An architect is basically a holistic master builder, but due to the specializations the profession was increasingly cut up and resulted in cacophonic disharmony instead of the intended harmonic resonance.
The attention for a holistic (human) approach of the 3 fundamental architectural principles: Functional (UTILITAS) Technical (FIRMITAS) and Aesthetic (VENUSTAS) as the Roman architect/master builder Vitrivius already mentioned around 25 BC. have been overshadowed by using the Economy as the main guiding principle.
The world is changing very fast. This makes that many organizations should become far more resilient, adaptable and inventive than what is typical now. Their existing learn/work environments are solidified policy from the past. A more eco-system approach of the built, digital and social environment supports the transition to a new fit for purpose.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
(R. Buckminster Fuller)
You cannot influence just a part without also moving the whole. Each part is therefore potentially an entrance to initiate a change in the whole.
The best way to get the entire organization moving is to crowdsource the problem. Ask all of your people to hack the old model and give their ideas on how to change it, and then start running local low-risk experiments. It’s an immensely empowering thing when you say to every employee: “Here’s your chance to help design the learn/work environment in which you spend most of your day / most of your life.”
As business consultant architects for a learn/work environment, we give new substance to ‘the architect as master builder’ and we are inspired by the following:
Vision gives us the ability to live according to our imagination instead of our memory
Central to our actions is man as a creative, independent individual with all his diversity. From Real Estate to the Real State of Human Beings. In the organization of the future, people with their knowledge, experience, talent and passion are the most important capital. They determine for themselves how they can contribute most sustainably to the company’s objectives. Successful organizations are aware that they do not own (the knowledge of) people, and aim to gain access to the knowledge and ideas of the best talents, which can also be customers. Intangible assets (knowledge, creativity, innovation) versus tangible assets (buildings, operating assets).
Gemstones and precious metals merge into a jewel that is more than the sum of its parts
We chart new paths with innovative ideas and surprising approach. Paths that also invite others to excel. Successful innovation is about remixing and reapplying existing ideas to new contexts. By integrating our business and accommodation / real estate expertise, we support our clients to achieve their goals.
It's not just about a different mindset, but also about resuscitation of the heartset
Buildings play an important role in economic and social processes. We believe that buildings and their environment have a decisive influence on how people feel and behave, how businesses and institutions function and perform and how cities develop.
We are always looking for the balance between ratio / logic and emotion / experience, mind and heart, because it is this balance that contributes to the goal of the organization and the well-being of people. Successful organizations of the future not only create financial value, but multiple value such as sustainability, health, well-being, work / life balance, social contribution. They focus more on a meaningful goal (mission) than on being the best or the greatest. From Real Estate to the Real State of Human Beings. Change is possible.
Balance between mind and heart
A left-brain approach (only) emphasizes the quantitative aspects of housing. The hard rational and economic approach. (How does the accommodation perform?) While an approach from (only) the right hemisphere of the brain mainly emphasizes the qualitative and experience aspects of an accommodation. The soft psychological and social approach. (What does accommodation do to you?) The truth is not the middle but an own balance of a left and a right brain approach.
Passion is the energy of the heart. Passion is the fuel that gives you energy to achieve your dreams. Vision is the power of the head and is the roadmap to the manifestation of your dreams. Or as Nelson Mandela put it: “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
“Business spirituality is a model in which realism and idealism have a business interaction. Successful companies have both corporate expertise and corporate spirituality”. –Prof. Dr. Paul de Blot SJ
Spirituality in general, is the physics we haven’t understood yet. Bridging the gap between science and spirituality to form a new balanced unity is about bringing the two sides of the same coin back together. Self-actualization and workplace spirituality lead to a holistic work-life balance. Purpose of business is not only for profit but also pursued with highest levels of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Entrepreneurship is one of the most important energies in humanity to walk new paths. Entrepreneurship in which the relationship between masculine and feminine forces are in a good balance is crucial to society’s next release. Being entrepreneurial is above all making an innovative contribution.
Empowerment of people
The quality of education, research and facilities stands or falls with the quality of the employees and the way in which they cooperate with each other; the organization. You can have a lot of summary data, but that doesn’t really tell you what’s going on down on the ground. We’ve tended to take all the rich data we have and move it up rather than saying, how do we equip frontline teams with the data they need to self-manage?
New technologies can be used to re-enforce the existing but also to re-invent an organization. So that new ideas and funding decisions are distributed and are made by the tribe, rather than ideas fighting their way up through the management pyramid, only to have an executive say yes or no. Make employees bring their creativity to work.
Gary Hamel, faculty-member of the London Business School and cofounder of the Management Lab, calls this HUMANOCRACY: Creating Organizations As Amazing As The People Inside Them.
Ubuntu - humanity towards others
We are inspired by Ubuntu, an ethical/humanist philosophy from Africa, which is sometimes translated as “I am because we are.” If it’s not good for everyone, it’s no good at all. As humanity we are interconnected. We are open to and accessible to others because exchanging and sharing diversity brings prosperity to all. When making decisions, there must be consensus and a human ethics on the basis of which decisions are made. Connecting the dots of the new era of the purpose economy.
Learn/work environment as ecosystem
A blended learn/workplace ecosystem, based on classrooms, offices, homes and other locations including digital space, regionally relevant and internationally interesting. Our environment is an ecosystem consisting of 3 interconnected areas: Physical environment of real estate and facilities, Digital environment of ‘smart’ building plus online learning hubs in a digital classroom and the Social environment of usage, behaviour agreements, human connection and social bonding which are important for corporate culture and learning.
A workplace is no longer a single location, but an ecosystem of a variety of locations and experiences to support flexibility, functionality and employee well-being.
Our learn/work environments should provide inspiring destinations that strengthen cultural connection, enhance learning, encourage bonding among colleagues, students and customers, and foster creativity and innovation. Encourage students to discover and develop their own talents and to take control of this themselves.
A blended learn/work environment is an environment that makes it possible to meet each other, even without having to travel, collaborate and learn together, both physically and digitally. It is an environment where students and employees feel at home. Let’s give the emperor some (real) clothes.
“Architects are trained to take all kinds of different needs and requirements and design structures that will accommodate them all (lift human spirit, sensible efficient plan and economically feasible).”
John Portman, Architect/developer/investor.