Henry Goss Architects


BD Blog No.3

A Social Process

I am extremely good at making a nuisance of myself.  It recently occurred to me that, having set up on my own over six months ago, the number of days which I have actually worked on my own can be counted on the fingers of one not so mouse weary hand.  This is partly due to the diverse pressures foisted upon the burgeoning sole practitioner; meetings galore, events, travel and the overly exuberant pursuit of multiple dead ends, consume much of my previously clearly defined and often programmed time.

Amidst all of this I frequently find my self back in previous places of employment, or indeed places in which I’ve never worked, simply to be around people, have a chat, discuss designs, bounce ideas around or just have a cup of tea.

I was under no illusion when establishing Henry Goss Architects that I was in any way an Aldous Huxley style ‘island universe’, indeed one of the principal doctrines of my approach is collaboration and ‘working together’. I wonder how much of this approach is in subconscious recognition of my personal requirement for constant company or weather I truly believe it is an ideologically sound way of proceeding. Perhaps the two are synonymous...

The protective cocoon provided by an established practice is something which I vowed never to relinquish having endured the emotionally harrowing torments of lone design at university.  Memory, however, is kind in its inaccurate rendering of hard times and the perverse human desire to seek adversity eventually won through.

I convince myself, as I charge around London having a lunch meeting here and afternoon tea there, that I am entirely legitimately forging great networks and maintaining contacts.  Weather this is quite so useful for those upon whom I impose myself is rather more questionable and perhaps not for me to judge.  I only occasional get physically struck when thrusting my laptop into the face of a busy project architect and demanding an opinion.

The bottom line is that I am discovering first hand the true significance of the old cliché ‘design is a social process’ and any attempt that I have made to refute this manifest truth through one man charretts has resulted in deeply undignified evenings of nail biting and binge eating.  This is not to say that all design has to be done in group sessions, in fact the moment of genesis is often a solitary experience.  It is however only in the presence of others that, even when working on a project alone, one is afforded the luxury of diverting a potentially crippling downward spiral of creative self-deprecation by simply asking, ‘what d’ya recon?’

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