What Do You Value?

, Subject : Workshops

What Do You Value? ExhibitionRoots conceived and hosted a workshop with the First Year students at Strathclyde University School of Architecture.  Titled ‘What Do You Value?’ the afternoon long event was aimed at making students aware that an Architect’s work constantly involves making choices about what is most important to the design process, the Client or the practice.

Micheal commented ‘After the recent studio reviews, we were reminded of how difficult it can be to understand the design process in first year.  We realised that the design process is often about working out what is most important, and cannot be compromised, and what is less important and can subsequently be changed to improve the proposal.  For example, at the reviews there were some interesting discussions about what is more important when you are designing: having a building which is a cool shape, or having a front door which works?  It’s the same for us in business, is it more important to spend the day drawing up ideas or is it more important to spend time marketing the business?  So we thought we’d try and get them asking questions like these, based on our experience as students and practitioners’.

Roots Director’s Chris and Micheal started proceedings with a brief introduction into the practice and what they have learnt since leaving University.  Then, after introducing the workshop itself, the year split into groups of 4 -5 and Chris and Micheal handed out the ‘value’ prompts.  These were cards with various phrases on, ranging from ‘A Front Garden’ to ‘Chocolate’.

The students then left the University for the city centre where they approached various members of the public and using the prompts provided, posed the question; What do you Value?  The prompts could be related or unrelated to one another.  The Students were asked to record the responses by taking a photograph of the person interviewed holding the two prompts with the one held highest the one valued the most.  They were also encouraged to record 3 other likes and dislikes, which gave a further insight into what they value.  Once the Students had gathered a few responses each they were asked to return to the University and in a couple of hours turn the photographs and comments into a ‘pop-up’ exhibition in the School of Architecture gallery.

Chris added ‘As ever with these things, we had no idea how it would turn out, but the enthusaism of the Students was fantastic.  They put in a great deal of energy and effort and made the workshop and exhibition a success.  At the very least we hoped it would provide them with an exciting challenge and give them a break from the normal routine.  But it seems they really enjoyed the experience of speaking to members of the public, and not just seeing what the people valued but being part of the process that helped them decide.  The challenge of successfully organising an exhibition in only a couple of hours should also not be under-estimated.

However, one of the most pleasing things for us was that even though we had set-out a format for the workshop and exhibition, a number of students chose to challenge it, in a number of creative ways.  Rather than detracting from the event it made a huge contribution and we certainly hope that the Students take that spirit through the rest of their course.’

The outcomes of the workshop can be seen at the ‘What Do You Value?’ digital exhibition page on Flickr.

Roots will also be overseeing a student team that will edit the exhibition into an exciting publication that will document the whole event – keep an eye out in our news pages for further news.  In the meantime, to get more of an idea about the afternoon’s events please follow the link below to Roots’ Flickr page, where we have uploaded a number of photos of the workshop and exhibition.

Roots would like to thanks all those involved in the workshop; the Students, those interviewed and Kathy Li (Year 1 Studio Director).

If you are a member of a community or educational group and would like to talk to Roots about hosting a workshop then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you have any comments about this news item please contact us.

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