A short (700-900 word) memo, letter or electronic correspondence to the authority you answer to, making clear the work and operations of your architectural practice.
The product of the assignment will be a document (in a suitable media) from your future self to your practice’s board of directors, through which you will create a clear picture of your position within the profession.
The year is 2035. You are a professional practitioner in the field of architecture somewhere in the world, in a method and manner of your own concocting. You have created this position for yourself after 20 years in the profession.
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife [or husband]
And you may ask yourself – Well…How did I get here?1
Having determined the nature of your role in the profession, and the type of work that you engage in on a day-to-day basis, establish where in the world you are, and what specifically you are currently involved in, architecturally or otherwise. Once you’re clear on your immediate professional context, the assignment begins: you have been summoned back to headquarters by your directorate (or another authority to which you must answer: client, prime minister, community body) for an important meeting concerning your future – this is to take place tomorrow.
However, you are unable to return to the board meeting, for reasons well beyond your control.
You may have been put in jail, you may have to stay and re-design the entire hydraulic system of your current project to accommodate the clients’ new shipment of automated toilets from Mongolia, you may have got wind of an unmissable new project opportunity that you have to ride out into the desert to negotiate, you may have woken up in a Vegas hotel suite with Seth Rogen, a tiger and Mike Tyson, the price of Corian may have skyrocketed overnight, you may have decided to abandon the firm and work as a community activist in the favela your latest project was going to demolish, etc. The point is, something has happened to detain you.
Your task then is to construct a masterful piece of correspondence to your board of directors outlining exactly why you are unable to attend, why this delay or detainment has been a product of the work that you’ve been doing, and how your specific role in executing this work has been vital to the success of this particular project and the firm in general. This correspondence will also request that the board take into account some of the particulars of your architectural career, specific aspects of which you will necessarily outline in the document.
You will develop the profile of your practice and/or firm and continue to develop the details of the scenario. The basic intent of the assignment is for you to project forward to imagine the kind of
UTS: FACULTY OF DESIGN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING
11503- 2015 – Assignment 3
architect you’d like to become, the structure of the organisation within which you’ll work, that operation’s design practices and project outcomes, and any contingent risks associated with your future position. (These risks may have led to your detainment) The assignment will also communicate your projected role (explicit and implicit) within the organisation, as well as the practice’s place within the wider profession, both locally and globally.
Context – The place in which you find yourself, and the work that you are doing there, will be clear evocations of how you imagine yourself in the profession in 20 years. Be as detailed as possible, and as personal (in terms of addressing your own ambitions).
Condition – The situation in which you find yourself is, most likely, a direct result of the work you are doing, as well as the personal ambitions that you have brought to bear on your practice.
Correspondence – The letter that you compose explaining your absence will also convey the above; that is, you will communicate exactly what your position is, what you do, why you are delayed and, most importantly, why this episode is not necessarily a problem.
Written personal histories and autobiographical tell-alls, corporate apologias, reality television shows, recent memoirs of failed politicians, press releases and other correspondence and any other media in which one aims to explain oneself despite potentially awkward situations.
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