The architect who wrote the Open Mike entitled "Anger, tedium and malice" (12 May, page 38), is clearly in a parallel universe - a universe that is time-warped backwards by about 20 years. The scary thing is, he is not alone. Parts of the industry are stuck there with him.
I am an architect and I certainly recognise the anger, tedium and malice he describes. I too remember his description of a design team meeting, but it was a vague memory of a nightmare existence, from another era, when such meetings were a chance to hone one's skills of disruption and overt hostility. Who could we pick on this time? How about the cocky little sod who dared to be unimpressed by the natural superiority of the architect in the last meeting? Let's wind him up with a series of demands for information that we do not need yet and then crush him with a public
telling off. With a bit of luck, the meeting will collapse into a satisfying verbal punch-up. The client will poo his pants at the prospect of his multimillion-pound investment descending into chaos and the architect can ride in and save the day - possibly.
Wait a minute, I feel sick. Get me out of Mr Angry's parallel universe! Get me back to my present life, a working life that is shaped by parallel thinking. Respect. Honesty. And trust. A different ethos altogether.
I actually enjoy design meetings! I respect the individual expertise of people who are now my friends. I value the pragmatism of the quantity surveyor, the design skills of the structural engineer and the precision of the services engineer. We trust and welcome each other's expertise. We understand the challenges. We do it by looking, caring and thinking from the same starting point, in the same direction, at the same time. This is parallel thinking.
Everyone has a clear and certain knowledge of the purpose of the meeting. The meeting is run on the principles of the Six Thinking Hats method of Edward de Bono, who invented the term parallel thinking. The meeting facilitator guides progress towards agreed solutions with the combined experience and expertise of everyone, directed at one aspect of one issue, at one time. Gone is time-wasting debate and ego-fuelled confrontation. No anger. No tedium. No malice.
Think about it for a moment, Mr Angry. Did not the surveyor and the engineer receive an education as good as yours? Did they not choose their profession because they wanted to do it and had natural ability in it? Do they not tackle the same issues of quality and resourcing and profitability as you? And the killer question - can they not do things that you can't?
Well, the answer to all of those is yes.
So take my advice. Escape from the parallel universe and get back to work! Learn parallel thinking. Change your ethos and complete your projects quicker, improve client relationships and enjoy your working life.
Keith Young, director of architecture, McBains Cooper