When a virtually new building starts to make loud cracking sounds and cracks start to appear, it would be an understatement to suggest this is somewhat concerning. Most significantly for it’s residents and owners, but also for the builder, developer, architect, engineer and so on. The recent issues with the Opal Tower in Sydney’s Olympic Park a case in point. It’s not who’s at fault or the repercussions that interest me, but the posture or stance that has been taken, in particular by the architecture profession, but there’s a lesson here for all.
When news first broke, the name of the developers as well as the architects was prominent in reports, followed later by the builders and much later the engineers. What is interesting was the response by architects* in social media. They seemed very quick to pass blame, questioning why the engineers weren’t named in news reports. This, however, is not the stance of a leader.
A leader will immediately assume some level of responsibility, regardless of fault. Great leaders earn respect and help build teams. They stand by their team and build relationships. They build trust. This is what they are able to stand on.
Architects bemoan the loss of ultimate professional responsibility for the delivery of projects to Project Managers. Whilst management and leadership are not the same, situations such as the Opal Tower fiasco are an opportunity for the profession to show leadership and regain some greater responsibility within the delivery of building projects. Yet the profession has been largely silent, save for apportioning blame.
How then might the architecture profession show better leadership within the broader culture of building and thereby resume some greater responsibility for the delivery of projects?
What’s the right posture?
How might they stand up?
Note: this was not by the architects of the Opal Tower.