What does the future hold for the role of the architect? Several articles on the topic – from one in Scandinavian magazine Conditions to the RIBA report “The Future For Architects?” – got people talking. This is a snapshot from the exhaustive conversation.

Typically the services of an architect can be broadly divided into three phases […] The design phase typically moves through three stages: briefing discussions to clarify your requirements; sketch designs to explore possibilities; usually including some cost options; design development to produce detailed drawings and selection of materials, fittings etc and associated cost.”

“Two issues are working together to reduce the traditional role of the architect; one, the forces beyond architecture, which have positioned the profession in a marginalised role; two, the extent to which the profession has been complicit in reinforcing its reduced role by responding slowly to these forces and/or adopting the role and rhetoric of a victim to forces beyond one’s control […] the outcome is that the architect has gradually been replaced in the making of cities by the strategic designer, the management consultant and the futurologist.”
—Gerard Reinmuth
Conditions, issue 8, 2011

“Perhaps ‘building’ is no longer the most appropriate venue for the aspirations of ‘architecture.’”
—Jeremycomment via

“Many practitioners are not ‘architects’ in the formal sense recognised by the RIBA [Royal Institute of British Architects] and the ARB [Architects Registration Board], yet still have a significant role in affecting the built environment; this prompts the question whether the RIBA might need to consider evolving the 20th century definition of what it means to be an architect in order to fit better with the broader 21st century reality of the profession, or whether the title should be used at all.”
—“The Future For Architects?”
Building Futures, RIBA

“RIBA annnounce the death of the architect and the rise of the Spatial Agent.”
—Jeremytill (Jeremy Till)
via Twitter

“I’m only radical because the profession has got lost. Architects are such a dull lot – and they’re so convinced that they matter.”
—Cedric Price
source unknown

“My guess would be that at least 2/3 of bldg industry has yet to accept the authority of any architect …”
—steveparnell (Steve Parnell)
via Twitter

“The architectural capacity to think and design in three and four dimensions, our highly developed spatial intelligence, was overlooked, and for the profession space became, by default, something that resulted from what was construction … What if our forebears had professionalised architecture around spatial intelligence rather than the technologies of shelter? Might society find it easier to recognise what is unique about what our kind of thinking can offer?”
—Leon van Schaik
Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture, 2008

“A retreat from politics to “design research” just sticks our head deeper into the sand.”
—Robdutton (Robert Dutton)
via Twitter

“What is unfortunate though is that critics of architecture’s social and political role can endlessly refer to the discredited aspirations of modernism as fuel for their argument that this is a fundamentally flawed ambition, and that sorting out society’s ills may well be beyond the purview of architects.”
—Melanie Dodd
“The Architecture of Action,” Australian Design Review, 21 April 2010

“I do not want to lose the subject of architecture in a morass of sociological, psychological or artistic speculation, but to try to develop the understanding of the distinct contribution that architecture can make in defining the common ground of the city.”
—David Chipperfield
press release on the 2012 Venice Biennale theme Common Ground,

“I hope Australia’s contribution to the Biennale will be to show ways that various architectural ‘formations’ can supplement the skills of architects with the skills of many others to bring about new solutions and expand both the practice and definition of architecture. The various ‘formations’ presented in Venice all use architectural skills not with the aim of creating more architecture but to expand the reach and scope of what architecture can contribute, to increase the common ground.”
—Paul Pholeros (Healthabitat)



Published online: 4 Jun 2012


Architecture Australia, March 2012

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