December 31, 2005

design in kind

My Japanese co-worker a resident UNV Architect (United Nations Voluteneer) is reknown on island for her use of colour. She and I quote,"[was] interested in bringing back colour & vibrance back to the island" - rather important since 90% of the country's architecture was either destroyed or had to be abandoned after the Souffeire Hills volcano began eruption after 300 years of dormancy.

Anyhow I digress...

Because her use of colour on the buildings she designed is so well appreciated, many locals have asked her "advice" on the painting of their homes & businesses. I would say that there are at least 50 examples of such on island - all remarkable. Now this isn't colour for the light of heart but she manages with each example to win over the more conservative. I previously showed the Nursery School in Brades, as well as the Mortuary at the St Johns hospital with palettes quite unusual for their typologies.

More remarkable is that she takes her role as a volunteer very seriously, taking no compensation for her advice, aside from a "thank you" and a possibility of a generous act in the future. Hence the title of this post, "design in kind." Of course this has extended to other works, redesigning someone's kitchen, working drawings, it varies - but done for nothing more than a kind gesture. It also manages to be infectious as I've extended my talents designing a small extension, a pool house, etc with gifts ranging from a box of Cohibas, a bottle of wine, the best of Nina Simone cd, etc.

I know those out there worried about the erosion of the profession into nothing more than pencil pushing will probably hiss at this notion. But are there any other stories out there of design in kind - let me know, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. With 2006 dawning on us all is it time to rethink architecture as more than a service industry and perhaps as a gesture of kindness & the committment to quality design at no cost?

Happy New Year

1 comment:

Thalia B. said...

Going to assume that responses to this post were all direct, rather than using this medium. I know this is old news but your techno-savvy big sis in her schedule-challengenged way is just seeing this now. I just want to tell you and your colleague - even if she is no longer working in Monty - that I am so proud of you (both) and that you are doing God's work... after all isn't He the original architect and designer? And that I am inspired. Thank you...

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