Group work – the agony and the ecstasy



A friend sent this to me the other day and I thought it was funny – considering the humour sense of the friend in question is really bad. For the people I’ve done group projects with, this is not about you. You’re (mostly) the best. ­čÖé

Frankly, whenever any project is introduced as a group work in our class, it is met with mostly binary reactions – you either hate it or you don’t. For a lot of people (myself included), it is the difficulty to come out of our comfort zone and adapt to other working schedules and styles, but also because most of the “working” time in a group isn’t really spent working┬á(as anyone who has done any group project ever can testify) – and the guilt thereafter.┬áConsidering architecture students also have to go through the experience that is rurals studio – I think the whole “being cooped up with 7 others for 5 months” part entitles you to be judgemental. Rurals studio was an incredible experience – on an academic side because it allows you to play on your strengths and improve your weaknesses, but it also taught me something beautiful – the whole is greater than just the parts put together.

Where I found it lacking, however is rurals studio never taught me how to effectively design in a group. Sure, there was a design element at the end of it, but which was hurriedly done in a day and ultimately accomplished very little compared to the amount of work done for the other part.

So my question is this – while rurals studio (or NASA studio for that matter) is pretty effective when it comes to teaching coordination and teamwork, and teaching you how to work in a group in general, does it teach you how to design in a group?┬áIn a design studio culture which celebrates individual creativity, where does “group design” fit in? More importantly, why is group design relevant? Is it something which you can extrapolate and learn as you go on?