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If the identity of the architect can be said to be the equivalent to that of a factory worker, then the conditions in the architect's office and the factory itself can be said to be comparable.
And if architectural production is tied to an ideology, rather than a brand, it makes little sense to address the office as a design problem, only from the point of view of isolated physicality.
The office is not just the chairs or walls, it is an immaterial construct and hierarchy. It is the road, as understood by the Tarantinoan martial arts master directing us towards the true road to success.
If the office has become a factory, if the problems of the office are partly immaterial, if many of these problems rely on fixed perspectives, I want to literally and organisationally change this perspective. This I call the big switch.
What is the switch? The switch is a continuous change of roles within the office. No employee is allowed to be specialised. One day you're working on one thing, and the next on another. The purpose of this is to learn, skills, of course, but more importantly the case of the person next to you, what he or she does.
The switch, being a way of working, has, just like the road, no end. We switch identities within the office, in order to build a an awareness of shared perspectives.
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The large, hierarchical office is a hedgehog office. Here we experience work as a one-point perspective, where we draw and model our way towards the vision of the master architect. To some this vision brings comfort, in always knowing what to do when you arrive on Monday morning, to always have your place in the chain.
The small, flat office is an office for foxes. Here we can no longer speak of any points in perspective, in fact, everyone has their own point. We might find our freedom here, but that is ultimately an isolated freedom, one of an agglomeration of individuals, rather than a collective.
If the office is a question of views, of characters, then it is in bringing these together that we form a new office typology. Here we see the architecture office not as a brand, that is, as a name on your CV, but as an ideology. We are with people who want to do the same things as us. This I define as “the road.”
We all need to become better foxes ...
Work in the office isn't easy. It might seem easy from the intern working far below the principal architect, thinking: “I can do that!” But could he really?
The premise of this project is that I believe that he can, because I believe that just as much as in the schools, the purpose of offices is to foster talent, give opportunities, and pursue architecture from a shared point of view.
The Road is a shift between materiality and immateriality for the purpose of directing us to an alternative method of running an office (and to run through that same office).
Interviews with architects and designers at the principal practices of David Chipperfield, Grimshaw and Zaha Hadid Architects, in May 2015, as to how the role of the new architect is played out in the office.
The switch is a continuous change of roles within the office. No employee is allowed to be specialised. The purpose of this is to learn, skills, of course, but more importantly the case of the person next to you, what he or she does.
The architectural office as seen as an assembly line, through the filter of the Bata Shoe Factory in Zlín, Czechoslovakia, at the peak of its powers in the early 1930's.