Making It real
My story in attempting to bring a new housing type that improves affordability, livability & community resilience
Challenge 5 – The trials and tribulations when trying to innovate – The roller coaster of design crowdsourcing. Is it worth it? (Article 11)
(Please note that this article is one in a series and it may make references to previous articles)
To know all is to rid the world of mystery and what is a world where magic no longer exists. Mystery is where I placed my hope to soften the disappointment I was feeling from my early Archbazar submissions (Refer to the last article). The designers are free to submit their designs any time before the deadline and as the more came in, the less inspired I became. The first one was interesting, the next one outrageous, and the remainder made me wonder whether someone was taking the mickey or whether they thought middle-aged white male in Australia were overweight and loved palm trees. Refer to the 70’s Miami hotel-inspired image below.
As the somewhat uninspired designs were submitted well before the deadline, I still harboured hope that I would still receive something of value. This hope quickly dissipated as the deadline increasingly became nearer. I was contemplating the reality that this might be a disaster and I was going to have to return to the original uninspiring design. Then I received a late request to extend the deadline from a detailed questioning designer. Considering the submissions, I had received to date looked as though high school students designed them, I had no other choice to extend the deadline. To their credit, the website agreed without too much fuss and then I waited another ten days to contemplate what my plan B would be if the later submissions were no better than those previously submitted. After having my head in my hands, I quickly raised my arms in celebration after receiving the final submission on the last day!
Even though I received some exciting designs, (Refer to the tree house above), only one of the designers considered the orientation of the sun. I still find this incredibly surprising that this is still not the primary question designers ask first. It was therefore not surprising that the person who would eventually win was the only designer from the southern hemisphere, South Africa. Not only did he design to suit solar conditions, but he was the only person who addressed the design challenge. He came up with a creative approach to redesigning the front stairwell, which not only functioned better, but it created a much more interesting external form. I instantly fell in love with this design solution and finally felt validated for that leap of faith to explore and invest in an alternative design platform. Unfortaulety, this emotion was not shared by my Architect.
Many architects are known as having a somewhat sensitive and protective reputation when it comes to their design style. Some treat their design output as an extension of themselves and purposefully leverage this as their unique brand and IP. Afraid of not being distinguishable from other designs, some may work in isolation or possibly restrict others from influencing their design. Yet in a world hungry for design thinking to solve current issues, there is a need to collaborate & share knowledge. It is almost archaic for designers only to participate where they are the sole player. The rules of creativity as a commodity are evolving, and opensource platforms such as archabazar are redefining the value of design, but more importantly, how we act as participants. In my case, my architect provided me with an ultimatum; if I pursued the design outcome which I fell in love with, he was no longer willing to contribute. So, that began my search for another design consultant.
Not wanting to be faced with the prospect of professional sensitives, I sourced out a building designer who would take me through to tender drawings. I hooked up with Mesh design which has been fantastic. What was quite surprising is just how many errors and rework was required to amend the work by the previously registered architect. The lessons were building up. Nonetheless, I thought I now had a clear path, and building commencement was just around the corner. The year was 2016. It wasn’t long before I would hit yet another roadblock and I would yet again face the need to remove another consultant, but this time it was the building surveyor. However, this removal not only highlighted the variability in consultancy services one can experience, but it also uncovered a broader issue. The challenge was only going to get tougher as I was soon to become aware that I would have to convince the planning authorities of a different approach and challenge the building code itself.
Over 25 years experience in both the private and public sectors o f property
A lover of technology and design that is practical, beautiful and improves the way we live not as a individuals but as a thriving community.