Bringing back value to the Architect
With the diminishing role of the architect, it is important that
we show and understand the value that architects bring to a project. With the
traditional procurement route being replaced in favour of design and build
contracts and construction management contracts, more and more clients are
approaching builders for project and construction advice meaning that our role
as the creative consultant is being lost to others in the construction
industry. If we continue with this trend of having roles delegated to others,
what we will be left with are architects who designs and draws ‘pretty
pictures’. If this is the case, what is the point of training seven years to
become someone who draws CAD drawings for somebody else’s design.
With new emerging technologies, there are opportunities where the
architect can create value for themselves by taking control of new emerging
responsibilities through educating and better preparing themselves in advance.
As mentioned in the previous essay, a constant learning process such as Post
Occupancy Evaluation, can show the client how architects can bring value to a
project. It can also help the architects develop their skills with these new
emerging responsibilities by documenting what works and what doesn’t; how
architects can improve and develop their skills; and also find ways to better
collaborate with other new emerging roles, or rather existing roles.
Architecture is seen as a luxury, with many clients opting out of
hiring an architect in favour with going straight to someone like a builder or
consultant to help reduce costs. But studies have shown that those who do hire
architects are more satisfied with their projects than those who hire a
non-architect. So it is the job for the architect to show their value and
relevance to the client.
A solution to adding value to the architect
One way to add value to the architect is by the knowledge,
experience and the value they can add to a project. As mentioned before POE
gives an opportunity to reflect on past projects and to let them know what went
wrong and what went well and also to specialise in certain areas of the architectural
Large practices can do this in-house as they have the resources to
have their own specialised sectors. But small to medium practices will suffer
most due to lack of resources and also lack of experience on certain project.
A solution to this would be to have a networked practice and
database where smaller to medium sized practices would form together to create
a membership based organisation who share a pool of knowledge and experience.
Practices can contribute together a shared knowledge of information
contributing to a project that practice is working on. The database would only
be available to members of the organisation.
A networked practice can provide collaboration and the shared
resources which remove the barriers of a construction project, and also it
creates libraries of knowledge which lets architects practice their specialised
skills are needed. It gives the opportunity for members to find partners to
work on a project together creating a stronger project. This also gives practices
an opportunity to work on a project which they may not have had much experience
in, which will expand their business portfolio, which will increase their
chances of getting more jobs in the future.
To provide collaboration between the construction industry, the
network practice is not limited to architects. The network practice is open to
other professions of the construction industry such as quantity surveyors
engineers, and academics.
By opening up the network to academia, it is possible for
universities to share research in the networks as well. This comes as an
advantage for both the universities and also business. It provides schools of
architecture with a database of information. This can also benefit the practice
as the practice will develop a relationship with students potentially being
future employees who will know have knowledge of the practice.
Examples of networked practices
There have already been successful networked practices. Practices
such as ‘JAMB’ and ‘New network are examples of this. (archdaily) JAMB also
looked to create a membership-based organisation where practices can join their
resources enabling them to become larger players in a competitive world
(archdaily) New netWORK focuses on a cooperative network of professionals which
increases accessibility of research as well and build collaboration between
architects, researchers and other professions of the built environment.
An argument against this idea would be to question why an
architect practice share knowledge they have acquired going through the work?
As mentioned earlier, the construction industry is changing which will affect
the 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 practices
who have more experience from their vast portfolio. With a networked practice,
smaller to medium practices can compete by having a shared information at their