How To Build An Office - Part 2
Date: Monday 20 May 2013
Venue: New Soft Room
Lecture date: 2013-05-20
How To Build An Office was conceived within our larger idea for the ‘professional practice’ element to Night School, to act as everything you didn’t learn in Part 3 and the realities of working in practice. The idea was to have six practices of different shapes and sizes discuss, over two sessions, how the nature of their practice has opened up, limited or defined their architecture.
Paul Finch chaired both discussions and noted that it was a rare opportunity to discuss the structures, formations and nature of practice in school but in fact its not actually discussed that much in practice either. However, the current model of architectural education is more based on structures of practice than we imagine. Finch elaborated on this theory by explaining schools employ people, they have programmes and have to produce a product – end of year shows, which are designs produced by people within the institution: ‘that fluidity between what we think of as exclusively education and exclusively practice on examination, there are tendrils of both extending into one another.’
The first presentation of the second session was made by Jim McKinney of Tony Fretton Architects who spoke of a meta-design discussion and meta-practice discussion as a way of talking about talking about what we do.
Joe Morris of Duggan Morris, a husband and wife partnership, presented next, Morris previously worked under Simon Allford at AHMM who told him, “Joe you know fuck all”, when he started his own practice! Contrary to this Morris presented his multi-award winning projects and gave us an insight into the practice’s structure, a classic pyramid with everyone at the bottom – directors, senior staff, cleaners, assistants, admin who are all working towards the cultural ambition of the practice.
Working on an entirely different scale, Jim Eyre of Wilkinson Eyre was the last practice to present. The practice is large and internationally prevalent. With over 30 years of experience, Eyre gave nuggets of advice which hadn’t been discussed previously. Firstly, avoid debt as much as possible, ideally keep 3 months turnover in the bank and you’re safe, although difficult in today’s climate.
All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.