Meetings and responsibility

In April I’ve been invited along to attend more external meetings and discussions for a couple projects I’ve been working on. I want to discuss the impact that being involved in these discussions has had on my practice mentality and what it has done for my professional development.

Firstly, being able to attend design team meetings has made the communicative side of architecture seem far less daunting. My attendance in these meetings have resulted my greater awareness of the current stage of a project and through being directly involved in the design discussions I have found myself more confident in my design decisions. I’m sure the directors are also aware that the greater level of responsibility has had an impact on me professionally and has resulted in an increase in my general confidence around the office as well. I’m pleased to have been given opportunities to represent Design Engine and it has been great for my morale early in my architectural career.

Secondly, I feel I can now appreciate, first-hand, the contributions made by all members of the design team. I feel that one of the greatest benefits of attending meetings as a part one is talking to people from other professions in the industry. By discussing projects with consultants in the design team I have been able to start making links from what I’ve learned from University and colleagues to real life situations. For example, from listening to the M&E consultants at one of the last design team meetings, I now can more competently understand how ventilation and heating strategies might work for a large residential building in the south of England. I’m hoping in the long term that attending more meetings like these can greatly increase my knowledge of a wide and varying range of architectural systems I can apply to future projects. I feel that experienced architects in the practice have collected most of there knowledge of these systems through talking directly with consultants.

Another thing that has been a beneficial experience is seeing the architect-consultant dynamic first hand. I can now compare this professional relationship with that between the architect and client which I have already experienced in my time in practice. Architects tend to employ different psychological and tactical approaches to discussions depending on the relationship to the people involved – this I have discussed in an early journal entry. My experiences have been no different and the formalities of discussion can vary widely depending a number of circumstances including the scale and nature of projects, the relationships between clients and consultants and the topic of discussion. My experience in being able to directly learn and study the architects role in a design discussion has particularly motivated me to want to be involved in more advanced communicative roles.

With my director away during the Easter break, I was put in the position to attend a number of small meetings with the project manager for a library scheme in Winchester. From attending previous meetings on this scheme and being involved in more of the correspondence on this project, I was more confident to negotiate the project through this period. Before Joining Design Engine, I would have said my greatest fear was dealing with the more practical and communicative management situations in practice. I think through being more involved with external parties from the start of a project that I have overcome a degree of the unsurety that I’ve had in these situations.

The meetings and responsibilities in practice has also made me more aware of the importance of practical education in Architecture. By being thrown into these situations in real life I have been able to grow in confidence and resolve. With the experiences I have gotten so far I am becoming more appreciative of Cardiff University’s system for architectural education and Design Engines management of younger recruits.


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