Engine of More: The Hackerspace Architect
Over the last few days I’ve been refining my 4 Book Ideas from an earlier post. Ideas 2, 3 and 4 resonated with some people and I was, still very torn between them myself. I felt unable to determine in which book some of the ideas I want to share would really fit. Some of the experiences and insights are human personal ones and don’t fit a workshop handbook. Others address group or community thinking and don’t fit a book for a maker monk!
Whilst I was thinking about naming some new roles for a utopian look at hackerspace, I got struck on the concept of “The Architect”*. I like buildings and the urban environment a lot, I am mildly obsessed by architects and architecture. My architecture nerdery is 2nd, only to my obsession with hackerspaces.
*maybe I’ve been watching too much “The Good Place” on Netflix.
I feel a comparison can be shown between an architect and someone who would wish to create a new hackerspace. I believe that how an architect works fit well as an allegory with how someone could approach the ongoing running of a space. 12th Century cathedrals and “streets in the sky” buildings that have long since left the drawing board still need an architect even though the building is built.
Architects provide a direction through the building process, they hold a vision of the complete building, when it’s time to extend or repurpose a building they continue the vision, complimenting the original. They are able to make adjustments in the design when faced with problems or new challenges. They understand what has come before and through an understanding of history build on and are inspired by that earlier work.
When an architect is doing great work, they push the boundaries of what is possible. They the use new materials to make radical and challenging designs. They move the paradigm forward with a story about what a building looks like. They create narratives with the owner/commissioner/user of a project (called the parti) which generally considers and provides a plan based on needs of those who will use the building. They often create a unified aesthetic which gives a building cohesiveness and a sense of order. An architect will pay great attention to the details, whilst also ensuring simplicity. Through their vision, leadership, knowledge and understanding, they create spaces that are safe, economical, sustainable, sympathetic, fit for purpose and pleasing to be in, and sure, sometimes they get it wrong too. But with vision, skill and perhaps bravery the best of them create spaces that inspire us.
So I’m going to get started. It’ll be rough work at first and I may write the same idea over and over to hone it. It will be called “The Hackerspace Architect”, This is the book I will write. It will combine aspects of managing yourself and the space you seek to empower, it will help you as a maker and as a thinker. It will look at working with groups of people and the emotional labour of engaging with a space. To some extent it will explore a utopian space too.
If this is something you’d like to read, then please let me know in the comments below.
Today’s thumbnail is The Betjamin Statue by Martin Jennings at St Pancras Station, London. St Pancras Station by William Henry Barlow, it was completely overhauled with major redesign work internally in around 2006 for the addition of Eurostar. it is hands down, one of my most favourite buildings anywhere in the world. The space is inspirational and exhilarating to be in.