Architects Communicating with a Variety of Audiences

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Mr. Brooks (far left) and I (far right) with a mockup for the ARCH 335 project

Robert Brooks is an associate professor at Louisiana Tech University in the School of Design, teaching both architecture and interior design courses.  Both before arriving in Ruston and since, Mr. Brooks has worked in an architecture firm/office setting either as an intern, project manager, or director. His firm, Studio Brooks + Emory, LLC, formerly Studio Brooks, LLC, was founded in 2005 and has continued to today, having done projects in and around the area, such as the Co:Lab house. The Co:Lab house, built initially for a Tech student, has since been transformed into a studio building for the School of Design under Mr. Brooks’ direction. Through the ARCH 335 Design Build program, Mr. Brooks has helped to foster relationships in the community and build charity projects as seen fit.  I have the privilege to be in Mr. Brooks’ class this quarter for ARCH 335 Design Build and got a chance to sit down with him during the hectic schedule associated with the class.

COMMUNICATING IN THE WORKPLACE

As Mr. Brooks explained, most in house workplace communication happens in an informal way. “99% of all internal communication happens face to face or via text message”, he said. Skipping formalities and really getting to quick communication is paramount to making as many decisions as are required to keep a project running at top speed. Communicating with co-workers in message services such as GroupMe means that no one is out of the loop on decision making for more than a few hours and makes slower communication methods such as email inefficient. Communication in the workplace has become so quick and efficient, in fact, that it hardly breaks down if ever. As he put it so simply,” The best way to solve communication issues is to communicate!”

COMMUNICATING TO THE PUBLIC

As ideas leave the firm walls and is distributed to the public and the clients in particularly, communication becomes more important. As Mr. Brooks put it, “All communication is dependent upon the audience in which it is intended. We generally know our subject material well enough to tailor its delivery to the intended audience. Most of the language used to talk to our engineering consultants is technical in nature, while the language used to communicate with our clients is generally persuasive in nature, and the language used to communicate with collaborators is generally informal in nature.” Again in this area of communication, technology shows its ability to solve problems at large. “Technology has made it much easier to communicate complex ideas, regardless of physical location. We have even presented work to a client over their mobile phone using a PowerPoint app. Technology has also made it easier to quickly and effectively customize presentations for specific audience groups.”

COMMUNICATING IN ACADEMIA

As a professor as well as a professional, Mr. Brooks has a special perspective on how to communicate with fellow architectural minds, albeit developing minds. “Generally I have to be much more patient with students than I do with any other contact group”, Mr. Brooks said, to which we both responded with a chuckle. Because formative places for architecture such as academia are the roots of new ideas these days, Mr. Brooks ended the interview with a statement on a better future with change. He articulates, “The biggest change I would like to see is not between architects and clients, or architects to architects… but rather I would like to see academia engage the public more. Academia has the potential to help change the world for the better. But unfortunately, most academics are only talking to each other rather than the people that they could benefit the most.”

Cody Pate, Guest Blogger

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