Monday, February 6, 2017

THE PROBLEMS OF DIGITAL KNOWING, EXPERIENCE & UNDERSTANDING


The E-mail arrived from cpdevents@agdf.org.au, (see below), a familiar source that has been written about previously: see http://voussoirs.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/architects-education-cpd-learnings-from.html and http://voussoirs.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/the-problems-of-gaining-knowledge.html Yet again the same format and somewhat unusually naive language of the promotional material has been used. What is the problem? Just reading the E-mail text tends to leave one stressed, concerned with the state of affairs in architecture and education. Why does the profession not react? Is no one aware? Does no one care?




This piece does not intend to pass judgement on the promoted talk by Paul Warroll, to denigrate it, or to comment on its material, quality and substance in any way. The text makes observations on the ideas behind the talks that identify their raison d’etre – their pattern and purpose. All assessments have been made on past experiences. The overview has been used to look broadly at the ideas involved in order to try to understand the impacts that these strategies might be having on architecture, its role, and how it is perceived in the world today.



The intention of these sessions – this is a one-hour talk – is, apparently, to offer a forum to promote matters that the AGDF is interested in, as well as providing an opportunity for architects to accumulate some CPD (Continuing Professional Development) points - (see E-mail address: ‘cpdevents’). Queensland has a compulsory scheme for the continuing education of architects, managed, some might say 'policed,' by the BOAQ – the Board of Architects Queensland.



- so these will not be reiterated here. The worry is not only that the profession seems happy to be dealt with in this manner, but that it also seems unconcerned about what appears to be pretentious hype and its faux earnestness.


This E-mail tells the architectural profession that in a one-hour, lunch-time session, participants shall – note the certainty of 'shall' -
  • Obtain new knowledge and be able to understand
  • Share architectural experience and knowledge of
  • Contribute to a better understanding (improved) skills of
  • Obtain new knowledge in relation to
  • Improved skills through a better understanding of
A whole one-year course might struggle to do this; some say a lifetime is insufficient.



Now it is not only the language that is upsetting – 'new knowledge,' 'improved skills' and the like, as if novices are being spoken to - but it is also the fact that this fragmented enlightenment, defined here in five parts, has a maximum of twelve minutes per item to be implemented, so that personal competency, the 'Competency Unit,' can be bettered, ‘shall’ be improved, as a matter of course. In case one was unsure, the E-mail defines this unit as 'DESIGN.' What the promotional material does not do is to itemise the number of points one might accrue for a CPD attendance, and doing whatever is required to formally claim these points – if anything. Unfortunately, one is not given the opportunity to assess the point value on offer against the inconvenience/effort to attend. Might a session so full of promise be worth a tempting three formal points? Why not?




The real worry is that learning, experience and understanding can be treated in this digitised, off-handed manner – broken up into different portions so as to be separately measured and listed as particular gains in each of these itemised aspects of what is said to be ‘design’: should it be ‘architecture’? One might hypothesise that this perceived fragmentation is causing current problems in architectural output, that, at its simplest can be said to be the schism between theory, form and function. The profession appears to have no concerns at all with this circumstance where bits and pieces can seemingly be gathered together, analysed, and given some apparent credence and relevance as formal CPD points, all within the one hour, irrespective of the problems of divergence in this approach for design. Design is more an integration of aspects of being and knowing, feeling and understanding, than a blatantly self-conscious piecing together of selected portions of ‘new’ things: whatever. Surprisingly, the AIA (Australian Institute of Architects, not American) seems content to fully co-operate with the BOAQ in all of these matters without even a squeak of protest, let alone any scream.




This digitised design concept needs to be questioned, challenged, along with the hyped-up approach to what is likely to be an informal session where an individual's work experience is chatted about as a case study, in the one-hour time-frame. Transforming such events into what is presented almost as a life-changing scenario seems to misrepresent what might be happening. It also places a gloss onto a CPD event that is possibly little more than a 'green' overview that promotes not only 'green' matters, but also the AGDF itself. The Forum is always seeking recognition - acknowledgement of its authority; and more members.




The BOAQ's demands for CPD points to be accumulated and formally recorded has allowed a false importance to be given to events that used to be seen as a simple, informal sharing of architectural experience and know-how. That the profession seems happy to play along with this ballyhoo, this shallow silliness, says more about it than the events themselves. Has the world been so fragmented with things digital that no one looks at wholes any more, to perhaps see the paucity in the publicity and the frivolity of its implications? One can predict that without this realisation, this probing doubt, design itself will very likely suffer, if only from a lack of critical review. Design is more than the factual accumulation of rudimentary pieces of rational understanding to give a result: rather it is the experience of sensing understanding, discovery and revelation; the involvement in the situation as a whole to achieve the subtle integration of all of its pieces and parts that gives rich and meaningful outcomes resonating with a completeness and propriety.



The sad irony is that promotions like these seem to negate everything that good design, and good communication, is about, and no one appears to know or care, even with the supposed benefits of the promised 'new knowledge' and 'better understanding' of everything that can be thought of as being nearly relevant to the subject being scheduled so as to make the E-mail appear as important and comprehensive as possible. One can almost envisage the latent sales pitch declared in phantom bold, red lettering: SPECIAL – NEW KNOWLEDGE ETC., ETC., ALL WITHIN ONE HOUR: FREE, COMPLETE WITH CPD BONUS POINTS!




Have architects really stooped, succumbed to such silly sales blurb? Is knowledge, understanding, really so cheap; gained so fast; so easily - effortlessly over lunch? Little wonder that the world is treating the profession almost as an irrelevance: see - http://voussoirs.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/theory-thinking-architecture-today.html Perhaps this careless attitude, almost contemptuous of the profession, can be best revealed in the way in which the words ‘architecture’ and ‘architect’ are currently used in our everyday language: see - http://voussoirs.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/the-architecture-of-architecture.html



THE PROMOTION

Australian Green Development Forum
Green Speed Learning Forum - CPD Events
cpdevents@agdf.org.au


RESERVE YOUR SEAT
GSLF - CPD Event
When: 8 February (Wed) 2017 from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Where: Theatrette Room - Brisbane Square Library. 266 George St. Brisbane CBD, QLD 4000


Renew and Redesign (Case Studies)
Paul Warroll - Architect/Director (RedDog Architects)
Overview:
As office buildings age their suitability for re-use becomes increasingly more complex and challenging. With changes to technology, work environments, lifestyle and business structures, building spaces are having to become more versatile. Renewing old buildings and doing this in a sustainable manner is part of the challenge. Issues around retrofitting, recycling and redesigning all need to be addressed.

Learning Outcome:
Participants shall:
  • Obtain new knowledge and be able to understand: The importance of retrofitting and recycling existing buildings for new purposes and keeping in mind the need to create spaces that are healthy and sustainable for the end users and future users.
  • Share architectural experience and knowledge of: Approaches and strategies for renewing existing buildings for new uses.
  • Contribute to a better understanding (improved) skills of: Investigation of existing buildings; Recycling of buildings and building materials; Incorporation of sustainable principles
  • Obtain new knowledge in relation to: Renewing old buildings and the importance of sustainable practices
  • Improved skills through a better understanding of: Recycling, renewing, sustainability, retrofitting


Presentation and Interactive Workshop
Presenter: Paul Warroll (Architect/Director of RedDog Architects)
Academic Qualifications: Bachelor of Design Studies - University of Queensland; Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) - University of Queensland; Distinction - Business and Practice of Architecture - AIA
Technical: Registered Architect - Queensland and NSW; Associate Member of Australian Institute of Architects; AIA Qld Chapter Councillor; AIA Qld Chapter Sustainability Chairman
Practical Expertise: 1991-1993 Saillard Fuller & Partners (ENGLAND); 1991-1992 Abikhram Architects (INDIA); 1992-1993 Fulton Gilmour Trotter Moss Architects; 1993 Wilson Architects; 1993-1996 Anderson Street Architects; 1996 - 2001 Daniels Crone Architects; 2001- Present Reddog Architects

Please CLICK HERE to register your seat now!
Please CLICK HERE to download your worksheet for the February 8, 2017 event.

Competency Unit: DESIGN

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