Education of an Architect

There is much discussion in the Academic world about the current state of the architectural profession.  Most of this centers around the thought that the 'traditional" office structure of one or two Principal Architects surrounded by additional Architects and various support staff is dead or dying.  The alternative is a world of collaboration where everyone has an equal seat at the table and no one, certainly not an Architect is in charge. The problems with this scenario are numerous; First if the goal of Architecture is to actually build, both structures and spaces (I know this is not the prevailing thinking in many arenas), then somebody needs to lead otherwise nothing gets past the idea stage which in my opinion is not Architecture, it is simply that, an Idea. Second regardless of what the Academic elite want us to think it is still and likely for some time to come exactly the traditional office which is building.  Ironically some point to the decreasing size of major Architectural firms and the increasing number of small 2-10 person office which are proliferating since there are not many jobs to go around.  I think that is great, if you look at most small offices they embody the "independent genius" model made popular by Ayn Rand and demonized by academics in recent years. Lastly although it may change some day states license individuals, not companies, not collaborations, not groups, individuals.  No matter how a project of any significant size and many smaller but no less important ones, gets designed, before it is permitted and constructed someone stamps and signs each sheet, Architect, Engineer, Landscape Architect or other professional puts their name and license on the line. This in order to protect the life safety an welfare of the public, not I think a bad thing.

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3 Responses to Education of an Architect

  1. E. Sinclair says:

    My humble opinion is that "yes" there will be more "collaborative" environments within the world of architecture and construction. Yes, there will be cross-over between disciplines and trades people. But, more importantly…"YES", there will always be one person who has the last say and signs on the dotted line. Why?  Because, in this world where we all in this business have been badly-bruised, wounded, or severely scared by the last 2 years—success is now based on not going forward alone. Historically, solo Architects have always had to have many tools in their back pocket, but now they require multiple personalities to survive. Think…sole Architects now needing to be their own developers, web-designers, marketing agents, graphic designers, accountants, and the list goes on. Though, as a collaboration or co-op, everyone in the group can benefit from the strengths of others…but only the registered/ licensed with rise to the top. My concern for architectural education is based only on my personal observations. In the last 4 years, I have seen BArch and MArch’s come into the profession without many basic skills. I’m talking significant deficiencies! The inability to properly read drawings, understanding the meaning behind line weights, complete lack of regard for hierarchy or hell—life safety priority and protocols…and don’t get me started on “systems”.  If architectural education is left much longer to the “theorists”…pure architecture we die. So, perhaps if architecture schools fail and close; people will flock to the offices of registered professionals for their education—maybe then the profession can survive.

  2. Janai says:

    This is an ariltce that makes you think “never thought of that!”

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