DEC // Happy Holidays


Bi-weekly my butt! And just like that it’s the holidays. So here’s a December update – thoughts, things I’ve read, and finally…not a test! But Happy Holidays from CAT! Hopefully a test 008 very soon, over the holidays.

A couple weeks ago, a good friend of mine wrote up an interesting article on the current state of architecture schools. I know…these articles are all over the internet. What Nicolas collects are a great number of thoughts from prominent educators in the leading architecture schools of America. The focus of the article is in the revitalization of the PoMo movement in student work, and the question of whether that’s a bad thing or not. At the end of the day, I am not for or against any style in particular, so my opinion could be rather moot. I did however enjoy this quote by Michael Young –

Young, however, still offered a little opposition: “We have to understand one of our strongest political positions is within aesthetics. It is what we do. We alter the background of what people assume to be the way the world looks.”

I don’t know that I would agree that architects are moving more towards just making ‘images’ now, because I’m strongly of the opinion that useful and beautifully designed built physical space is what brings value to an architect. The ‘image’ that we add on top is icing on top of an already deeply multi-coloured cake.

If it hasn’t been evident already, I am really very keen to get into the whole smart city world of Sidewalk Labs. As an architect, I’m not particularly useful to them just yet, as they already have a lineup of architectural consultants (re. heavy timber design..etc.). But since I am very interested in the idea of a virtual (AR) overlay on a city, I would love to get into the R&D or innovation side of things, to see if my idea could be of any use in a smart city. In any case, this article really pinpoints the fact that technology is a driver for design. Maybe many traditionalists would argue that technology is just a tool, but the reality is that if you don’t use the tools properly and effectively, they will eventually move past you and become the drivers.

“If our built spaces can be designed with an awareness of how to design with technological elements, the relevance of architecture will begin to shift. “

So taking a very different turn, I’ve been reading a lot of ‘how this’, ‘how that’ articles that have to do with living a better life, being more productive, yada yada. There was a phase where I was reading a lot of them to help justify the things I decided to do or accomplish, but I have since gotten over it. I find my time is better placed elsewhere, whether it’s winding down with some doodling, taking a break and actually enjoying some video games, or in other more fruitful readings. In any case, one of the latest articles I came across on medium was this. Persuasion is a very useful skill. Not just to get what you want or purely for your own self-interest, but also to help others figure out what it is that they want and thereby making them better decision makers. This doesn’t come without some underlying tactics to be a more effective negotiator though, and so I think out of many of the writings I’ve read about the topic, this one summarizes the tactics pretty concisely:

To persuade someone, we need to prove we are worth listening to.
Some ways to do this:

Tell stories about yourself.Good stories require empathy, and empathy leads the reader to trust the storyteller (you).

Present your credentials. Show you are qualified, but do not brag.

Show your connections with others.Mention your relations with someone who is trustworthy, and you suddenly appear trustworthy too.

Similar to the previous ‘self-help’ type of reading, I found this short article on how to get things done. The solution is easy – ask how a lazy person would do it. Given that you ask a very smart lazy person, I think this is an excellent idea, and it makes a lot of sense. Don’t get me wrong, I love effort. I tend to evaluate or judge people based on effort. But if they can show they can complete or approach something with the fastest solution possible without sacrificing quality, then I’m all for it.


Well that’s it from me. If I don’t see you before, then HAPPY NEW YEAR world!



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