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Reading 5 "Design in a World of Flows" by Thomas R. Fisher

KEYWORDS:

flow, evolution

In this powerful piece, Fisher seems to be addressing a sort of state of the profession address about architecture's past, present, and future and its current state of evolution. Along with virtually every other profession, he claims, architectural practice is being forced to evolve with our changing world. As our socioeconomic world is becoming more and more like the natural world, architecture must adapt to the evolving, uncertain, experimental world in which we now live. The world is no longer mechanistic, but one of flows which knows no boundaries. Conventions are being overturned with every passing day. Today's technology revolution is compared by Fisher as being similar to the Industrial Revolution. That's one radically changing world we're living in! Those who adapt to this changing world will be rewarded, but those who don't will eventually fail under the weight of progression. In such an uncharted territory as our changing world is, architects must engage in a primitive sort of survival-of-the-fittest battle with other professionals, such as enginners, planners, and contractors, who are trying to "invade" on their territory. But Fisher points out that this new era won't be detrimental for the future of design, but rather supportive of a broader application of design thinking. "In a world with little respect for traditional structures, almost everything--from the operation of a company to the organization of a community to the order of our physical environment--can be approached as a design problem," writes Fisher. The health of design's future depends, though, warns Fisher, upon the ability of designers to "become counselors to clients" and become more expansive in the teams put together to solve clients problems by working collaboratively with other professions.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1) How has architecture responded recently to the new society of flow that Fisher speaks of?

2) Fisher discusses the importance of designers' collaboration with other professions. Which professions do or should architects collaborate with? How does such collaboration contribute to better design?