THE COLLABORATIVE NATURE OF CLOUD9 Review
by Kasang Kajang AADipl2012
25 March 2014
Being a fragment of Cloud9 is just like being a particle in a cloud, where the density of team interaction is what begins to inform and unfold the true nature of the office. It results in a final almost swarm-like collective action, which allows for the conclusions of intention and design to be drawn.
The office structure is anything but linear, instead what you see unfold is a spatial back-and-forth diffusion and exchange of knowledge from the intern level all the way up to the principal architect and founder, Enric Ruiz-Geli. This reciprocal structure is similar to a tennis match, where projects primarily led by a project architect are quickly returned by a studio head to be quickly picked up by an intern and once again hit back to the principal architect, Enric. This web of inter-exchange is repeated on a daily basis as a never-ending story until a clear design and intention has manifested. Due to this, what becomes ever stronger is the team, the discussions and ultimately the final output.
[caption id="attachment_3051" align="alignnone" width="360"] Enric Ruiz-Geli in the Cloud9 office
Image credit: Uku Miller[/caption]
The various tiers found in the office, which range from: Studio Leader to Project architect to Architect to Intern, are defined solely in terms of time, which naturally implies a hierarchy of knowledge and experience. This is the only defining factor to distinguish between varying roles of responsibility. However, during discussions about project development this hierarchy becomes an invisible line as everyone’s opinion is valid. No idea is too small, and as such, will be listened to.
[caption id="attachment_3050" align="alignnone" width="360"] Cloud9's Open Innovation Diagram[/caption]
All members of the team are involved in the day-to-day running of the studio. From server maintenance, to studio appearance, layout and personalisation. Here we are not just architects; we are the well-oiled machine that also ensures the smooth running of the office. Ultimately, this encourages an atmosphere of shared responsibility, teamwork and direct communication through evoking progressive conversations, which is of primary importance within any design studio.
This ideology is also applied to the outsourced consultations witnessed in the office. Cloud9 has a map of closely linked companies, which together form the foundation of being able to realise any project. From the initial commission onwards, and throughout the development of the project’s design, outsourced engineers, graphic designers, carpenters and technologists are involved. Their involvement allows for a full picture of the design through various forms of implementation to be assessed during the design phase.
The environment we work in embraces the artistic and innovative side of architecture, as Cloud9 has an open studio layout which doubles up as an exhibition space. Situated on the ground floor of the Media-ITC building and enclosed by glass, effectively allows our every action to be witnessed by the passing public. Often this piques the curiosity of passersby, drawing people into the exhibition space and also into a conversation with members of the team.
Involvement of the public within the office is a driving factor and as such, is taken seriously and encouraged to grow. Members of the office are consistently giving guided tours around the Media-ICT building to explain the technological design that aided in the building being named WAF’s building of the year in 2011. This, coupled with the office’s involvement with universities, ensures that there is a constant buzz of new people, new discussions and new energy found within the working environment.
[caption id="attachment_3049" align="alignnone" width="360"] The Cloud9 office
Image credit: Luis Borunda[/caption]
What you experience here is a youthful, playful and ambitious attitude. This drives the team and the end results encompass this by placing greater importance on the “science” and “art” of architecture.
For more information:
Kasang Kajang's website