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Makers of environments and connections

Author: Jamie Millar

The 2014 National Architecture Conference was launched recently. Its focus and themes really got us thinking here at Synergy.

The creative directors for the event, Helen Norrie, Sam Crawford and Adam Haddow, have themed the event as ‘Making’. The conference is aiming to examine the “expanding role of the architect in contemporary practice…”

Helen Norrie says the conference plans to “look beyond the customary definition of ‘architect as maker’ of singular buildings to consider the architect as the ‘maker’ of environments and connections that extend the bounds of traditional practice”.

She goes on to say that an increasingly complex cultural and professional environment provides opportunities for architects to grow beyond simply designing objects and spaces to become ‘navigators’ who “steer processes and deliver alternate outcomes”.


National Architecture Conference [Image by: @thatdesigner - Instagram]

 

MAKING CONNECTIONS

The four sub-themes of the conference are: Making Culture, Making Life, Making Connections and Making Impact.

Making Connections is a concept we hold close at Synergy. We strongly believe in the power of connections and collaboration within the architecture and built environment industries. We’re building a future of connectedness – connecting the dots of practice, design and performance – and collaboration between designers, clients, community and industry. This connectedness and organisation has the goal of making practices more effective and efficient, creating more time for design (and making).

NAVIGATION MEETS ARCHITECTURE

The notion of architects as navigators is interesting – navigators need to understand the influences of their environment and what might affect their course, the risks to their crew (clients, collaborators, colleagues), alternative routes, safe destinations. They must be able to plan how to reach beyond the horizon – potentially into the unknown.

Navigation only became an accurate science after John Harrison built the first chronometer – a 40 year obsession to create accurate time-keeping at sea. If architects are navigators charting the course of process and delivering alternate outcomes, they need to be organised, efficient and precise – they need to run a tight ship – to create the space required to design and make. They need a chronometer.

Navigating architectural practice[Image by: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet - via Flickr CC]


We like to think of Synergy as the chronometer that keeps the practice on course. A chronometer was developed for a specific task, much like Synergy has been developed specifically for architects, engineers and construction designers.

Time pieces in the days before Harrison’s chronometer performed a basic function, but were not accurate enough for the specifics of navigation. Architecture practices navigating the waters of contemporary ‘making’ should look to systems that have been designed specifically for their business environment in order to ‘make’ space for the full power of creativity. There are plenty of time keeping devices out there, but not so many chronometers.