Bringing back value to the ArchitectWith the diminishing role of the architect, it is important thatwe show and understand the value that architects bring to a project. With thetraditional procurement route being replaced in favour of design and buildcontracts and construction management contracts, more and more clients areapproaching builders for project and construction advice meaning that our roleas the creative consultant is being lost to others in the constructionindustry. If we continue with this trend of having roles delegated to others,what we will be left with are architects who designs and draws ‘prettypictures’. If this is the case, what is the point of training seven years tobecome someone who draws CAD drawings for somebody else’s design.
With new emerging technologies, there are opportunities where thearchitect can create value for themselves by taking control of new emergingresponsibilities through educating and better preparing themselves in advance.As mentioned in the previous essay, a constant learning process such as PostOccupancy Evaluation, can show the client how architects can bring value to aproject. It can also help the architects develop their skills with these newemerging responsibilities by documenting what works and what doesn’t; howarchitects can improve and develop their skills; and also find ways to bettercollaborate with other new emerging roles, or rather existing roles.Architecture is seen as a luxury, with many clients opting out ofhiring an architect in favour with going straight to someone like a builder orconsultant to help reduce costs.
But studies have shown that those who do hirearchitects are more satisfied with their projects than those who hire anon-architect. So it is the job for the architect to show their value andrelevance to the client. A solution to adding value to the architectOne way to add value to the architect is by the knowledge,experience and the value they can add to a project.
As mentioned before POEgives an opportunity to reflect on past projects and to let them know what wentwrong and what went well and also to specialise in certain areas of the architecturalprocess.Large practices can do this in-house as they have the resources tohave their own specialised sectors. But small to medium practices will suffermost due to lack of resources and also lack of experience on certain project.A solution to this would be to have a networked practice anddatabase where smaller to medium sized practices would form together to createa membership based organisation who share a pool of knowledge and experience.Practices can contribute together a shared knowledge of informationcontributing to a project that practice is working on. The database would onlybe available to members of the organisation.A networked practice can provide collaboration and the sharedresources which remove the barriers of a construction project, and also itcreates libraries of knowledge which lets architects practice their specialisedskills are needed.
It gives the opportunity for members to find partners towork on a project together creating a stronger project. This also gives practicesan opportunity to work on a project which they may not have had much experiencein, which will expand their business portfolio, which will increase theirchances of getting more jobs in the future.To provide collaboration between the construction industry, thenetwork practice is not limited to architects. The network practice is open toother professions of the construction industry such as quantity surveyorsengineers, and academics.
By opening up the network to academia, it is possible foruniversities to share research in the networks as well. This comes as anadvantage for both the universities and also business. It provides schools ofarchitecture with a database of information.
This can also benefit the practiceas the practice will develop a relationship with students potentially beingfuture employees who will know have knowledge of the practice.Examples of networked practicesThere have already been successful networked practices. Practicessuch as ‘JAMB’ and ‘New network are examples of this. (archdaily) JAMB alsolooked to create a membership-based organisation where practices can join theirresources enabling them to become larger players in a competitive world(archdaily) New netWORK focuses on a cooperative network of professionals whichincreases accessibility of research as well and build collaboration betweenarchitects, researchers and other professions of the built environment.An argument against this idea would be to question why anarchitect practice share knowledge they have acquired going through the work?As mentioned earlier, the construction industry is changing which will affectthe architectural profession.
would be the small to medium practices which will suffer the most(Future for architects) they will lose out jobs or roles to bigger practiceswho have more experience from their vast portfolio. With a networked practice,smaller to medium practices can compete by having a shared information at theirdisposal.