Cultivating Collaboration: lessons from cohousing studios


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How can we achieve excellence in design collaborations? Cultivating social trust, organizing logistical aspects, supporting information flow are essential to any community effort. The need for ownership makes artistic collaborations different from others. The pitfalls of ego competition can be avoided by appropriate team size, task organization and fallback options. To negotiate design priorities, team members must use critical thinking. This presentation illustrates techniques for team-building with examples from my University of Oregon design studios focused on intentional communities. While the examples come from architectural design, the lessons are applicable to many types of collaboration that involve shared information about complex problems.

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  • Projects for real people: Client needs are a springboard for the imagination, constraints of site and program act as a guide. Here, student Brendan Soens introduces housing designs at a Portland Village Building Convergence workshop
  • In fact, design is typically not an individual task and we should not teach it that way. Reviews of studio teaching in recent years have emphasized the need to teach in collaborative contexts. Practice is collaborative, so should our learning be. We need to remember too that simply putting people in teams is not collaboration. Likewise, critiques of juries have pointed out that we overwhelm the process by the emphasis on the products. At the end of a studio project, the student remembers only the battering they received in the review of the product, not the journey of getting there and the lessons learned. We need to introduce deliberation and build it in to our teaching This mode of design teaching is then a collaborative learning experience one that brings students to understand how to explore and learn together in design without the ego dominating. It also allows us to adapt to the bandwidth and accommodate any transmission capacity.
  • Cultivating Collaboration: lessons from cohousing studios

    1. 1. Cultivating Collaboration: lessons from cohousing design studios <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Setting the stage </li></ul><ul><li>Orchestrating Group Process </li></ul><ul><li>Communication Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions & Next Steps </li></ul>“ Home & Community” collograph by Ruth Cohen Nancy Yen-wen Cheng, University of Oregon
    2. 2. Introduction Rekindling community Designers lead problem-solvers Studio Context & Description
    3. 3. Rekindling community: a shared responsibility <ul><li>Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam: face-to-face rituals disappearing </li></ul><ul><li>Transient society: >40 million Americans move every year, ~10 million move between states </li></ul>
    4. 4. Value of Design : Solving complex problems <ul><li>Integrated Practices: Collaborative process: Shared risk & rewards </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Transformation needed for a change in thinking and processes — The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker </li></ul>Image courtesy of Green Building Services
    5. 5. Virtual Design Studios <ul><li>How can virtual communities enrich and extend relationships? </li></ul>
    6. 6. Virtual Design Studios <ul><li>Sharing design approaches, technical solutions and cultural contexts. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Ecological Agenda <ul><li>Story & Icon </li></ul>Melting globe from
    8. 8. Ecological Agenda Melting globe from
    9. 9. Studio Background <ul><li>from Scandinavian model of cooperative living </li></ul>
    10. 10. What is Cohousing? <ul><li>Participatory process </li></ul><ul><li>Intentional neighborhood design </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive common facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Complete resident management </li></ul><ul><li>Non-hierarchical structure </li></ul><ul><li>Separate incomes </li></ul><ul><li>-- McCamant & Durrett </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>individual units common space common house activities
    11. 11. Where are Cohousing Communities? 2008 survey by Betsy Morris, Ph.D., Coho/U.S.
    12. 12. Chronology
    13. 13. Design Phases <ul><li>Four major deadlines </li></ul>1 Research Case Study 2 Research Case Study 3 Site Design / Sustainable scope 4 Site Design / Sustainable scope 5 Building Design 6 Building Design 7 Building Design 8 Re-integration 9 Re-Integration 10 Presentation
    14. 14. Case Studies focus on an aspect of community
    15. 15. Case Study : danish cohousing organization
    16. 16. Setting the stage Connecting to a larger community Using local resources
    17. 17. Learn from local communties: Maitreya Ecovillage, Eugene, OR
    18. 18. Creative building experiments: Maitreya Ecovillage, Eugene, OR
    19. 19. Lost Valley Educational Center <ul><li>Dexter, Oregon </li></ul>
    20. 20. Experiencing building experiments: Lost Valley, Dexter, OR
    21. 21. Connecting to a Larger Community : Corvallis Coho Ecovillage <ul><li>Meeting clients, using architect’s program & site information </li></ul>
    22. 22. Connecting to a Larger Community : Corvallis Coho Ecovillage Joy Rackley’s Corvallis Cohousing Spring 2005
    23. 23. Oregon – Terminal Studio Community Design
    24. 24. Connecting to a Larger Community : can later visit real project
    25. 25. Orchestrating Group Process Fostering Trust Team size Multiple interaction models Complimenting, compensating for others Leadership
    26. 26. Fostering Trust <ul><li>Interview a new classmate: background, talents, interests, activities </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss previous group experiences, identify positive factors </li></ul>
    27. 27. Building trust: field trip, site documentation & analysis <ul><li>Meeting clients & walking the land creates motivations </li></ul><ul><li>Shared activities reveal strengths and personality types </li></ul><ul><li>i.e. Cooking together </li></ul>
    28. 28. Team size
    29. 29. Multiple interaction models -William Caudill, Architecture by Team
    30. 30. From competing to complementary roles <ul><li>i.e. divide by Time </li></ul>
    31. 31. From competing to complementary roles <ul><li>i.e. Divide by Task </li></ul>
    32. 32. From competing to complementary roles <ul><li>i.e. Divide by Territory </li></ul>Image by Dave Brenneman
    33. 33. Compensating for others <ul><li>Get expectations on the table early </li></ul>Excellent Good Fair Poor Failing - Frances Bronet, Georgeanne Cooper
    34. 34. Leadership <ul><li>Different styles work for different groups </li></ul><ul><li>- Tree Bresen, </li></ul>The Slackers vs….. the Righteous
    35. 35. Communication Technology Digital advantage for group workflow Interactive Assessment
    36. 36. Workflow pipeline site analysis design presentation reflection <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TIME </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>program
    37. 37. Digital Advantage to workflow pipeline sketching concept & skill prep digital model renderings portfolio sheets board layout <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TIME </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>on-site photography on-site interviews cardboard model energy diagrams on-site measuring existing drawings library/web research
    38. 38. Digital advantage to workflow pipeline digital model renderings portfolio sheets board layout energy sketching concept & skill prep <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TIME </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>on-site photography on-site interviews cardboard model WIKI diagrams on-site measuring existing drawings library/web research
    39. 39. Wiki Example
    40. 40. Digital graphics present a united front By Ady Leverette, Peter Siu-kau Lo & Sienna Hill
    41. 41. Site Plan & Diagrams By Ady Leverette, Peter Siu-kau Lo & Sienna Hill
    42. 42. Common House Development <ul><li>By Ady Leverette, Peter Siu-kau Lo & Sienna Hill </li></ul>By Ady Leverette
    43. 43. Scope increased for intermediate students By Dan Roll, Brent Stuntzner, Kaelee Pearson, Erik Bischoff and Erin Pearce
    44. 44. Landscape integration <ul><li>Connects to city with market & restaurant, nature & bikers at river park edge </li></ul>By Dan Roll, Brent Stuntzner, Kaelee Pearson, Erik Bischoff and Erin Pearce
    45. 45. Each person takes a housing type <ul><li>Tight, private, social </li></ul>By Kaelee Pearson
    46. 46. Connecting to a larger community : Exhibit Poster design by Tuan Vu
    47. 47. Iterations Develop a Common Aesthetic By Adam Franch, Trang Nguyen, & Tommy White
    48. 48. Digital Presentation By Adam Franch, Trang Nguyen, & Tommy White
    49. 49. Challenging each other By Adam Franch, Trang Nguyen, & Tommy White
    50. 50. Digital-Physical mix By Adam Franch, Trang Nguyen, & Tommy White
    51. 51. Connecting to a larger community : Projects for Real People Brendan Soens presenting
    52. 52. Interactive Assessment Set performance standards Interactive Feedback
    53. 53. Set performance standards <ul><li>Topical Rubrics for </li></ul><ul><li>Site Design </li></ul><ul><li>Building Design </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Overall Design Performance </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Process </li></ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul>
    54. 54. Each Phase has summary and reflections By Kayla Nelson
    55. 55. NAAB performance standards : Fall 2008 reflections <ul><li>3 Graphic Skills </li></ul><ul><li>5 Formal Ordering Systems </li></ul><ul><li>7 Collaborative Skills </li></ul><ul><li>12 Human Behavior </li></ul><ul><li>15 Sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>17 Site Conditions </li></ul>
    56. 56. Online supplements face2face feedback <ul><li>Online Surveys help shy students express themselves </li></ul>
    57. 57. Online Supplements face2face feedback <ul><li>Required Peer comments </li></ul>
    58. 58. Conclusions & Next Steps
    59. 59. Positive Aspects of Group Studios 8 of 13 course evaluations said collaboration was a valuable challenge (16 in Fall ’07 class)
    60. 60. Challenges of Group Studios & Coping Tactics 6 of 13 students said production expectations were too high but 4 balanced that with comments like “ I worked hard but I feel I accomplished a lot!”
    61. 61. Ingredient for top teams: <ul><li>Select membership </li></ul><ul><li>Foster rapport & risk-taking </li></ul><ul><li>Balance cooperation and competition </li></ul>Intersection Repair at 22 nd & Garfield, Eugene, OR
    62. 62. What makes it successful? <ul><li>Key Factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborator’s profiles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared goals, Valued products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scheduling logistics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teamwork structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appropriate technology </li></ul></ul>
    63. 63. Teamwork strategy <ul><li>Consider participants’ profiles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assign tasks according to talents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Match complementary skills </li></ul></ul>
    64. 64. Teamwork strategy <ul><li>Tune the task to fit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create goals suiting motivations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Divide work by Time, Task or Territory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow group opt-out & reform at specific times </li></ul></ul>
    65. 65. Technology strategy <ul><li>Keep it simple : one website & password links to everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>Fit tools to targets, tasks & talents </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative methods for different learning styles </li></ul><ul><li>Backup channels for problems </li></ul>
    66. 66. Workflow strategy: <ul><li>Challenge assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Redesign the way we work & live </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reconsider the goals, processes and assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structure teams to support goals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Action, feedback & reflection: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Process, not product </li></ul></ul>
    67. 67. Next Steps <ul><li>Electronic Portfolios as Community Learning Environments: </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook for education </li></ul><ul><li>Wordpress MU / BuddyPress: Consolidating blog entries by tags </li></ul>Image by Kathy Sucher, San Jose State University
    68. 68. Nancy Cheng’s contact info <ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(541) 346-3674 </li></ul></ul>