The focus of this blog is construction-related topics. The purpose is discussion, so please feel free to comment! See Specific thoughts for thoughts from the daily life of a specifier.

23 July 2012

What happened to the architect?

We started this series of articles with a question - What happened to the master builder? - and went on to talk about how the architect no longer is the master builder of old, for a couple of reasons. First, the continual increase in construction products, methods, and computer technology makes it virtually impossible for any one person to know all there is to know about construction, or even a significant part of it, and, more important, there was a conscious effort to divorce architects from hands-on experience and technical knowledge. Finally, as we will see, architects themselves have, through contract documents, reduced their importance, at the same time increasing the importance of the contractor.

Today, no one expects a single person to know all about construction today, but a semblance of a master builder can be found in the collective knowledge of an architectural firm and its consultants. However, because of the lasting impact of the design-bid-build process, there remains a schism between the design and construction activities of architecture.

Which, of course, means that an architect, in the original meaning of the word, no longer exists, or at least is rare.