ASSIGNMENT 3
A CRITICAL SELF-APPRAISAL OF THE LIVE PROJECT



Intro
I am a group member of live project 4, THE FOXHOLES. Our group was trying to do architectural consulting works in order to help a little village, Foxholes, to build their own village hall and re-establish their community life. So not only the design work, we also had to do a whole series of works such as assessment of land, research of technology, providing documents for applying funds, collecting information as well as proposing development of village hall.
Generally speaking, the process of our live project, group4 Foxholes, can be divided into 5 stages.


Development of Process
Cognition
We had a group meeting to recognize each group member and got the brief introduction of this project from our tutor, Evan. Since Evan had done a lot of previous working about this project, he gave us a very clear and brief introduction of this project.


Information of Group
Our group is an international group, quite different from all the other groups, grouped by 4 British students, 4 Chinese students and 2 exchange students from Singapore. Apparently we have different background ranged from culture, working style, knowledge as well as understanding of architecture. During the introduction of our first group meeting, we did not have enough opportunities and time to introduce ourselves and enhance the understanding of each other so as to dispel the boundary between us. This problem can be easily seen from our following meetings, during which we nearly always sat together with our compatriots without mixing together. Certainly, we had as much communication as other groups, but as an international group, there are never too more to communicate especially across nations.
After the first meeting we had a precious opportunity to improve our group structure, which was the management course. During that session, we analysed our group’s structure, human resources and the brief of live project. We did several mappings trying to figure out the characteristics of our group and the project. It had been agreed we are in need of a coordinator who could balance and improve the communication of our group. Unfortunately, for several personal reasons, only 5 members attended that class and the decision we made was forgotten and not applied into our following group work.


Surveying
Arranged by Evan, we went to foxholes and had a meeting with the committee of the village. Since we had done a lot of previous works as well as preparations before we went there, we experienced a very harmonious conversation with the chairman of the committee. After researching of all the lands available in the village, we got 3 option lands in all, so Evan separated us into 3 groups randomly, each group with at least 1 British student, to survey 3 lands respectively. Comparing to other live projects, the project we did is so practical that we have to collect site information as much as possible.
During the survey the villagers were extremely friendly to us and willing to help us as possible as they could such as providing food and services, replying to our interview. One reason for this is they are really eager having a new village hall, the other reason is we told them we wanted to help them sincerely and this whole project is absolutely a charity.
Being aware of that it was the only chance to survey before our presentation with the whole village we worked rather hard that afternoon, each panel wanted to be the best, each individual wanted to be approved by tutor and other group members, so instead of an atmosphere of collaboration, an atmosphere of competition was established.


Document Completing
After coming back from foxholes, we were all busy with collating data we got from site survey. Besides that we did plenty of researches on green technology such as renewable energy and green services, analyzing and assessing of each site etc.
As I mentioned before, our group, an international group without a coordinator to solve the communication gaps of language, regulation, culture, to ordinate various of works according to personal ability, without a shaper to inspire our subjective initiative, although efficient it is, did lots of repetitions work. For example, when we were analysing the plants species of each site, each panel members did research based on their own sites, without communicating and sharing the result. Actually the plants in three sites are almost the same. The other example for lack of work arrangement is the green technology research. At the very beginning, due to not knowing the specialty of each person, we decided to pick jobs according to own interest. However as the project proceeded the difference of personal workload appeared. We had to reassign jobs, and achievement of previous research was aborted.


Community Event
Community event, considered as not only a presentation to the foxholes committee but also participation with people relevant to the project, is an important section in our project. We finished report document, designed a participative programme to collect feedbacks from attendants before the event. We contacted with the committee in advance to request an advertising of that event. During the event, we had an introduction and explanation of our document as well as proposals. We organized a discussion with villagers and visitors attended. To cover people from different ages, we had interview with teenagers as well as the aged. Unfortunately, there were very a few youth and middle-aged people attended.
Generally speaking, the event is successful, villagers were satisfied by our representation, our works and enthusiasm evoked their memory of the past and their rosy imagination of new village hall. Nevertheless, there were still some points that we did not cover. First we neglected the importance of advertising of the event. We just emailed Stevie, the chairman of committee, and made a stack of posters for exhibition rather than advertising. As a consequence of that there were only approximately 20 people showed up. A lot of key person such as two land owners of our site, the sponsor of the green energy fund did come that day. It is because we did not establish a multi-path to communicate with the village. We were so rely on one key person, the chairman, to contact with other villagers that we concentrate on completing the final document. But in fact, the committee was in short of money and they had to buy another land, if they wanted to build a new one. Helping them get money from government and foundations as well as persuading the landowner to give a discount of land were the other two main goals of our project. If we had a previous analyze of the client and made a strategy to attract them in, we could have made that event more successful. All in all, the event is an efficient consulting but not creative and participative enough.


School Presentation
The live project presentation in front all the school members is another essential section of our whole project. Apart from the event which was for the public, live project review was a good opportunity to show our entire process and explain our ideas to scholars so as to get academic feedbacks, with which we could improve our works.
After the village event, three panels completed their exhibition of proposal for each land and mixed together as a big group with one goal, school presentation. The former atmosphere of competition was replaced by collaboration. On the awareness of each one’s ability, to some extent, we arranged the work properly every one were willing to help others once they turn to. We shared ideas through talks and emails freely. Thanks to the pleasant cooperation during our last period of live project, we integrated three proposals as a whole.


Conclusion and Lessons
After the live project and the review of our brief, I had a re-cognition and assessment of the brief progress we made. We should have an overall cognition of both our group and project to create a dynamic system to organize our work, balance the conflict and arrange the timetable appropriately. In our organization we not only need a competition theme to stimulate our hard-working passion, but also, need a collaboration atmosphere to increase understanding as well as efficiency.