13
May
09

Signing Off.

An old friend of mine attended West Point. When I asked him about weapons training, and what his favorite weapon was, he replied “a platoon”. Confused, I asked him what that meant. In the army, a platoon, a group of soldiers, is considered a single weapon. An officer points a platoon as he would a gun, and they act as one weapon attacking and executing orders unified and unflinching. This doesn’t mean that you have all been performing as machines, but that there is strength in mobilizing a group of like-minded individuals. Two people don’t do twice as much work as one, they do five times as much. There is safety and success in numbers. 

In 1906, Francis Galton, British scientist, went to a fair and saw locals trying to guess the weight of an ox to win a prize. When he examined the guesses, he found that in over 800 guesses, no one guessed correctly. But what surprised him was that the arithmetic mean of all the guesses came within one pound. The group was more accurate than any individual. This experiment has been repeated time and time again, proving that the group, the collective effort, the potential of many easily supersedes the work of the individual. 

Many lament the individual nature of architectural education, especially in a world that is increasingly collaborative and a profession that relies on constant interaction with consultants, clients, and contractors. But those who want to make more group work for students forget the informal education and extra-curricular time you all spend in a highly collaborative and social environment called studio, and, frankly, college. Your greatest potential is in the work you do outside of studio while talking to each other about architecture and process. The questions you ask each other and attempt to answer are a necessary complement to the formal education you receive. Those who want to make “time management” a priority and restrict studio work to studio class time underestimate the education you give yourselves in studio and as an architecture collective.

This blog is such an important part of that. This informal conversation, kept safe for posterity, is a unique advantage you have over those who merely attend classes and do homework. That is why this blog must continue with the incredible energy sustained this semester. It is a reflection of your drive to learn more, but also reciprocally the vehicle through which that drive continually expands. 

I will occasionally post to your blog as you progress through the years, but this is my last post as coordinator. As you can see, the blog is now called “2nd year blog” and Kai has already begun making plans for the Fall. Rest well this summer.

Signing off. 

Pablo

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