Teambuilding in Architecture

Group projects

Matthias and me joined university at the same time. We knew each other for five years before we started our thesis in Studio Zaha Hadid. We experienced each other’s working style and methodology on many opportunities like lectures, academic and professional projects. In Studio Hadid Vienna you could choose to work on your thesis in a group of two, so we started to think about that possibility probably two years before. We spent several months discussing about the benefits and disadvantages and finally decided, that if we can find a topic that we both were passionate about, the smarter option would be, to do it as a group. Not just the financial budget would increase but also the amount of work that can be produced. In addition one has to take in consideration, that during your diploma you will have to make many choices very quick and doing them alone could get you stuck at a certain point. However, I will recommend only to work in groups, if you have already worked flawlessly before with this person. If not, it is like lottery, you have a 50/50 chance to have a good team match.

A good idea is a good start, however, execution is everything! Be sure your teammate pushes forward.

Criticism and Discussion

Working in teams becomes challenging when you start to discuss the project and have to deal with criticism. It is important to keep a consistent high level of respect to move forward. Design requires judgment calls that reflect personal tastes. A frequently heard saying sums it up: ‘Put three architects in a room, and you’ll get five opinions’. Because architecture and design is a very subjective topic it sometimes can be difficult to stay on a professional level without sliding into an emotional one. In addition, talking to professors and assistants can be discouraging at some points, as some of them are not able to give constructive criticism. Therefore it is very important to identify the two most valuable members of the discussion, and follow their leads. Listen to everybody but follow these two key personas. Sync within your group to make sure you are on the same page and chose the same mentor. Especially when it breaks down to time, this strategy is invaluable, as at the final weeks you will need to use your time wisely.