Professional Practice :: Position Project

Fall 2007

In teams of two students, you and your partner will write a paper in which you take a position on a topic and present a researched commentary.

Your role as writer is to provide a critical and well-researched commentary to a public interested in the theory and practice of architecture.

Topic: The topic for your Position Paper Project must be related to the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners website (, and should be something you have an interest in learning about. You can use related research from other classes or on-the-job experience, but you must make direct reference to information contained on the firm's website.

  • Podcasts

    • Laurie Damme Gonneville and Tania Delage
      While browsing through the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners website, a powerful image remained embedded in our minds: the aerial group photo of all 200 RSHP employees. As our personal work experience lies in small architectural firms, we were drawn to investigate the impact of office size on the practice of architecture. How do the relationships within and without a small office transform as the practice grows? How did the shift in scale affect the way Rogers' social and professional convictions were carried out in his work? The following commentary will address these questions throughout the evolution of Rogers' practice, from his professional début within Team 4, through his partnership with Renzo Piano, to the multi-headed international firm of today.
    • Matt Belaen and Welland Sin
    • Wendy Schuster and Valerie Zollman
    • Catherine Theriault and Jennifer Thorogood
      Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners express the merits of teamwork emphasizing the importance of collaboration in the desin process. There is a need to move away from the myth of the architect as a solitary genius to the realization that collaboration is required for better building practice. The collaborative efforts of architects and engineers produce innovative and efficient buildings. Embracing a team design methodology and extending the process to include the community, especially important when building on foreign land, leads to culturally and socially sensitive projects.
    • Bronwyn Sibbald and Jennifer Ho
      Architecture is not an autonomous activity, but one that is about people, collaboration and teamwork. Our professional career depends on our ability to work with co-workers, clients, consultants and the community at large. In our opinion, successful architecture benefits from a team-based approach. By understanding that architecture impacts the global society, we can find better and more creative people-based design solutions.
    • Andrew Chau and Jie Chen
      The World Health Organization has defined disability as not merely a medical or biological dysfunction, but rather as a decrement in health. Disability is then not something that happens to a minority of people, but is a universal human experience that occurs at different points in our lives. As a profession, architects have the social responsibility to address universal accessibility by ensuring those with disabilities have the full support to succeed in the field of design, and by designing universally accessible spaces.
    • Nathan Katen and Candace Wiersema
    • Joanna Rosval and John Erana
    • Antonina Cagara and Elizabeth Paden
      If the language of architecture is universal, then the architectural model is the dialect for design communication. An architect must simultaneously act as designer, mediator and salesman in the office, using the model as a tool to bridge comprehensive gaps between professionals, consultants and the public. The Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners design studio demonstrates an understanding of the effectiveness of this medium with the incorporation of an in-house modelshop, which undoubtedly facilitates each stage of project development and execution. Proper use of the model as a professional device can be directly correlated to the overall success of architectural creation.
    • Michal Gorczyca, and Cristina Negu and Patricia Joong
      Since the majority of our public space depends on the design of privately owned buildings, it becomes the architect's responibility to consider how he can best combine both private and public aspects while respecting a client's requirements. Through the work of Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, we seek to illustrate how three of their projects have successfully incorporated such design methodology. The Centre Pompidou presents how a generous building setback was used to create a celebrated public square. The Lloyd's Register project takes advantage of conservation area requirements to enhance the design of both old and new public space. Finally the Leadenhall Project, with its introduction of a mixed-use typology, generates public life through an extension of an existing plaza into the building.
    • Philippe Ashby and Anna Sampson
    • Merhan Gharaarti and Geoffrey Keith
      Looking at the management models employed in two projects of the Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners practice (formerly Richard Rogers Partnership); Lloyd's of London and the National Assembly for Wales, this paper examines the role of the architects in the process of sustainable construction and energy efficiency. The Lloyd's building illustrates a method, working group, and product delivery that have earned commendation and admiration. Richard Rogers has historically maintained a conscious effort of implementing energy efficiency in his (and the partnerships') projects from his earliest works to the most recent, developing a significant portfolio and a longstanding reputation of capability and understanding. Nonetheless, the Wales Assembly building demonstrates the issues when there is a breakdown in the managerial structure and cost/payment oversight. It is with the reevaluation and redistribution of responsibility, control and communications apparatus while considering longstanding expertise, that the architects are able to fully impress their capabilities into a well received building.
    • Olga Cuenca and Per Kefgen
      The architectural firm of Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners (RSH+P) put forth lightness of structure, transparency and layering as dominant design factors in their work. One can easily recognize an emergent style that arises from this prescriptive concept of legibility. While being formally different, a building in England employs the same organizational language as a building in Paris, France or Barcelona, Spain. Wrought from the RSH+P recipe book, these projects propose meaning as style, imposed by the architect, through the building, to the public. Alternatively, only an architecture which approaches each project in a unique way materially and spatially employs legibility as a tool for bringing new dimensions to the way people interact with the built environment.
    • Nima Razavi and Cindy Williams
      The quintessential objective within the architectural profession should be to maintain an awareness of the basic principles in energy conservation while simultaneously recognizing that certain compromises to sustainable energy principles in building design can be made, provided there are sustainable methods and alternatives used to complement or counteract the effects of such compromises.
    • François St-Hilaire and Carla Smiley
      Architects have the responsibility to design buildings that respond to the ecological, economic, social and cultural contexts in which they are built. These contexts change over time and often within the life span of a building. Global warming is an example of a phenomenon, which has occurred within our generation. We have also witnessed inflation and recession both re-occurring in a cyclic manner. Even though most buildings reflect the context and period of time in which they were designed, they are usually designed for a fixed use, and are not necessarily capable of adapting to future contexts. The practice of flexible architecture encourages us to avoid this linear thinking and create systems with the ability to respond to an environment in which functions and users are constantly changing. The response of flexible architecture to its context is not unidirectional, in that such practice can in return affect the context and alter them. In short, flexible architecture is not only a response to ever-changing contexts, but also a tool to change its context.
    • Hani Asfour and Robert Fayad
    • Ravi Handa and Kieron Smith
    • Benoit Macnamara and Manuel Cisneros
      Cet essaie porte sur l'approche durable en architecture tel que conçu par la firme Roger Strick Harbour + Partners. On constate, à la lecture du site internet ainsi que par l'analyse de réalisations récentes que la firme oriente son approche constructive sur l'utilisation de technologies de contrôle comme moyen ultime pour minimiser les dépenses énergétiques. Notre texte émet des réserves sur cette approche dérivée du mouvement high-tech. Nous croyons que l'apport technologique peut facilement devenir une béquille à un développement consciencieux. Contrairement à Richard Roger, nous croyons que les technologies ne sont pas salvatrices. Ce n'est que par un changement de mentalité et non par une consommation accrue de technologies que nous arriverons à concevoir des bâtiments plus verts et à réduire notre emprunte énergétique.
    • Austin Durbin and Matthew Wiviott
      The work of Richard Rogers has been the subject of recent acclaim, with the architect having been chosen as the 2007 laureate of the Pritzker Prize. Many of his buildings have become landmarks, both urbanistically and historically. His work has touched our experience of major cities, and our understanding of developments in modern architecture. We locate him in the heart of London's financial district and the center of the Parisian art world, but also amid the continuum of thinkers and builders who have shaped our understanding of architecture as a profession and a cultural force.
    • Mohammad Salimian
      Sustainability remains an illusive concept until we define it as an approach rather than a prescription. Architectural profession should thrive for an objective approach in sustainability. Architects should be educated for a broader concept of context in architecture including all the social, economical, political and technical aspects. Through these two approaches, we will be successful in engaging architects "in the much larger dynamics of sustainability" (Moe 2007, 28).
McGill University :: School of Architecture :: Arch 674 :: © 2007