2+2=5 sometimes. Pragmatically. The whole really is more than the sum of its parts.
A pragmatism is the convergence of high goal, design, detail, process, and profitability. There is no separation, and there is a greater whole.
For too long architects have divided themselves into those who design and those who live in the real world. For too long these have been perceived as oppositional. This seems a microcosm of one of the ways the Whole has been divided. Dreamers and doers.
This is the perspective of one who has spent most of his career practicing within the mainstream. Now I get sideways looks and questions that imply exploring philosophy somehow inhibits efficiency or other practical matters of practice. This is the baggage of high design’s previous disengagement from the pragmatic. What I am up to is not the winding way of stereotypes, but the explorations of shorter distances between two points, and design considered as a broader whole.
In experimenting with new project processes, test what is pragmatic. Give it new boundaries. This is a bit of synthesis. Some statements I truly believe follow. I am witnessing this on a new round of projects:
Pragmatic concerns engender good design.
A marker of good design is the quantity of convergences it holds.
Good design promotes itself via the number of perspectives from which it can be explained to diverse groups. It generates broad consensus.
Process can be both improvisational and extremely efficient as a result of its improvisation. In other words, improvisation results in a hierarchical focus from most to least important matters, while blunt customary process inefficiently burns resources on less important things with less hierarchy. Profitability follows; a product of resource efficiency (time).
Process improvisation is most difficult to execute and teach, and has the most vitality. It is a situational awareness of the project’s potential and the collective tone of its stakeholders, and an ability to discover core truths.
This process is more a matter of creation than refinement.
Perception of this pragmatism by my colleagues, as well as my clients, is an evolving conversation I enjoy engaging with (most days).