After spending the first day of our project under sweltering conditions at the haven named Aspern Seestadt yesterday was a time to consolidate our ideas of the type of structure we would propose for the selected site. To understand todays proceedings I will briefly summarise group dynamics generally for yesterday groups and then specifically for our own. After semi-structured interviews (quick chat) of key members of the groups yesterday a common theme was emerging. There was frustration occurring from Architects that they were carrying the burden of responsibility for the project and frustration from non-design members for their lack of input. Tension mounted throughout the day with many students experiencing varying levels of dissatisfaction. Our group struggled with conflicts between the more dominant parties and this presented challenges with productivity. We had however managed to make a significant start to the project and had a general direction to follow for today’s tasks.

Today started on a much more positive note with most students bringing a positive attitude to class with the hope of reliable Internet connection and clear purpose. Our group commenced the day with a discussion about what we achieve and tasks were allocated to individuals. Our architect continued on with plans and section of our site. The engineer in the group provided some formulas to enable me to work out the thermal values of our proposed building’s envelope. The environmental scientist continued on the energy plan. We seemed to be settling into a rhythm with a lot more cooperation and patience displayed by the whole team. We assisted one another with issues and questions and had a very productive day.

Personal reflection

I generally enjoy group work however this group has been particularly interesting and challenging. I would usually presume a leadership role inadvertently but I decided that with a lot of strong personalities it may be more productive to facilitate discussion and just try to bring some direction when required. With highly talented teammates it was a good opportunity to learn from the different construction professionals fields of expertise. The other challenge for me was to try and understand our end goals and communicate these in a tactful way to the team. It is easy to get distracted with one part of the project objectives whilst not providing enough resources to the other goals. Although the days of project work is fairly intense I believe we are all learning a lot from the exercise even if it may not be evident at this point in time. The majority of students are going out for dinner tonight as a group which will provide a stress release from the day’s labours.

Text: Douglas Thomas