Exploring an architecture of trust was something we recently had to do for an assignment in our professional practice class. Reading about this and applying other ethical values that I find the most important I also seem to come back to some kind of architecture built on the platform of a non-profit business plan with a goal to serve the community. Plan New Hampshire is a great example of an architecture of trust. The organization was a collaborative effort on the part of the several architects from New Hampshire’s AIA Chapter seeing the need to preserve the quality of life in their area. Through collaboration these individuals developed a service that gave back to communities, expanding on the preferred servant leadership style and further supported by the Four Building Blocks of an Architecture of Trust. This kind of service involves giving the community a voice, as well as disposing of the perceived architectural attitude of an all knowing omniscient designer that only manifests itself through education or some innate ability. Utilizing their knowledge these architects are equipped to act as orchestrators of a situation building trust and often mending the fragile fabric of funding communities.
I was inspired by the efforts of these individuals offering up their leadership abilities to help where people have lost their way. This seems to closely resemble to ideal architecture firm that has been painted in my head through the collaboration of many different sources. In my mind an architect or group of architects should be a pillar in their community. As a business plan, in my head, I think a firm should be a not for profit venture who invests in the projects they build. It has been brought to my attention that there are firms who waive their architectural fee in exchange for a half percent return on the project over the course of ten years. This kind of investment would be motivation to design in such a way as to insure a return on investment. This would essentially be like stock in the community, showing your interest and desire to be a part of the community, rather than acting as a sort of middle man out to fight for a piece of the pie. Competition in this sort of environment would be encouraged, and only help to strengthen the community. Functioning as leader’s different firms and architects would strengthen the community by each being able to utilize their strengths contributing to a community rather than simply trying to profit off it. While also allowing and encouraging the community to grow without a self-centered focus of turning the community into a designers pet project.
Orchestrating their knowledge as generalist’s architects have the power to bring order to chaos if they would just step up to the plate and take the initiative. The fear with this kind of action is that we put ourselves out there for public execution. Maybe this is what we are meant for. As students studying architecture we are often asked why did we choose architecture? The answers given will run the full gamut, but the underlying theme of them all is that we believe we can make a difference. To make a difference we must often make changes and work to bring people of polar opposites together on common ground. When have these sort of action ever been perceived as favorable? The title of architect is one that often come with great respect and mysticism, with a knack for leadership and ability to absorb criticism. Modeling our principals of business practices and ultimately life after the Four Building Blocks of Trust architects will be able to make the changes they wanted to see in a more prolific manor.