Reflection

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I’ve never written a blog and I am vaguely familiar with the term. It seems like leaving a secret journal open for prying eyes to read. Like the experience of reading a secret journal, they provide the reader with possibility. The possibility to connect and understand the writer’s passion on a deeper level all while going about their daily routines. This deeper understanding is a reward to the reader for their efforts. It is through this blog I offer a similar reward—
a glimpse into my world, a viewing of my secrets, and an opportunity for you to learn and observe topics in diverse ways. And so here I am a first time blog writer.

MY WORLD IS ALL ABOUT BUILDING, NOT JUST AS AN ARCHITECT, BUT AS A BUSINESS OWNER AND A LEADER AS WELL. IT IS COMPLICATED AT TIMES BUT MY WORLD IS ONE OF PERPETUAL DEVELOPMENT. ALWAYS A WORK IN PROGRESS, ALWAYS BUILDING TOWARDS SOMETHING BETTER. AND AS ARCHITECTS WE MUST ACCEPT OUR INFLUENCE ON ITS PROGRESS—OR NOT. AT LEAST THAT’S HOW A PROFESSOR IN MY UNDERGRAD DAYS PUT IT—“IF YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE THEN SIT DOWN AND STAY AWHILE—IF NOT—YOU’RE IN THE WRONG COURSE.” BLUNT AND CHALLENGING BUT TO THE POINT I SUPPOSE. FUNNY BUT I DON’T REMEMBER ANYONE LEAVING… AT LEAST NOT THAT DAY ANYWAY!

People expect architects to accept the challenge of making the world a better place. Ultimately we all seek to build better communities and cities through our work. How successful we are in our endeavors varies but the passion that we put in our work always shines through, like I said, it is complicated. Having said that, I can tell you architectural education prepares the mind for our complicated world by pushing creativity past its existing boundaries and pulling discipline to enable seamless multi-tasking.

I recently visited the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I spent 2 years earning a Masters of Architecture degree from 1986 to 1988 which made me reflect on what I learned there. In addition to numerous “social-based epics” (too foggy to share with precision), I reflected upon how my learning experience prepared me to make the world a better place.

As with most students, my creative process occurred in a studio environment whereby each presented
a solution to a “real-world” problem pertaining to housing, policing, shopping, preserving culture, etc. Not much has changed in the sense of learning examples—there may be a description of a real client
or not, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that the ultimate goal of preparing young, fertile minds to see their creative solution as a reflection of the world around them. It is a kind of vision or commentary on our status and how we see it as relevant to making the world a better place. 27 years later I find the same restlessness as I did upon graduation. Everything about the world has changed since then but one thing remains true – the desire to make it better. It seems we are constantly in a state of restlessness; moving forward only to reset our goals upon new benchmarks, I suppose I’ve gained some comfort after all this time with a simple conclusion- the things that move us to a better world are only those capable of defining who we can be more than those that show who we already are.

ROD L. ROWBOTHAM
Rod Rowbotham
President, Principal Architect

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