to go for a year into an office to learn the tasty part design prepared estimates even though
and Sara’s three percent one and a quarter percent in a way I could stop my
lecture there because I think that computing is of unlikely ally I have to
say as a as a hardcore conservative Catholic to be putting this up but I
think that he makes all the points he makes the points about exploitation he
makes the point about the throwing away of architectural knowledge he makes a
point about that if you follow through these implications the effect that it
has on architecture labor and economy and so in a way that is a summary of the
lecture that I’m going to give right so let’s start last time I gave this
lecture I’ve given it once before was an academic conference on competitions in
which the key figures were sitting in the audience and I have to say it’s the
first time I was all but booed off stage so please don’t do that because it’s a
home home team here so I’m sure it’s going to be fine isn’t it and it’s a
very interesting group of academics because they have claimed the area of
investigation of competitions as their own and they go around the world to each
other’s universities on an annual basis and they give a conference they all talk
to each other about how wonderful competitions are as you can see from
this quote excellence in architecture they function like utopias and what I
want to talk about is how possibly they don’t function as utopias and to do that
to take David Harvey’s analysis of utopias in which he splits up between
utopia’s of spatial form either ones in which utopia is constructed simply
through its spatial identity Oh utopia’s of social processes which is
the more literally or philosophical version and what Harvey argues is you
can’t have one without the other but normally they are separated out and in
this case of the competition the utopia’s that those scholars are
referring to are clearly utopias of spatial form and what I want to argue is
is that that will be presenting a very limited purview of what architecture can
do and many of these conversations being had about the notion of the object and
on the the back of these utopia’s of spatial form disguises what I’m going to
call the dystopias of social process and social processes being the processes of
the professions exploitation within the competition process and I want to do
that by looking at two sets of social processes one is to do with our
professional status and very Ally to that as Peggy has so clearly shown us is
how that our professional status is also bound to our diminished economic status
so let’s look at the professional first the our IPA don’t come out of this very
well I should warn you I gave a lecture at the Bartlett the other day we tried I
wish to Peggy said one verse revision in Yale and I do read you like when taking
when’s your video coming out of you have yo
oh is it it was a it’s not because people were asking so we’re not gonna
have video okay I do recommend to continue the
discussions going to the video of the conference that Peggy organized anyway
so the the are at the Bartlett side I called the Arab Education Department the
the NRA of architecture education because they are presiding over
something that is so obviously transparently awful in terms of its
structure but will do nothing about it so they don’t come up very well here now
apart from the terrible language and grammar in this this statement by the
our IPA is very very exposing evidentially unbeatable as a procurement
route and I think that you don’t even need to hear my lecture to know that it
isn’t evidentially unbeatable but the other
thing which is interesting about this is their alliance of what constitutes
quality within a competition to it goes on to win an RI Bay award and an hour
Ivy award is not necessarily a signal of good architecture it’s a signal of the
status quo of good taste and I believe me I’m I’d like to think that that in
some my educational work I’ve done some reasonably good things I was chair of
the our IBA award system and I was a out like failure I couldn’t shift a thing
because the dominance of a certain taste system which the RI Bay award system
validates and perpetuates so this sense that goodness is is wrapped up in
oceans of good taste good aesthetics good techniques which the competition
system as you see absolutely prioritizes this is a quote from Martin wedding who
was generous and brave enough to sit on a platform here last week and did he he
he actually know he was given not that easier time and he held his he held his
line this is a quote from last week’s actually of one of his writings in which
he he defends endlessly the value of competitions and of course he would
defend any valued the competitions because that’s he runs competitions so
therefore for him he needs to defend their value but I think that the the to
the telling term in this is well they’re two times it’s it’s wrong from for me or
anybody to criticize but it is that term there which is the competitions are
conducted in a partial vacuum which I think it’s quite a nice phrase actually
and it’s a vacuum in which a whole set of other dependencies are eliminated
from most particularly its social political and economic context that the
competition eradicate all these dependences and as I write about in
architecture pens that’s a stupid thing to do and therefore what one gets is is
a very particular set of values played out through the competition in a very
very magnified way but those values are exactly the ones that we’ve been talking
about today which are potentially leading to the marginalization of
architecture in as much as that there are the values of taste and aesthetics
associated with the production of beauty for buildings by individual heroes so
what is interesting about this whole thing though is how long this has been
going on and how long this history of the competition
and its association with a certain set of values has been established from the
Renaissance through Jean right to now so I began backs of forwards in time in a
way because you kind of think is the same with my argument architecture
education part what are I be a invented part one two and three in 1885 so it’s a
Victorian structure that we are still living with in the same way that the
Renaissance competition established and the key were theirs is the one of
autonomy established through the competition architectures autonomy and
one of the reasons that that that autonomy is established within the
competition is and it’s getting magnified and hysterical these days is
there is an inverse effect as our powers of profession diminishes the Association
of the autonomy of the competition increases because it’s the only place
that we feel that we’re still in control it’s the only place in its elimination
of the dependencies in its concentration on the certain values of architecture
that we still believe that we have a power and all under control is within
the competition process and so what the competition process is it tricks us into
believing that architecture still has this Renaissance autonomy and nobility
which Helen Libby start talks about the other important where I’ll come back to
the so sheet legitimated and so this quote from food does the same thing
which is how can a competition presume to have any social or I would therefore
say architectural value if it dismisses from the process the voice of the client
the voice of the user the economic context etc etc the only economic
context within a competition is the fee submission which you make against the
value of the building but beyond that other forms of values are
and dude suggests that we should therefore be using competitions
sparingly this is I shouldn’t ready I mean good in hind it’s like shooting
fish in a barrel which is and I shouldn’t where to use it but I am I am
just amazed by this slide so that the this is how you use sort the 17,000 1793
entries and that tells me everything about the status of architectural
competitions and it would be a good exercise for us all to actually try to
populate this with other words but of course you can’t populate it with other
words because the only evidence that you have are for a one drawings pictures and
if all you have is pictures that’s all one can do with the categorization of
all these entries this can’t thank you Adriana for this for this quote which
you use yesterday which is to go back to this notion that of the establishing of
men of taste and the competition doing that in the most extreme manner the second part then is is how this
whole process from the Renaissance or onwards has been socially detonated as
part practice so that it is not seen as an extreme form of practice it’s
actually seen as as a mirror of normal practice and in that all these various
forms of value systems and various forms of our talk about later of exportations
are socially legitimated it is okay it’s fine to do it and yet it is so
transparently not fine to do it you should just go there was an article
after the will Hearst it of after the the talk here in which he focused on in
the architects Journal focus on competitions go and read the comments in
a way I don’t need to give my lecture because the comments make the make make
the point for me now the processes of the Academy also mirror the processes of
the competition system that student projects are indeed conducted in a
partial vacuum they are indeed conducted in an accelerated timeframe they are
indeed conducted without the other they do I other people other people are only
let in on very very kind of tight leashes an engineer to come in and do
that token user to come in and just give a bit of flavor to it but actually tree
out of it all pretty quickly but most of all they are done through the spectacle
of the picture in which the Academy as I talked about it Yale and at the Bartlett
becomes this place of extreme display in which other values of the social of the
political are often completely overwhelmed by the spectacle and by the
display and there’s an interesting bit in
Peggy’s book by Manuel where he talks about that student having this
paradoxical relationship to the Academy as both declined but also the supplier
so that you are paying an awful lot of money you are demanding a service from
that but interesting then the production of your pictures becomes the next stage
in the cycle of the commodification of the Academy and so yeah the student
already is caught in this paradoxical relationship and also clearly the notion
of sacrifice which is absolutely explicit within the competition is
germinated within the Academy the long nights too cruel juries the tribal
aspects and so on and so forth so all of these aspects of the Academy play
straight into aspects of the competition and therefore establish a certain set of
principles by which the profession operates which I don’t really need that but you
know it’s geometrical study and the other thing that happens within both
competitions and the Academy and it’s happening in a very very extreme manner
is it’s producing what can be called a certain type of post truth architecture
if you are in a vacuum if you are cut off you believe fiction has actually
become fact so I’ll give you a really good example of this not just read that
well in here mmm and there’s a whole there’s a whole book
of entries to this competition in which okay this is a this is a good I thought
of quite a a good quote but which is full of absolute fiction like this and
yet presented as if it’s facts so that the the competition and the Academy
leads to a certain type of kind of post truth architecture because of its
removal from an established context of any sort so the first that is ready to
deal with with how the competition establishes a certain set of
professional values and on the back of that it also establishes a very clear
set of economic systems so what I want to do is a pretty crude analysis of of
one competition a competition run by Malcolm reading for a dining hall for a
Cambridge College sort of fairly typical high-end elite competition in which
there was an open call stage two stage 1 and stage 2 so let’s go through that
a crude set of assumptions let’s just put some notes up here one
right so these this is a sort of a set of assumptions but it there no unpaid
interns working normal working day course did not improve profit so there
we go we then put those figures into into this stage one there were 124
entries this is fact let’s say this I I work with Sarah and just tried to get a
feeling of how long it takes three labor days cost that much one master day this
is just to submit an eight-page document with your credentials on not a design at
this stage just to get your credentials down and tell a story about why you
should be submitted so that is already caught four million pounds just for that
first stage of entry Stage two the entries of whittled down to 24 24 why do
you need 24 I tell you why you need 24 a bit later and this is so this is by this
stage you’re actually submitting pictures and the pictures take a bit of
time to do so there we have another 133 then we’re down to stay the shortlist of
five in which we’re really ramping it up by this stage so we’re about half a
million pounds let’s go through some notes here shall we number one listen
under underestimate master days we gave it some junior this is a good direct
quote by the way from from the competition but ended up to natal selves
that’s quite common I think that that you sort of you you hope that your your
unpaid intern is going to produce the thing but actually because they’re
unpaid they’re not very good therefore they
don’t do it very well yeah that’s nice isn’t it we appreciate
how all the long list of teams visited the site so that you know the the the
master had to go and visit site all 24 of the Masters each finalists receive an
honorarium of ten thousand pounds versus the real cost of of that yeah total
budget that’s a seven percent because this as it came to college they do
actually pay seven percent so the architectural fee is three hundred and
fifty thousand pounds the wasted architectural labor is half a million
pounds and these these figures one could actually yeah there there well there
abouts probably my point is very simple is that there is an extraordinary waste
of architectural economy going on within the competition process and it’s isn’t
even we’re not even anywhere near Guggenheim and I often uh often say to
say Sarah that what what and because all these competitions there’s a shortlist
there’s 24 names of they’re pretty much the same you know on always comfort all
the Malcolm reading competition yeah you might have a couple of new people coming
in there pretty much same so I why don’t architects to where I now know why they
don’t you why don’t they throw competition so it’d be really good if
you actually form the cartel in which the final five and and you ring each
other that I can say look we’re all doing it together why don’t why don’t I
win this one yeah why don’t you wear worthy bad clothes on the day designed a
dog of a building and an insult the client and and then I then I’ll get the
job but now we know we can’t do that because we’d all be in jail but there is
a sense within this that the that we are of course our own worst enemies in the
in not colluding in in actually being complicit with engaging with the process
Oh let’s go to another one because this is to this is an open competition 201
entries let me show you a typical entry I mean it is tragic this I’m not saying
the architectures tragic by the way I’m saying about the waste is tragic this is
this is probably still desperate under estimate and still doesn’t have the funds I
checked on the website yesterday they’re saying it might be built within five
years and this was an IPA run competition the Riv a competition
department was turned into a cost center four years ago which meant it had some
generate profit so that they actually were ramping up the number of these
exposure systems which they are sanctioning as part of a professional
thing and what is the other thing which I didn’t talk about earlier but I think
it it is really worth talking about is how can the our IPA all these academics
or whoever actually talk about excellence if what one is valuing is
done in a partial vacuum and again you know it’s it’s never a good day when
Sarah gets back from a I’m from a competition interview because yeah they
normally say they normally say we don’t want a model and and she’d get back and
say well yeah I was tripping over models as I was trying to get into other
people’s models then but the classic one is is when the client rings up and and
says well in the end we didn’t like your elevations and you say what I wasn’t
designing a building you were looking for an architect you weren’t looking for
a building and that is the biggest mistake of the whole process is that
what a competition should be doing is looking for an architect are not looking
for a building because how can that building have any legitimacy if it is
designed within this vacuum how can you possibly engage with the complexities of
the client how can you possibly have a discussion about the brief so what
happens with these competition systems is it slows up a set of fate of
companies they’re very rarely changed afterwards as if the architect has the
power of genius to allow them to simulate all these complex issues and
from that churn out of perfect product so that this sense that the our IPA are
perpetuating exactly that form of production which Peggy and others been
talking about in which we associate ourselves simply with the production of
pitchers because you you’re not doing objects for competitions just doing
pictures as opposed to the production of architectural knowledge and therefore
the competition system does exactly what Peggy and others been talking about in
the sense of it marginalizes what might actually be the real value of the
architect by reducing it down to a form of aesthetic production and this is
really shocking that statement is that’s why they need the twenty-four because
the client basically is on a fishing extra expedition in which the architects
seem quite willing to offer up this set of designs now my question would be why
doesn’t the client have a better idea in the first instance why doesn’t the
client have a set of concerns a set of values of their own a set of parameters
which is strong enough to not need the fishing exhibition of this exploration
by a number of designers and again this comes up time and time again through
through the competition process and certainly in something like the tragic
one I just showed the great fen the other thing which the our IPA actually
put into there at the the this competition guide is it I can’t believe
they write this they actually say comp this is for clients by the way
competitions are a good way to raise the profile of your building I that what
architects are doing is acting as PR agents on behalf of the great fen so the
great fen you the architectural competition as a means
of trying to raise money which they still haven’t unknown when Malcolm says
this you’d you do you do really worried about what parallel universe a
competition system is operating on that the client has seen to be taking all the
risk and I don’t if you read the thing down the bottom but out of the RBA
system only you know 11 were were junked out of 34 I think and three given to
another architect so that’s not a great track record the others might have gone
on to win an IRA Awards now yeah I also Curtis did this much better than I can
so but he didn’t do this which is the sort of the Wall of shame took me ages
to do this such le so it’s relatively unpaid when it was abandoned Malcolm wrote a
thing in the AJ and he said all is not lost the website has been visited by
four and a half million people to show what an important competition this was
and there is again a complete inverse relationship between self-importance
there but if you do it through the frame of architectural labor they’re more
successful the competition is in terms of numbers the more tragic it is
therefore there’s the frame of architectural labor at this at this
moment becomes a very good one for the critique of of the competition system
and by implication if you follow if you agree my argument at all it’s a very
good way of deconstructing some of the structures of the architectural
profession and it is you know if there’s nothing nothing new going on here 1889
it’s fantastic a vampire draining the profession of its blood and when Louie
Kahn says this I suspect he’s saying it in one of his sort of you know kind of
aphoristic manners as a that’s good that’s good
whereas I’m weeding it through the frame of labor as the offering is the offering
of sacrifice the sacrifice of the individual but with it the sacrifice of
the profession and it’s not just because Peggy was in there in the audience that
I’m quoting her actually quotes to her the first time round I did this but of
course this is so true because in the vacuum of the competition in which we
feel that we have the last vestiges of control the last vestiges are so-called
experimentation the last vestiges of actually trying things out and it’s
another argument good place to try things out that we
get that actually what we’re doing is a form of labor and Peggy’s point in this
one is that we have to always recognize whatever we do and you know what
precarious workers are saying earlier absolutely true just to do we should all
do their survey what what moments and if you weren’t here go into their website
and take that survey to actually be beautifully honest with ourselves about
how much free labor we’re giving away so it is not I don’t think too big a ask at
this stage to compare the good and time isn’t streams are poor the competition
system to what are called logo meals logo mills if you don’t know what they
are about this in which a client can upload a brief I want my company makes
anthrax I want a new logo which doesn’t make me look evil yeah or whatever yeah
and and then from around the world 700 designers I mean it’s it’s obvious yeah
just lovely isn’t it house 7 house owners and pay anyone and
and this is now a fairly established form of graphic design production
exploiting in particular what’s interesting the so the density is is the
number of entries made to the logo mill so it’s pointing it’s washing in
particular the global south as as places of cheap labor but if you take the
argument about the logo mill and then apply it to to architectural practice I
think we’re in a fairly deep hole and I think the argument does sort of work and
we’ve talked about prepare the the prokaryote but I think that this quote
from guy standing who is one of the original
kind of document of the prokaryote is interesting because the precariat is is
too often associated with a form of unskilled labor delivery uber whatever
but as as the talked this morning showed actually it isn’t unskilled labor it
applies across the whole patch which is why it’s kind of notion of the per carry
out as a new class is interesting because it challenges notions of working
class seems an upper class and puts makes a a new form of class which is
also why it’s often criticized by by Marxists because they think it it over
stresses that at the expense of the analysis of the exploitation of the
working class but I think that if you put that together and then we’d
architect in there exactly what we’re talking about before and exactly what
Peggy’s holding up outside the a iaia becomes waterwheel it lives through the
anxiety chronic insecurity teetering on the edge I’m sorry I mean meant to end
up jolly and I’m ending up not very jolly I come back right at the end maybe but with this sense of economic
exploitation and then the chain of events that that sets up which pujan
rather beautifully describes in terms of free labor unpaid interns etc etc the
key point about it which is has another quote coming up from Peggy’s right after
the REM koolhaas one is that what it does is to throw away architectural
knowledge and it throws away architectural knowledge because it
doesn’t value architectural knowledge because the whole thing is simply vested
within the picture rather than in the various forms of knowledge that went in
the construction of the picture and therefore how would one design a
competition system which actually looks at forms of architectural knowledge as
opposed to forms of architectural objects and that seems to me to be in a
way the next architectural competition that we should run is to redesign the
architectural competition and I like that here that the I think the the best
work being done by it because it has a sort of we our politic about it is is
that of water meant earth and Russell and a group ground project compass who
are looking at forms of procurement and have begun to evolve systems of new
forms of competition system which don’t rely to to the extent that the our IBA
does on on their own the things I’ve talked about so if we go back to the
notion of utopias or the dystopia of social processes and we look at David
Harvey’s solution which is that of a spatial temporal utopianism ie that a
utopia can’t exist as pure form nor as pure social process but it brings those
two together and a spatial temporal condition what would that mean to the
redesign of competitions so I’m just gonna end up with three very quick
suggestions first of all to change the role of the competition this seems to be
absolutely necessary ie not to see the competition as the
production of things which might look like buildings but instead to do it as
it really should be which is a competition is about finding the the
architect with the most empathy with with the client the architect who
actually is open and generous in relation to the car
and the architect who has the forms of knowledge which the client needs and
that would take it away from notions of of the object I often say I think the
most important thing that one can do as our designers is redesign the brief or
Co design the brief with the client but the competition of course give us the
brief as a form of fate accompany get on with it unrolling out of that obviously is to
change the value system through which competition to assess so these two sort
of once you’ve changed the world then the value system through which they
assess also has to change and then the final page is changing you cannot mix
system with competitions what project compass talk about is saltation which is
everybody can put in a very brief outline and then there’s random
selection of the shortlist for people who’ve got over the first thing now you
may say that’s where you’re weird why would you do that and my answer would be
well actually competition process is so random anyway that that it doesn’t make
any difference whether the random selection is done by a group of biased
judges or by a computer and so you might as well you might as well do that and
having sat on both sides of a competition table that sat as a judge in
a competition it is completely random it could come down to to how the architect
dresses in one in one in one in one sense the people I thought were the most
compelling set of architects the client who is a local authority just thought
they look weird and they were out they were out of the
picture so that the the notion so it is a very very random event and in way the
random the randomness of it also potentially makes the bit upfront the
autonomy even stranger because you’re sort of you have no idea what how the
thing’s going to end up so you might as well just do what you want to do so
those are my three and I could go on versions of how of how
competitions may change thank you Thank You Jeremy so I think we are now going
to do a silent talk in memory of Anna Hart perhaps maybe Anna’s here you know
it’s doing silent walk so a silent talk so I’m not certainly not gonna try and
turret these slides but we did feel that having having really a stranded at his
Airport and having him have done this work
it was absolutely right to show it to you and I’ll try and go not too fast
over the bits with writing on the basis that there’s certainly a thread that we
can all read here perhaps at this point I’ll also read or
NES bio mania de Graaff 1964 she Dom is a Dutch architect and writer he is
partner for the in the office for metropolitan architecture OMA where he
leads projects in Europe Russia and Middle East Renee’s co-founder of amazed
think-tank amo and a visiting professor in architecture and urban design at the
Harvard Graduate School of Design he is recently the author of the book four
walls and a roof the complex nature of a simple profession yeah I’ll wait with that one that’s a
that’s an important one I think context that weren’t filled I’m going to chair this last session and
I think that the clearly I’m gonna perhaps just do a little bit of a
summary of what we just heard and then maybe I’m gonna direct one question to
Peggy and Jeremy and then I think we’ll open up because no doubt everybody
including our previous speakers can also contribute to this if if if we see it as
a sort of summing up of the whole really fantastic day and a half I think from my
perspective what was really fantastic about this last panel was in a way what
I think was two very profound rereading of architectural practice the sort of
double-take moment which i think is really so with all of the research and
interesting sort of comments that we’ve had this suddenly this moment of being
able to make a double-take so Peggy’s for me is a double-take that we do work
and we need to understand ourselves as part of a set of people who work we’re
not other we’re not doing things for people and therefore we can’t separate
ourselves and the very powerful one of the very powerful first comments that
other creative people don’t don’t they believe they do work artists understand
what they do as work why is it that we don’t and I think that there’s a real
double take in that I really think that that’s quite important the second
Jeremy’s point again a complete excavation and unpacking of how
competitions provide us with effectively a partial vacuum about the profession or
what we do perhaps also echoed in education which really distorts the
value of what we do down to a very small spatial tectonic form
and I think my I’ve said this once buy may as well say again I think that that
comes home every day actually in certain dealings that we have with the
profession so our recent a recent part to visit where we talked about the Val
the other extended design roles with the spatial of the the complexity beyond the
spatial was taken by an RBA panel as you know sort of insufficient that
ultimately it is about tectonic form and construction so I think those are really
powerful points I think the also the thing that’s come to me across the the
day and a half is also the systemic issues we’ve talked a lot it’s been
really revealing to talk about law to reimbursed and our profession and the
way in which we operate plus the other operations across the better across the
sort of fields of legal and legislation prosecution right at the beginning
through two different ethical codes so I think that those are really powerful
things that some of some of the ways that we might need to act
I thought perhaps though somewhere in the middle of all of those things maybe
the first question we could talk about because both Peggy and Jeremy talk very
powerfully about the profession and intervening in it disrupting it or
otherwise finding the way in which it constrains is Peggy’s Peggy’s point
about deep professionalizing and I just thought maybe we could go through your
views on that and also perhaps the other speakers views on that
so perhaps Peggy just reiterate what you you have a strong feeling about this this first came up when I was attending
Phil Bernstein’s professional practice Advanced Course and he had somebody who
was I think the the person who guides architectural project with such an
approach to the Stanford University who was trained as an architect but now with
had gone over to to the other side and had watched the NARC architects new
interview or whatever and and she came up with the the analysis it’s like since
there were so many things kind of that that came with negative connotations
about the architect in some way prevented them from explaining their
work individually because they were trying to explain the value of
architecture said why why why do we have a profession and here was a smart person
who thought from both ends and and it’s like oh and partly because in other you
know classes in the info branch is professional practice class we’re trying
it was like why is an architecture like directing a movie you know we’re in
directing a movie everybody gets credit and what how is in
between all these things that weren’t professional were the analogies and so
what are we getting from being a profession other than the negative stuff
you know it’s like Oh architect I get it you know other things I’m saying
egocentric not to listen to me you know too expensive and less timet dismissive
mr. parez supposed to ask him profound questions about about what value we
really have terribly said that the Yale symposium I’d I called for whales talk
about education and validation and the way the validation process embodies and
perpetuates some things we’re both talking about and therefore actually the
simplest thing is just get rid of protection of title and feel perceive
jump down my neck they said as soon as you lose title but protection title then
you also lose economic status was sort of what he was saying I think and I
suppose that rather than D professionalisation it might we could
talk instead about a kind of a different description of what the profession is
and if we did that in its expanded field and got away from the identification of
architecture with the production of buildings and not the consequences of
buildings and what for what comes after then you could
actually have a quite interesting conversation about what the profession
then means and the the people who’ve done it absolutely brilliantly other
surveyors you know the surveyors used to have a very very limited as in the UK
limited definition what constitutes a severe measure buildings or whatever and
they just they just when they saw the whole thing happening when they saw the
whole of the built in production environment being carved up into tall
pieces they claimed never he would ever be it every bit of the food chain by by
expanding definition so whether their project members whether they are
quantifiers whether they are post occupancy facility managers whether they
are you know they basically took the whole theme because they weren’t
bothered about a limited description of a Victorian severe whereas we still have
a limited description of it to an architect so that if we could and you
know there’d be endless conversations about urban design shouldn’t we be
moving shouldn’t that be part and it can’t even
do that so that I think that the discussion should be not necessary
d professionalization about we professionalization in terms of expanded
description and of course and since Tatyana’s here the expense situation
clearly is that a spatial agency and yeah I’ll just push back because I
really do think the professional is a different thing but you know that’s well
we’re all looking for something different and there may be that’s that’s
the way but you know d professionalization is is something that
Marxist wants because it is a protective thing and that protectionism is is about
elitism and all of those things but it’s also something that the far-right you
know freedom is like get rid of professions you know get certification
so it’s it’s a both extreme life and extreme right idea but I do think in in
some way it’s related to the possibility that you wouldn’t do this one huge thing
which is have all this expensive education they do ghosts we’re
accredited and you do your internship and then you
do that all that stuff then there could be degrees of it and and it’s almost
more interesting to me to think about the degrees and I think deep
fertilization is an easier way of having steps of expertise then steps within the
profession but that might be wrong you know it really could be and I and I
think those steps of you know what you can do with three years out with what
you can do ten years out what what you can do begins to have the public and the
clients say and specifically what do you know in ten years it’s like I know the
environments I know you know public space I know well I know all of those
things or even three years I don’t know construction but I do know Community
Development you know that it begins to get I think at the things that that you
and taught you on are talking about mhm any of our other speakers want to
respond to that point Kevin Barry let me Schumi within the five examples you gave
what what did those younger perhapses seasons do they still they still call
themselves architects I’m not sure how much all of them were
speeding towards the ultimate goal of building a building some of them yes
some of them that seemed to be less important which suggests that this wider
way of practicing and still getting acknowledgment might be possible your
comment made me think about when you started you know how much they paid for
their education and clearly there’s a link between how the profession has
evolved with your education system and I think we were maybe talking about that a
little bit yesterday or maybe last night is the one thing the US has that I don’t
think exists anywhere else is the liberal arts model for education like
undergraduate degree where you’re doing architecture as a major degree with
other other subjects other expertise other and and only you know I’m in our
case where I teach only 50% of our students would go on to graduate
architecture etc etc but in if you’re looking at architecture as a more
expanded field with other types of expertise I think or they also still
have you know they have to learn and and we have to learn and or teach
architecture in other contexts and it’s interactions with other disciplines so
that you know to study humanities or social sciences or environmental science
a mean there it’s a vast field but I think this issue is linked to education
and my mind yes maybe we could run over with the Marsha
oh yes nope don’t mind Kevin bear yes gives you some exercise
thanks very much I guess we’re all working here excited
to hear what you’re saying Jeremy because I was just thinking about
you know when I went to art school we were advised that three percent of us
would go on to make it in the art market so three percent of us would go on to be
artists of that ilk and and at the time it never occurred to me to question the
political economy of that statement and say
doesn’t that mean you’re basically educating for ninety seven percent
failure rate by your own terms and I guess something that I think is really
exciting about what you’re saying is if we’re thinking about this practitioner
as being something different then what does that actually mean in terms of the
educational structure how do we ensure that people are really you know excited
about a variety of different possible futures what kind of education then do
we provide and I think the point about liberal arts is a really vital one but I
think it’s also about sort of how we encourage our students to think about
their futures and and refuse this idea of being the failed artist or the failed
architect that seems to be really essential
so to empower them in that regard I also I’ve got to say I’m really fascinated to
hear that artists value their work in in terms of on the terms that you’re
describing Peggy because I think that’s that’s great to hear that’s certainly
not been the experience of precarious workers Brigade there’s there’s a
tendency rather to and and the message is often you know you’re doing this not
because it’s a job but because it’s passion you know this is sort of this
passion work that this kind of narrative that I think we want to challenge so I
think you know the kind of message that you’re disseminating is a good one but I
just I’m just not sure that we’re quite there yet yeah you know when I tell
artists that I you say this is how like we I don’t think we’re so great you know
they you know they have a didn’t but but still I I would point out the fact that
in critical theory and a set a critic critical theory as an architect until
very very recently if you wanted to get a relevant discourse going or a relative
article to students you went you went to our art criticism there was no
architecture criticism so so you might say that about the artist but there’s a
whole you know what whether we were talking about you know October or you
know or critical inquiry I’d you know whatever it is there is a tradition of
critical theory within art practice that there is just not in architecture none
zero well maybe that’s a project for all the people who choose not to go into
building buildings um I think I’d open it up also to others in the audience so
we’ve got one thank you I’ll just add to that but
there’s two academics in the UK one in performing arts and one in fashion who
write about passion work and all these kind of questions and one is Jane Harvey
at Queen Mary University and the other is Angela McRobbie at Goldsmiths that’s
not my question it’s to Peggy I really enjoy following
your work I’ve kind of seen a number of your talks as the Instagram and the last
talk I heard you talk about how you work with your students to try to I guess
sort of disrupt their behaviors are staying up all night
and so on and I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about those kind of
strategies that you can disseminate through architecture teaching in the
student especially in a studio environment yeah I I feel slightly
self-conscious because I feel that they’re weak weak gestures in an in a
system that is you know kind of profoundly dehumanizing in some way but
one one is that I do ask my students to sign a pledge that they will not do an
all-nighter as long as they’re in my studio and I and I ask them to mark
their hours so then some way they’re conscious of wasted hours and it’s not
like they’re going to get critiqued for more or less or less hours is is just to
to be conscious of the fact that you you can if you’re interested in going home
and eating with your partner or whatever create an idea of efficiency as opposed
to the assumption and I and I’m anyway you know that that you can just go
forever and so work slowly or you know whatever but also at the the crit making
sure that the people who come don’t put their backs to the students because in
the end we’re teaching the students and so you know the the jurors are invited
to sit on the side so that the students are actually addressed but I and I guess
in some way I’m interested in giving projects that I don’t know the outcome I
so I do think that it becomes apparent that we’re going through this somewhat
as equals you know that in some way I I think I indicate that I know how to get
the best work out of them but I don’t know the answer to the question in any
way shape or form but I suspect all of us teachers do that I know I’m not sure
that that’s so so my new boots what to pick up on that I give a seminar
here to the master students in which I I kind of rant and rave in my normal
fashion and critique the outside world and the question that always comes and
it’s absolutely the right one is but Jeremy the outside world is not it’s one
we’re going to go into and how can we take what you’re teaching us and talking
about we’re talking about into the outside world if it’s just gonna get
squashed because the structures outside world so as are so overwhelming in terms
of the structure the profession in particular and I have to say I’m not
sure I had the good enough answer to that and that sounds a bit irresponsible
but I think that’s an interesting point I was also going to pick up on that came
through for me from Marcia’s talk and then compounded in this panel was the
idea that in a way it’s not just about the topics or styles of Education but
actually a fundamental re ordering of the hierarchy by which students
understand how they can take some control
and because I think that by appending that that’s possibly the way and I think
that marshes wherever she is issues I think Marcia and Sophie’s talk was was
sort of prompting that through some of the exercises to question who is in
control what the values are and to really sort of slightly level the
playing field as opposed to perpetuate maybe quite conservative structures
because that’s I think whatever our best intentions so my second question was
also about conservatism I mean it feels that perhaps the I guess the second part
of the question about deep professionalizing or the profession is
whether the the problem is that the conservatism that you talked about
Jeremy is a product of being in a profession we’re all scared to leave it
and I don’t know if you want to because it gives because we’ve paid for things
but even if we started again would that be a problem
well I suppose yeah I mean the conservatism in Peggy’s analysis under
said mine is bred by the context of the of the marketplace in which were
operating and if the marketplace is so powerful it’s very differently difficult
to be anything other than conservative in relation to to compliance with that
marketplace so I think that that I don’t think it’s conservative yeah you can say
it has a certain conservative values and it’s Victorian blah blah blah but one
has to be realistic about its relationship to the wider wider
structures and how controlling they are which again is why the students asked me
that question quite rightly ask that question if the structures are so
controlling how do we find our own agency within them it’s a little quick I just yeah I I
think what lingers in the back of preserving the profession and its
conservative nature is the panic that we might be vocational you know it’s like
oh my god we we’re a profession and we all go to these elite schools and some
people are going to vocational schools and they’re learning to do BM and you
know they’re gonna be cod monkeys and you know so the the kind of vocational
professional thing is deeply embedded in why we’re gonna walk we’re going to do
the professional thing and it’s such a class thing it’s such a class idea it’s
like what’s wrong with you I just like I just want to know yeah
yeah great let’s have Jake is just and then Meghan I wanted to actually start
by just a little quote which is from the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti and he
says ambition is a form of self interest a form of enclosure and therefore it
breeds mediocrity of mind to live in a world that ends ambitious and not be
ambitious me to do something that you really love and that is a very difficult
magazines television newspapers and radio constantly emphasize the worship
of success when you are ambitious you are merely adjusting to a particular
pattern of society so therefore you are living on a very superficial level I
think a real school to its students should bring a blessing to the world for
the world needs a blessing it’s in a terrible state and the blessing can only
come when we we ourselves are not seeking power intelligent is the mind
that does not seek so it tells me it is a mind that does not think in any
particular pattern that is free in itself and therefore able to see what is
true and put aside what is not so you know he seems quite like strong advocate
of no competition at all and I was wandering through that
and maybe towards the end of your action point Jeremy about how you improve
competitions was there not a sort of a more absolute argument for no
competition whatsoever and that has to start within academia
within the within academic environment and yet we see I’d say through fear
mainly institutions such as ourselves putting up the grade boundaries for
those entry applications that’s pressure of the market first thing you do when
you enter first year is you enter a technical competition and then a degree
show it’s a competition for the best spaces allocated by the sort of what was
that phrase popped open you all think that the good taste of the tutors and so
that’s another another competition there and I think a lot of hypocrisy tends to
happen at these counter spaces and I’d research epoxy and another Judy
Krishnamurthy thing is it tends to stem from fear so your biggest fears lead to
your biggest hypocrisy so it’s just a sort of more up frank discussion about
what do you fear greatest and it might just be the market collapsed ilysm we
all live in always they’re slightly more personal fears that we could speak of
quite openly here that needs to be needs to be shown and light on in order for
spaces and you know academic spaces to become more more promoting collaboration
and not competition in quite a strong way thank you well I suppose I have to
answer that inside because yeah but in particular being ahead of this place
which is rife with ambition and rife I think sometimes with unacceptable
competition and it it is a difficult one that that I sort of say you know I say
to students and they’re coming you’re not allowed to be arrogant but you can’t
be confident but I also do talk about ambition but it’s not necessary the way
that you described it there and I think there is students I think should be
ambitious I find nothing wrong with that notion of being ambitious as long as the
values of by which that ambition is measured a have an ethic to them so I
don’t I don’t fully agree with you that that it’s to do with a collaborative
consensus or a sort of sense of just of getting a stripping away some of those
ambitions but possibly I think you’re probably right to say they should be
reframed better is there a fear that’s preventing you from reframing it better
well I mean yeah there’s a fear that if one takes list from what the benefits
are for the world’s greatest fashion course it’s the fear is that it becomes
no longer the world’s greatest fashion course because if you took your line and
you rolled it out completely through the MA fashion the exceptional work and
people coming out of that would not be assertive exceptional at anything or
there be exceptional in a way which the the market afterwards wouldn’t tolerate
so I hold my hands up on that one yes there is a fear that that the that you
lose a kind of status I agree with you that the market afterwards won’t
tolerate it but then we can turn to Mel and say thankfully for architecture we
don’t have to necessarily especially what our state’s is nowhere near that well yeah but I just mean we have we
have we don’t have that the way of the world’s best architects of course we’re
grateful for that I think a lot of us and we don’t have to consider that with
at this seminar all to be doing the exact opposite so same question is um
what fears prevent you from from perhaps acting on some of the stuff you’ve
talked about today I probably agree with Jeremy that I sort of don’t I have an
ambition for the students on our courses that would be about I mean I would be
horrified if people thought they were on an architecture course or you know in an
in a course that was down at the bottom and therefore we could we didn’t have to
have any ambition for ourselves so and also yeah I think I think there’s a
natural sense of wanting to I agree there’s a natural sense that ambition is
part of everyday life so I don’t I don’t I understand what you’re saying you’re
saying that that we don’t have anything to lose but I think that’s a bit harsh
and I guess for me it’s it’s also quite extreme in the sense that if we look at
let’s say an experimental space of learning and teaching perhaps where we
don’t we have less to lose in your argument then I would say that we’re
probably approaching some of those things which was and I don’t think
that’s under I don’t think that’s particularly sort of egocentric of me to
say so so I think experimentation can happen it doesn’t just doesn’t have to
be quite as extreme radical we had a we had a Megan and then Liza thank you I
think the way it’s really interesting the D professionalization argument
versus the Reaper is a ssin argument because I think we all agree working in
the UK in the u.s. that something needs to change in the professional
organization and so the two different standpoints I think are very interesting
so I guess the question first is is this something that you see as a dismantling
of and our iba or is it a reed kind of
taking over of aia raba you know because it seems like there’s
two different schools of thought there and then along those lines if you think
about a roll I know the aaaa in particular of lobby which they don’t do
very effectively but part of their role is technically to lobby for architects
in Washington and in states and looking at riders slides you know so much I mean
he had a few slides about the investment that the Dutch government put into
architecture and likewise the Danish government put a bunch of money into
promoting architecture and that’s around the time we got big and all the other
famous Danish firms the time we got all the famous Dutch firms and so you know
just thinking about grassroots kind of work at a certain level but then what a
professional organization could potentially do a such as lobbying
governments to increase governmental funding such as you know we made that
work as possible because the Mayor of London is putting money into initiatives
that they can apply for funding for and therefore they don’t have to subject
themselves to the market I guess I just like to you both to kind of talk a
little bit about what you think about the role of those professional
organizations are moving forward something needs to be done the area
wouldn’t exist and the professionalization big you know and but
that would not be a tragedy you know so it’s it’s it’s a club that is meant to
make architects feel good about themselves in the midst of a crappy
situation you give awards to yourselves and give you know you know particular
you know F FAI a status to certain people and and it’s and you know I I it
does take honors this job to get work from the government that’s that’s it’s
been its main job to secure work from the government so that would go
away but but I think for me you might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater
you know to think about the professionalization but I think I think
the damage the profession is said would scream to start from scratch would be a
good thing yeah I tend to agree I mean I it’s it is always a question is it
better to work inside the tent through trying to change systems from within or
is it better to stand outside and shout and I personally I’ve done both I failed
miserably when I was I did you know a Wednesday nerd it was a chair of the our
idea water system and I failed miserably and I think that I would fail miserably
trying to deconstruct failed miserably trying to deconstruct the educational
system I mean so I’m a failure of being inside so I said I think that personal
level I agree Peggy I think you have to start again though there it is it is
very very compromised as a set of institutions and you know what the AI
did the day after Trampas was just okay a very visible tip of a much larger
iceberg Huey neither did you ever maybe stop celebratory said this diem yeah the sheer generosity
of your body of work you know maybe as an academic you claim dishes research
she sometimes got a bit of sabbatical but this sheer generosity when academia
is definitely under threat and underfunded and it’s hard for students
have paid big fees to feel like their teachers and though having a hard time
because they’re paying such big fees and but it’s sort of interesting mouths
points about what the Riv a visiting Board criticized the school for was you
know there wasn’t enough real world there wasn’t enough of the tectonics the
profession when actually perhaps today yesterday is there isn’t enough academia
in the profession you know that this body of work of today and yesterday is
the speaking you know imagine if they had a little bit more of academia in
that that real-world and so maybe the challenge to lobby and to who built your
architecture is how do you make and cares workers how do you make the
elegant diagram as big as the inflatable rat you know how could that body of
research just come and March up to to those professions and I think that that
generosity is what what describes this and that the students who are here you
know you actually have to be more ambitious because in this sort of place
of an alternative you have to be as big as an inflatable rat and so it probably
is that inflatable rat which is the tectonics Mel’s describing because how
does the dye how do you design things that hold both a critique and
reproductive alternative a joyful it alternative
the things that you draw so there’s no opt-out here
unfortunately and and then lastly you know how can we find that place you know
is this a myth like what is the role of this institution to kind of just elbow
itself in like her I feel that the with the wall project you really did it was
like sorry you know the kind of spotlight came upon it so I just like to
celebrate the generosity that we’ve had from everybody thank you but I think I
think you’re dead right about this thing this thing of reaching other audiences I
remember when we went at eonni I were doing special agency at Sheffield and we
did a set of conferences symposium we realized in the end it was so good
people traveling around Europe yeah not speaking to each other and I think
things have moved on since then that the audience has expanded and I think that
at the moment of let take crisis which were going through in terms of political
crisis economic crisis and environmental crisis then we are duty-bound to
actually present not so much the alternative but other ways of doing
things as the center is sort of collapsing in front of us and that there
had to seize that moment and I think I really do think there’s a moment that’s
when my optimism is I’ve just thought of positive things to say as well project
managers so they project nice to build mega projects and they invited that
class so it’s kind of like smooth smooth smooth client session but it was about
how can you design the hmm at the process of mega projects to make space
for creativity that was that was a question and the head of the Natural
History Museum yeah they head to their Danna and other
museum said number one get rid of the CGI in in the procurement process
because we’re stuck with this which are funders thought they were
going to get and you haven’t even dug one hole you haven’t done single survey
so I think the idea that the work state how would you redesign the work stages
to give space for exploration and as Mel said experimentation maybe is is you
know it’s a positive place place to start and then yeah can I can I just say
something about not that last comment but the earlier one which is in some way
to bring the humanities into the profession and relate that to like the
not our wall thing I I think it’s it’s nursing point the point that I take from
that is that if for example the AIA or the profession was allowed to openly
debate the ethics of a border wall as opposed to sound bites from the CEO of
the AIA and that it became a platform for real discussion we would I think
internally begin to bring on those humanities we we we think in that
ethical fashion about the larger issues that are more humanistically based but
as long as you close off those discussions because their political and
their hotbeds and you’re going to offend somebody by doing it
we’re in in no way going to invite that you preclude that conversation but I
think and I think this is the point that she was making earlier in the discussion
if we showed that to the public I think we would be more respected the that we
are actually a place where these important things
are vetted and that and in some way we’re a place that can vet them probably
more completely or more significantly than any other place because we have
such impact on people’s daily lives by the spaces that we make and the spatial
divisions that we have you know where we’re kind of uniquely in a position to
be to debate those things and and would get respect for that but but we make
sure that we don’t do that yeah it’s coming thank you for all presentations
also from this morning so um it seems like something’s wrong with architecture
and that’s quite clear I think to everyone and this day today was about
labor specifically and how reorganizing labor might change also these conditions
of architecture and I just wanted to just point out a couple of things that
stuck out for me today which came through comments by the workers b-grade
this morning and now you also Peggy Jeremy and and and others also um there
was um I think a sense of the need for a plan
Peggy you talked about peace peace work and peace work being the worst kind of
labor and earlier on there was a comment as well that that most architectural
practices are actually quite quite small and it’s very very fragmented so um this
somehow and sorry my head is buzzing I I don’t quite know how to pin it together
but um there seems to be something quite interesting in this notion of
collectivization that came out in in in in different presentations today funnily
enough also in in one of the slides by Avenue de Graaff also where there was a
thing about mergers and acquisitions and I think we we see this happening in the
co-operative movement at the moment where small cooperatives are merging
with other cooperatives form larger cooperatives so to create a
certain piece certain moment of power to intervene somehow and I think this this
this notion of collectivization which also was in the workers Brick Brigade
and discussion this morning sort of having a bigger force with behind which
he could do something that was for me very very powerful there was also
something about values and this was quite strong in a couple of
presentations as well certain pledges to be made certain no
cards to be taken out when you don’t really agree with something so a notion
of responsibility of value towards certain things which was really strong
and maybe bringing in quite an overt feminist perspective now as well the
question might then be how to Anam rephrasing donna haraway here how to
create an ability to respond to these questions what is our how can we foster
something that that allows us to intervene more productively in these
discussions which have been around for so long that I’m also at times losing a
little bit of hope noannie when I listen again to another set of
things oh no it seems like starting over and over again so how how can the sense
of urgency be somehow turned into something whereby a different kind of
action comes comes out of this so I don’t do we have any response I think
it’s great yes but I you’re right – but didn’t I thought that Peggy’s two-parter
in actually began to answer some of your questions and watch as it goes some
critique into action and that those and that is beholden on us all to do that
yeah I think um the architecture lobby I think particular is a powerful way of
now seeing how the collective is stronger than maybe the fragmented
I mean I appreciate that there are two things that I think about in that and
one is the debate that happens within the lobby between collectivization and
cooperatives and I know those are different things but as as models for
for work versus unionization and the the Union people you know make the point
that Rosa Luxemburg pointed out that collectives and cooperatives or islands
with in a sea of capitalism and they don’t bring on the revolution whereas
unions bring on a revolution this is I mean it’s just it’s just it’s an
interesting debate and part of that is like do you believe in the revolution or
whatever but but just to say that that terms like collective have histories and
aren’t debated but the but the other is something that I keep thinking about now
which is radical democracy and radical democracy you know is is not about
coming to consensus but about keeping the the debate alive again and again and
again so that no one is resting on a false sense of having arrived but you’re
you’re always working at trying to listen to opposition’s to think about I
know a moving forward that understands divisive myths but understands that too
and so the kind of liveliness that doesn’t come to conclusions I think is
still completely productive and and disruptive and in some way that is what
what I wish whatever organization it could be whether it’s the law of you or
this AIA or whatever where you just make clear the urgency of keeping the debate
alive without smoothing it out or flattening it or
attending that is better than it is you know that it’s just vital that’s a very
optimistic message a liveliness that doesn’t come to conclusions and I did
also think Pei wondered how far the architecture Lobby had gone outside of
the states in its chapters do it there are only chapters in in in the United
States but we’re over there does your does your does your code of whatever
have any problem with going global no I don’t think snit I think that would be a
very good step on that front I think we are coming to the end of our time so any
last voices that would like to be heard Oh Marcia and I just want to say like precarious
workers brigade is very ambitious well exactly so when I talk about you know
the 3% that my institution nominates is going on to work in the art market that
is a that statement is made out of a place of thinking you’re going to be
very competitive that’s that we’re just telling you the way things are but what
if you actually say we don’t need to accept that we can reconfigure the
conditions in which we’re operating through doing things like collectivizing
or working cooperatively I think the good news for you as students is you’re
in a context that is extremely supportive of those ways of working but
it’s really up to you to self organize so to take some responsibility for that
learning and practice right now like not waiting for somebody to do it for you
but to do it yourself so I guess to just really underscore course collectivity
cooperation collaboration these terms are fraught but I still think that this
emphasis on self-organization is now more crucial than ever because nobody’s
gonna do it for us we have to do it ourselves yeah that’s that’s the
wonderful collection of urgencies to end on i think if we’ve got no other
questions I would just it’s just my job to really say thank you to all of the
speakers if we go back in line let’s do the speakers first there’s Carol and
Lygia who came all the way from Sao Paulo and beautiful book is out there so
anybody who has missed yet their launch please take a book there’s an open
there’s a copy for everybody who’s attended also to add of Casa I think
he’s still here and also to concrete action Seb and Charlotte on on Friday
and thanks to Alex for chairing that Thanks this morning too kadambari and
Laura from who built your architecture wonderfully rich set of researches and
after that precarious workers Brigade Sophie and Marsha thank you very much
for your contribution and shear me as well and finally obviously – and –
Brendan Cormier for chairing that and finally to Peggy and Jeremy and our
invisible Renee who nevertheless did provoke us so we we missed his presence
and small details of thanks maybe but actually very big so we all know that
Siobhan has got her due few citations there as well Shawna’s fantastic she
probably does overworked but we try and make sure that we pay her
anthe for what she does wonderful addition to our program and the driving
force behind behind our fundamentals fantastic for students who have come and
forgets who who paid or who can’t came as guests of speakers really really
happy that you all made it against all the odds with all the weather so and
thank you for staying it’s amazing yeah really

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