In recasting our business, we have had the opportunity to open up a conversation about where we want to place our energy, how we want to spend our time and where we want to make an impact.
One of the things that came up quickly was our shared desire to create a platform for conversation. A conversation that exposes different approaches and views on how we interact with the built environment and offers commentary on issues of social justice, education, equity, art, culture and architecture. Our journal is the start of that conversation.
In each edition we want to invite contributors to help us unpack their experience or reflect on their work as it relates to a specific theme. Perhaps, because of recent experience and the journey of starting something new, we’ve decided to centre the first edition around the idea of the ‘pivot.’
Pivot is a word that has started to creep into commentary about all manner of things; an old word but with new significance. In the brash, confident world of Silicon Valley, it has come to refer to the need to adapt to failure and to shift the experience into new, more positive territory. In short, it is a word that turned failure into a rite of passage for the innovator and made it a strength rather than a weakness. It celebrates those that are not afraid, those that are open to change, are agile and resilient. It alludes to moving at pace, being willing to change direction but keeping up momentum. It rejects the idea of losing face.
Kieran and I have worked together for more than two decades now. In that time, I have come to appreciate that we spur each other on and make each other brave in the face of change. We have been bold in building our working life around our shared values. With the benefit of hindsight, the bigger changes have happened in roughly five year intervals - that was until last year when we picked up a bit of speed and made a radical shift from large practice to small after only 18 months.
For us, the increase in pace afforded us the chance to refocus our internal drivers and to see where we can make the biggest impact, how we can leverage maximum impact through our efforts. With the reinvention of our practice life, also came the opportunity to confront and define what it means to be an architect and where we think architecture will make an impact in another 20 years’ time.
As our careers have evolved, our appreciation of the breadth of skills of an architect has deepened. The impact of buildings on our environments cannot be understated but nor can the processes and decisions that have led to the point of building. Architecture is far bigger process then we originally thought. Consider, the capacity for collaboration with so many people who are not architects. The capacity to really listen to what they are saying about our past and our future. We embrace the idea of a problem becoming bigger before we can work toward an answer. We think of this as a unique skill that comes from design thinking.
We have had the great benefit of support from our profession, our staff, family and friends as we have travelled (and pivoted) through practice. Many have been on this journey with us for many years and we are deeply grateful and indebted to you all.
In this issue we were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and speed with which people agreed to be part of our next bold adventure. Either through their conscious decision making or for reasons outside of their control each contributor has in some way engaged in something of a pivot. We hope you enjoy the read!
Kieran Wong and Emma Williamson, Co-Founders, TheFulcrum.Agency
*A selection of articles from ‘Pivot’ can be found in the Points of View section of our website.