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Getting ahead of the game

How can an architecture studio grow and carry its members to victory? What does it take to set us apart in the design world?

In today’s competitive world, it takes more than good grades and effort to stand out from the mass. This new generation keeps growing and finding your dream job is not the same that it was ten or twenty years ago. For every position available there are hundreds, if not thousands of people applying for that position and getting the opportunity that you want can be a nightmare. With today’s technological advancements and the effortlessness of traveling, there is a lot more competitiveness. So what does it take to stand out? What have other architects done to get a different perspective and gain insights on how to be one step ahead of the game?

One example of an Architect that made the initiative to learn from different cultures and get a new perspective in the architectural world is Steven Ehrlich; founding partner of Los Angeles–based Ehrlich Architects. Right out of college, Ehrlich spent several years traveling, teaching and learning the different vernacular of architecture in the northern and western parts of Africa. According to an article from the Journal Architect, Ehrlich calls for an open-minded perspective to understanding the particular culture, climate, and environment associated with each project. “The person and the place is very much an equal collaborator in the design process,” says Ehrlich. “We want that dialogue, that flow”. Something which is very much seen in the signature of Ehrlich Architects; a multicultural modernism style of architecture encompassed in the roots of his formative experiences.

Will Alsop, a British architect and professor, stated that in order to take international markets seriously, you have to get immersed in their culture, that means experiencing the day to day routines of the locals and taking the time to absorb the culture. While that is a toll task for many architectural firms, as it is costly, they lean towards hiring international talents that already have these experiences. That way, they don’t need to take their team abroad and pay for something that essentially is unaffordable. Let’s take a look at Patrick Loughlin, one of the founders of Build Abroad; a global operation to provide ecologically sensitive and culturally appropriate design assistance to communities in need. He states that one of the benefits of working, or in this case, volunteering, gives the opportunity to experience a new culture and make a lasting impact on the recipients of the designs.

Architect-US has the same goal in mind, which is the promotion of a global architectural community and the fostering of international careers. Allowing young professionals, in their peak of their brain’s power to grow, and giving them the opportunity and the platform to absorb as much as they can from different cultures and experiences will make a significant impact on the development and progression of society. When their knowledge and information is shared, companies will have a more experienced and diverse staff, and be able to tackle projects on an international scale. Foreign architects can also provide foreign insights to materials and different construction methods to the locals that can develop and grow sustainable design; something which many high-profile firms are doing and can afford to do. Therefore, we have to put our efforts in encouraging communication and exchange of information so that we can grow as a whole and be part of the solution to the many problems that we now face as a society. What actions are you taking to be part of this change?

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