Stitching Together

by Adam Hogan

Irena Bauman wrote a fascinating book that I have been dipping into recently – How to be a Happy Architect (Bauman 2008). Essentially, Bauman’s road to happiness is in using our skills to stitch together disconnections caused by the conflicting choices made in our increasingly complex world.

For me, personally, the critical disconnections are those that cause …

  • Loneliness
  • Inequality
  • Housing stress
  • Underemployment, and the biggest of them all
  • Climate change

An architect’s core skills are to strategically analyse and solve complex problems, over a variety of scales, and then to communicate the creative process and solution. By using these skills, and acquiring others not taught in architecture school, we can start to stitch together the disconnections that cause some of society’s greatest problems.

Images of Edmiston Jones’ co-design workshops working with local communities.

The most effective strategy for architects to deal with potential disconnections is to get to know the communities they are working in, and then to contribute as much as possible to their projects. This process is difficult to achieve when architects and their clients work at a great distance to each other or the site. Bauman suggests the most profound contribution to mending such disconnections that architects can make is to commit to working locally.

For local developers, the benefits are a greater appreciation of their role contributing to the growth of the economy and the value in long-term relationships that minimise barriers while maximising efficiency in the design process. For public bodies, such as Local Government, this means improving the lives of residents through better understanding of their needs and the careful allocation of their rates. For private clients, our expertise and deep interest as locals will really get a conversation moving and address the project’s priorities.

EJ has strategically positioned our offices in the heart of the Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven and the Illawarra. As importantly, our teams’ homes are located along the length of the South Coast and up in the Southern Highlands. It is opportune that our personal preferences align with a competitive advantage, as being local is the most effective way to stitch together the disconnections in our communities.


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