Creative collaboration always positive always dynamic but can we be doing more sooner
Despite a very grey and extremely wet December evening it was standing room only when our Edinburgh office opened its doors to Scotland’s young and emerging architects to explore the topic of Creative Collaboration.
Hosted by our Young Engineer’s Forum, the aim of the event was to explore the shaping of a better connected network of our young professionals and what role this could play in shaping the future of the built environment in Scotland.
From Watt to Mackintosh, Scotland has an outstanding heritage of engineering and architecture and therefore Edinburgh was the perfect venue to kick-start these exciting discussions.
To sustain and build upon this rich legacy it’s important that we define the legacy of our own generation as we, the young and emerging architects and engineers, start to lead the direction of the industry. Initiatives such as the Scottish Scenic Routes are pivotal to this and hugely important on a number of levels, not least through providing a mechanism to harness the best of the country’s new and emerging talent. Competitions like this demonstrate the commitment of Scotland to championing excellence in place making, architecture, design and planning. Yet what hasn’t been explored is how we can best achieve an ecosystem in which our young and talented individuals can become better connected and in return create a space where their ingenuity and bravery can flourish through stronger collaborations.
Following introductions from our CEO Roger Nickells and Simon Wainwright, Managing Director of our Northern Europe Region, our invited speakers took to the floor. Our esteemed panel comprised; Ian Gilzean (Chief of Architecture, Scottish Government), Andrea Faed (Partner, Faed Browne Architects), Sam Cassels (Strategic Design Advisor, Scottish Futures Trust), Neil Baxter (Secretary and Treasurer, RIAS) and Peter Wilson (Timber Design Initiatives). They were joined by myself, speaking in my capacity as regional chair of BuroHappold’s Young Engineers Forum.
Each of us gave an insight into our own experiences of collaboration, and everyone brought their own perspective on what we could all be doing to inspire change towards the legacy we wish to create. This gave us a fascinating insight into our broader theme of creative collaboration – themes covered in the presentations included; the current perceived stumbling blocks to true collaboration, the role of architects and engineers as socially engaged, useful and inspiring, both as individuals and practices, exploration of the significant importance of place in fostering collaboration as well as connectivity and how we should and can think globally, learning from existing relationships with Scandinavia. I discussed our own BuroHappold communities, what has made them successful and what they can bring to this new community as well as the role of the various stakeholders and individuals present within this.
These sessions provoked lots of discussion, meaning that the panel Q&A session that followed, ably chaired by Simon Wainwright, had plenty of healthy challenge and debate and the discussions carried on into the night, always a good sign!
Through bringing these key decision makers together with those most agile in their ability to respond, our young and emerging talent, the event facilitated open and honest debate about the future of architecture and engineering in Scotland and together we uncovered a real appetite to explore this further.
So where to go from here? This event has already sparked new relationships and conversations between our Young Engineers and Scotland’s young and emerging architects; this will form the cornerstone for us to build upon and explore further the endless opportunities a young architecture and engineering community in Scotland can bring and what, together with the interface and support of Scotland’s key decision makers, we can achieve.