Let’s stop the hustle for individual goals

Loneliness. Questions constantly bumping. Confusion. Why am I doing this? I would like to give up.

It is scary to think how many of us suffer with thoughts like this throughout our academic and professional career. Covid-19 has increasingly installed this anxious, lonely feeling inside us that wants to get out but it keeps moving deeper and deeper. There is a way out though.

Architectural schools are forming a community. A community of students and professionals who are willing to make a strongly connected network of architects fighting for our current global, local issues. In the aim of resolving them together. It is questionable how such goals can be achieved when we are constantly encouraged to develop ourselves through individual projects.

We almost do not know what it is like to work on a project together. We think differently. We approach design differently. The school pushes us to become individual thinkers, to develop our own processes. How are we expected to know how to manage a work collaboratively if we are not given a chance to develop together?

Throughout the two years of my study, the school provided small occasions for collaborative work. However, out of all of these, we were only marked once together. I believe many people lose the motivation when the work is not marked – which is a shame in itself that the system is built up to encourage a grade-based motivation. Therefore, there is a smaller effort is put into the work. Almost like people lose all their experiences when they have to do it together.

It is a challenging problem for sure. How can be the grading system still be fair to all individuals if more collaborative work is introduced? How can one learn how to work together if there is a lack of opportunity? I believe the problem is with the grading system. Everything seems to be based on it that defines the motivation of students and the progression with the degree.

When starting the project, one first introduced to the way being marked before even knowing what the brief is going to be about. There is a need for marking based on experiences. There is a need for all to develop a willing to explore different ways of practicing design without relying on the outcome.

The school needs to encourage and communicate the need for failure. But that is only possible if one is not disadvantaged when a mistake occurs. How can one explore, be brave to try new ways of thinking if there will be less opportunity afterwards to get help? How can one feel encouraged?

In most cases, that is when one feels lost and uncertain about whether it is the right path. The school communicates being late with work that is very much discouraging and causing a stressful environment. As much as there is a need for deadlines to set a point when the design said to be final – even if that is never the case – there is a need for flexibility in achieving a piece. There is a need for exploration.

How else can a collaborative group of architects be set for practice with a willing to improve and solve our current global and local issues if there is no space given to develop this attitude towards their profession? There is a need for a change. A change towards an accepting system on failure.

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