Justin Evatt - Senior Architect at Jasmax Architectural Firm on the Shift in Values in Today's Business Context

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Justin Evatt - Senior Architect at Jasmax Architectural Firm on the Shift in Values in Today's Business Context

We have empathy. We walk in the shoes of others and care how we affect the world around us.
We have open minds. We value creativity and collaboration when solving problems.
We trust our people. We back people to achieve the remarkable.
We are future focused. Through our actions and behaviour we aim to leave the world in a better place.

The above is what Justin feels is a crucial part of how our future is created – that in a business sense the values are brought to the fore to just remind all the players within the business and around the business, of what we are there for and how we support each other and how we work together to enable better outcomes.

Justin see values as a pivotal issue as he sees our societal values are changing at a deep level and he feels it is quite problematic and is something that has to be addressed so the business is leading the way as they spend a lot of time at work.

Also, a lot of us build our social networks around our work. So that work is not separate as to who we are, it’s part of who we are and that value alignments need to be in place between our workplace and ourselves and as values shift and change he has noticed over the years that a lot of people’s values systems have become very focussed around materialism and monetarist outcomes.

An example of this, say 20 years ago, when he was first getting into architecture he would hear chit chat around a building site, where the various contractors and builders would be talking about how proud they were on what part of the job they had completed and what a fine building it was. Also, that they were happy to see such a professional outcome and that was the kind of discussion being satisfaction and fulfilment in what they had achieved.

Whereas recently there has been somewhat of a huge shift which he terms the ‘do little - take more’ type of attitude which seems quite prevalent as well as actually being celebrated in our society to some degree especially via the media - where he sees money making as an end in itself. Which is a value system that needs to be addressed going forward.

He says that there is an importance to go back to the value systems that is found really deep in our bones which is looking after each other and being responsible and doing the right thing by each other and taking pride in what we do and these kind of things.

(And this is in the first 3 minutes!)

Justin also says that he is fortunate, and it is what you know, and it is what you are born with – he strongly believes that these feelings, thoughts and ways are basically latent and inherent within us, it just needs the correct environment (family) to draw them out and have them validate themselves.

He gives examples of community engagement where he was able to facilitate and bring together all the people and components together where he asked questions and listened intently and was able to draw out stakeholders, who had no experience in a large business context - the end result was a very cohesive and successful conclusion with the building of the Whangarei Library.

Covering building materials, choosing to have hands-on-building as against a very mechanistic model - which is based on contracting individuals or firms to compete to complete the job, and the contracting becomes more important than the actual outcome which becomes very focussed on industry supplies, the ingredients from a factory and it all slots together and there you are in your completed packaged box of a home.

Whereas in the Tuhoe open space building in the Urewera, the game plan was to empower the local Iwi to source all their materials from their own land, which they venerated, and no doubt with karakia (prayer) they were able to individually select and harvest their own timber out of bush as well as mud for making mud brick. They also had special mud brick specialists come and teach them the skills of how to make mud bricks and have them learn to become teachers themselves - giving them a localised skill for continuing building projects in the area. All, these procedures validated for them their spiritual connection to the land.

So that the many people, who learnt how to make bricks can go into that building and see the very bricks that they hand-made and can connect with the land where the earth came from – where they remember the day that they made those bricks and it brings a deeper connection for all involved to the spirit of community around the making of place.

This project was a proper commercial project however they embedded values that were based on win win, and that the Tuhoe would be able to up-skill their people in the process. The intent that was placed onto this project brought about a wonderful cohesion that allowed the Tuhoe to virtually merge with their building as an organic extension of themselves.

http://www.ngaituhoe.iwi.nz/te-kura-whare

Justin conveyed that when building together the end result is we wind-up belonging more to our built environment rather than our built environment being maybe something separate from the natural environment. That they become engaged with each other and start to overlap with each other.

Justin implies that instead of us having outside sources plan and contract - via contractors a housing development that has essentially (no mana) no vibe, (lacking feng shui) - that when we commit to work and co-operate together in a group context we start to self-organise at a level that nearly has a mysterious dimension to it and synchronistic happenings can emerge that are completely ‘out of the blue’ establishing a magical coherence that all participants energetically feel and nearly a transcendent (my interpretation) quality embeds itself in the community.

The interview continues that: We are not separate as a species at all, we are part of the living world and part of the material world, we are made of the elements of our planet. He says that the acknowledgement for us is believing that we are part of a bigger context and really knowing that – and we only do that by engaging and being part of what we do and he says that’s where the investment that’s made into buildings can actually be quite transformative for people and culture and back to values again.

Then he discusses that challenges in the building trade Covering wood products, the toxins in wood within the pine industry in NZ.The growing waste streams from the building industry, dumpsters and skips on a building site, very complex, e.g with a large amounts of building waste, timber off cuts full of copper chrome and arsenic treatments , old paint tins glue tins, light bulbs with mercury vapour not being disposed off properly, wall boards that could have been recycled – so many toxic products and that skip then goes off to a landfill.

When this household and industrial waste goes to a landfill and eventually the landfill is turned into an area where buildings are placed and having to cope with out gassing of methane and other toxic reminders of not being mindful in the first place and just by throwing stuff out, that we did not want to be responsible for – into the rubbish bin and by default ending in dump, in this case, at Meola road Point Chevalier landfill, just meters from the Auckland harbour.

So there are consequences and we are having to pay for our reckless behaviour and this is going to be intergenerational due to the precautionary approach, not being present in our vocabulary. Yet, in the 1960’s and 70s, even the Flower Power generation were languaging proper recycling and disposal back then. But, in fact these landfills are coming back to haunt us in our own generation due to our continued throwaway behaviour, ‘out of sight out of mind – couldn’t care less’ consumer culture that we are currently engaged in burying ourselves in.

And today a school is being built on that very landfill waste and it is costing the tax and ratepayers millions and this is here in NZ and we have not being occupying this place for very long.

Change has happened surprisingly quickly. Having to since the 2nd World War deal with the exponential increase of the toxic petrochemical realm that has got right into every single element of the building trade. Like paints, rubber seals around windows and the glues the treatments we have, the adhesives for carpets, the foams in our chairs – everything has toxic stuff in it.

Also, the term Cradle to Cradle comes up and that Nature does not have a concept of waste. There is no waste in nature because everything bio degrades and breaks down as part of nature’s process. It always feeds something else in the food chain. It is a closed system and our planet is biologically organised, with everything tightly coupled with everything else in its niche within the web of life - as a self sustaining system that is seamlessly integrated and the elements relive again and again in another form.

Waste is a human concept that in a well integrated harmonious homeostatic planetary system - there should not be any waste whatsoever.

Recycling is very good, but even better by reusing stuff - in this case Avondale college where Justin was involved in. Old buildings were taken down and the timbers that were still of high quality first generation NZ hardwoods were shipped up to Fiji, same for roofing iron. Justin then says that it is disheartening having to destroy something that has had a long worthwhile history by taking it apart however, out of that there should be a phoenix - a re-life - there needs to be something new that comes out of the old, out of the dismantling. And in this case, they stacked up the timber and are now reusing it in their technology department making furniture etc including the struts or columns of a new atrium. So, good quality Matai and Rimu is again finding a new life.

This story is getting back to old pupils and they are returning to the college to see that the old buildings are holding up the new, evidently, it nearly brings them to tears it makes them feel that they still belong to a ‘place’ that assisted them through life.

Covering also, the housing challenge of affordable high quality, warm, light filled homes and the financial heavy lifting of finance. First how do we engage the people who are controlling or managing or directing the industry and so forth and it is premised in the intent, of having very clear vision and processes around establishing vision and then have a strategic approach in delivering to a vision AND this is the part that is missing (listen in to take this further)

It comes down to values – sharing more – positive stories

Today in the commercial world having to deal with a mindset of a quarterly return in the corporate sector is a challenge for us all.

You can’t defer profits for 2 years out to do something else – the shareholders are very needy so the industry is now locked into a cycle of having to make a profit at all costs – these are systemic issues that are going on …

Covers: community links, connection, regeneration, holistic systems

His visit to Portland in Oregon USA and its advanced systems of integration of housing and transport would be an excellent model for Auckland if our Council wanted to jolt themselves out of its complacency.

Of Innovative ways of enabling community to come together in an area and build houses, and engaging people to take part in the whole process of organising and then self-organising - collective approaches to building homes in an intentional community – people can self organise when given a space and a forum to do that and it’s a facilitative approach.

Viva Eco village in Christchurch after the earthquake

http://thevivaproject.org.nz/?page_id=317&paged=2

This situation could be said to have experienced a type of Jungian collective consciousness or group consciousness as they co-operate and co-create their unfolding future ?

Need for local government is to bring in the wider community interests always.

Justin has seen a shift and it is increasing - especially in the last 4 years – the changes are happening and they are already here …

We are also fortunate that tangata whenua is very much embedded in our language and in Law that there is really nowhere in the world, especially the wider world where we have used an indigenous vocabulary to signify place.

With Iwi, tribes, throughout Aotearoa now becoming financially stronger, there is a very real possibility that they will build intentional marae’s and bring about a whole new possibility for Maori once again to live in a cohesive community setting. And with living buildings setting the template for innovative dwellings and Whare Nui’s.

Something that NZ needs to work with – to be-friend and empower.

The overall gist is that we need to become far more responsible as adults and really factor our children’s future into all facets of our living and decision making.

The Evatt Family - see below.

http://www.greenplanetfm.com/members/greenradio/blog/VIEW/00000001/00000282/Chris-Evatt---Entrepren eur-Business-Mentor-and-Assister-of-Non-Government-Organisations.html#00000282

http://www.greenplanetfm.com/members/greenradio/blog/VIEW/00000001/00000294/Jonathan-Evatt-on-the-C olumbian-Native-Kogi-and-their-message-for-humanity.html#00000294

http://www.greenplanetfm.com/members/greenradio/blog/VIEW/00000001/00000352/Jonathan-Evatt-Author-T eacher-Mentor-on-the-Subtle-Aspects-of-Life-and-the-True-Nature-of-Man.html#00000352

 

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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