Architectural Coffee Break

Panta Rhei

An Interactive Rendezvous on Collaboration

Despite the increasing complexity of many projects and the resulting often ever-increasing number of contributors, the equality of all disciplines involved within architecture is still a difficult scenario to imagine. The charismatic architect, who thoughtfully determines the issues at the center of the action and knows the ultimate answer to all questions, is a bias that is still anchored in many minds and thus shapes numerous architectural debates. Nevertheless, a young generation of architects is trying to establish new ways of collaboration that take into account a number of rich themes such as the granting of equal rights, but also support and fairness within the working environment.

A historical forerunner of a team-based practice is The Architects Collaborative (TAC), whose cooperative working methods are presented during this architectural coffee break. TAC was founded in 1945 by eight partners in Cambridge (Massachusetts), who tried to develop new concepts by addressing societal and social issues. Although some of the partners did not know each other at the beginning of the office‘s activity, all of them had an idea of a teamwork that would fundamentally influence the architectural decisions. This was not about the dissolution of individual opinion, but rather the inclusion of individual positions in a collective work process.

The „interactive rendezvous“ is an appointment of exchange with many possibilities. Therefor the story of TAC serves as an historical example showing the ambiguity of a hybrid authorship with the desire for social change through collaboration in the beginning and the desperate search for a personal signature during the expansion a few years later. However, looking at the history of TAC, can lead to new incentives and show alternatives to find solutions to the question that characterizes the core of this complex profession: How do we want to collaborate in the multidisciplinary field of architecture and what impact does this decision have on our built environment?