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Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

So I decided to leave the “Design” world. In a way at least. I still would consider myself a designer. I still build things, think critically about how they work or why they are constructed the way they are. I am just no long part of the traditional “Architecture” design industry. I don’t design the building as a product. And honestly, from a design standpoint, I couldn’t be more excited about that.

Certainly leaving the Architecture industry wasn’t without a bit of anxiety. It’s hard to leave the safety of the status quo, the romanticization of being a “designer”, and the societal expectation that you go to school for 6 years — walk away with a professional degree — in order to climb the ladder as an architect (or hopefully Architect). In talking about leaving this well worn track, questions come easily. What if I miss design? What if I just give the industry 6 more months; will I like it better? Colleagues, family, and friends, ask “what is it exactly that you will be doing?” It’s hard to answer those questions when that answer is outside the developed norms of the our professional language. Those aren’t bad questions; they have a good point. Architect is understood. Architectural Design Technologist is not. …


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Photo by Dose Media on Unsplash

To kick off this publication, I thought it would be worthwhile to outline my thoughts on architecture and design as a way to organize both the content of my future writing as well as my own thoughts.

The question at the forefront of this “Evolving Manifesto” series is “why do I do what I do?” It’s a question that I have been wrestling with recently as I try to figure out the next steps in my career. I’ll spend the next few paragraphs exploring my current thoughts followed up, at the end of the post, by 3 industry wide questions for exploration in future posts. Though I should say, this in no way should be thought of as my final, conclusive manifesto. I hope it’s not, really, as my career is young and I have a lot of room to grow. …


Why I’m so bullish on WeWork and what traditional practice might be able to do about it

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Northwestern Mutual Tower in Milwaukee

Despite the creative nature of architecture, or perhaps because of it, business models within the industry have long seemed to be neglected. This is a bit strange because business models define the product of a business; everything that that business produces or provides to a client is done in service of what the business is set up to do. Architecture has been lucky so far that this static model has, unlike the taxi or hotel business, not produced a disruptive new business model. With the advances in technology and direction of cultural expectations, architecture might finally be ripe for disruption. …


I haven’t spent much time writing recently. It is not that I haven’t been thinking critically or participating in intellectual dialog but more that I have prioritized the Empathic Futures Lab podcast above other endeavors. Now that that has become an ongoing habit (we have produced 12 episodes!), I think it is time to get back into the habit of writing. Beyond that though, I think it is time to prioritize or define a perspective on which to develop. I think that the most appropriate direction for this is to pursue a criticism of research in design. That seems to be the central theme around which my writing in the past has been focused. It also seems to be a recurring idea for where I would like my career to progress. From here, questions such as “what exists in this realm” and “what strategies have been used to implement a research agenda” naturally follow. While this is not completely out of the blue, it has only recently begun to crystallize into an actual idea, the last pieces falling into place on the same day I began to write this post. …

About

Chris Woodward

Design Technologist at EvolveLAB, Podcaster/Writer at Empathic Futures Lab

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