QA+M Pulse

Collective Design Intelligence: Engage!
November 11, 2020

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Star Trek. I was fascinated by the possibility of exploring strange new worlds and civilizations. I also admired the crew and each members’ focus: navigation, communications, information, propulsion, defense, and health. They all worked seamlessly together as a team. Here I am in 2020, and while I thought I’d be exploring a solar system far away by now, I do feel like I’m on a strange planet indeed. Our fragile Earth is in various forms of peril, putting our civilization at risk.

Meanwhile, as a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), I feel my role in the future of our planet is greater than ever before. Last year, the AIA passed a Resolution for “Urgent and Sustained Climate Action,” which requires all architects belonging to the AIA to deliver sustainable building designs. And in June of this year, the AIA, NCARB and NOMA released statements condemning racism, and called on members to proactively increase diversity in the workplace and deliver building projects that promote justice and equity.

No pressure, right? Yes, architects must play a vital role in keeping our planet and our civilization sustainable; both in how we work and how we design. And to succeed we must work harder at designing and use the most up-to-date 3D modeling technology and building science information. But more than that, we must communicate our goals with our clients, our community at large, and our peers.

What is needed for this higher level of service? Ready to launch: Collective Design Intelligence.

Architects have their regular engineering consultants. They have their repeat clients. And they have communities in which they design buildings over and over again. How do we transform our design solutions to meet the demands of a new frontier? A Collective Design Intelligence process is key. Here are some steps to navigate your ship to warp speed:

By: Angela Cahill, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, LEED AP


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QA+M Architecture is a full-service architectural firm that provides programming, planning and interior design for clients in commercial, community, education, healthcare, historical, housing, and recreational/athletic markets. Staffed by 34 dedicated professionals, including 14 licensed architects, QA+M has grown to be the 4th largest architectural firm in the Greater Hartford area.


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