Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Leadership through Design and How Influential Architecture Is

By Kayla Fuller

An analysis of a project in California by the firm Freedman Tung & Bottomley by Kayla Fuller
                As a profession, architecture requires their client’s trust through the process of design to construction. Trust is not easily achieve, you must first develop an understanding of your client and the project they are providing you and then you must develop a relationship in which you earn their trust. San Francisco urban design firm Freedman Tung & Bottomley, provide examples of how different approaches are incorporated into their practice. FTB’s main objective was to “create a sense of community in a California landscape divided by strip developments and freeways.” This paper will address the different approaches they practice and how they influence the overall design.
                Understanding what leadership characteristics and examples is important to analyze the success of FTB. Richard Swett describes a number of examples of Leadership by Design that are recognizable traits of Freedman Tung & Bottomley, the most recognizable characteristic of the firm is their commitment to the growth of the people. The object of this case study was to create a sense of community in a California landscape that has been overtaken by freeways and strip developments, an issue that is not only present in this case but is a growing problem in most historic towns.
                Building trust takes time, first impressions are also influential for developing a trusting relationship but you really need to get take the time to develop the relationship for a successful project. FTB significantly involved the participation from the community and elected officials, it is a requirement in California communities to involve the community in any major changes. They employ a market oriented practice where they use capital improvements and knowledge of history and practice to sharpen policy tools. They take time to truly understand a city and their needs, employing empathy and receptive listening providing the community the opportunity to work together.
                Building awareness of the project to the community is important to educate the public. Workshops and design charrettes were held to allow community members to develop a vision coordinated with the project and allow members to voice their opinions. These workshops allowed ordinary citizens advice on planning matters and assisting them with decisions before development proceeds. The combined involvement of the community, officials and designers can be chaotic but the firm created order through the chaotic opinions of all those involved with their sessions.
                Freedman Tung & Bottomley were extremely successful with their tactics incorporating numerous fundamental leadership skills while also incorporating the four building blocks for building trust. They motivated the community to become involved and through joint study sessions, they solved lingering questions before public hearings. Involving the community and stakeholders are extremely beneficial for positive design. We strive to create spaces that affect those who utilized them but how can we develop those spaces when vital choices are not considered. FTB took the time to consider all the options and opinions of the communities with whom they work and will continue to improve communities through their objectives that they withhold.

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