Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This I Too Believe

Somehow I'm still in a reflective mood and have recently been looking at an out-of-print book about Bill Caudill. As one of the founders of Caudill Rowlett and Scott, (CRS), Bill was a driving force and role model as an architect, educator, researcher and author. The book, The TIBs of Bill Caudill, collects a small subset of writings that he prepared over twenty years, from 1964 until his death in 1983. The abbreviation stands for 'This I Believe' and the TIBs were distributed by memo to CRS leaders and displayed on office bulletin boards. The introduction to the book by then CRS Chairman of the Board, Tom Bullock, directly asks:
Why did he write them?

'Good question,' he once replied. 'To pinpoint things we really believe in? To encourage and express the openness that characterizes our company? To communicate thoughts on current issues? To produce responses? To carry on a continuous writing of our history? Paper therapy? Perhaps all of these.'

Probably the best answer is that he wanted to improve his thinking by expressing himself regularly in clear, simple thoughts. 'Most of us need to write/think,' he said.
The CRS archives at Texas A&M contain over 4,000 TIBs and, for those who may be interested, you can sign up at the site for a service that will email you one TIB each week. Me, I still like to open the book and flip through it, reading and thinking about his ideas and their relevancy to today. I think what Bill was doing with his TIBs was a sort of analog blogging. Most of the memos, if produced today, could be blog posts and some of the more concise thoughts would fit perfectly into the limited number of characters for a tweet. So to bring his TIBs into today's world so others can also discover or rediscover a designer, practitioner, researcher and educator who believed that learning never stops, every now and then I'm going to add my thoughts and post or tweet a flashback quote from Bill Caudill. Enjoy and learn.

26 December 67 WWC


It is adquate when one has 1) developed sufficient skills, 2) absorbed every possible detail of knowledge, and 3) accumulated enough experience to ensure reasonable solutions to problems encountered by new work. Without all three -- skills, knowledge, and experience -- the architect is hard pressed to operate with any degree of competency.

If he hopes for precision in architectural practice, let's say the design approach, he must face the realization that education must continue at a greater pace than he experienced at the university.

This I believe.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I may have to sign up for those weekly emails!