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The changing role of the architect

Submitted on: Sat, 23 Apr 2011 05:51:56Views: 382
Architects have previously occupied an uneasy territory on the edge of traditional market forces in the economy: a professional path that continually strides between commercial practice and artistic endeavour.

â?¢ This split between market forces and artistic endeavour has been highlighted in the past by not competing on price: with profession wide set fee scales. Architects are no longer restricted on the fees that may be charged, and now compete on performance & added value services.

â?¢ The status of the architect comes with responsibilities. Their role as a professional has been traditionally valued â?? as they are able to be trusted to place clientsâ?? interests before their own personal gain. This is Illustrated by architects fees being determined as a percentage of the value of a project. Also the architect is aware of their social responsibilities: creating buildings for all of their users â?? not just the client that pays for them.

â?¢ Architects have a role in limiting any impact on a neighbour or passer byâ??s amenity. They must achieve these aims (and balance them with personal convictions) through conversation with others. An architect must initially be a skilled listener in public consultations; and then be able to interpret of the requirements of others, and subsequently act as a negotiator and a convincing speaker to describe the merit of a scheme The architectâ??s role changes substantially post contract: from initially acting in the interest of the client during the design stages â?? to becoming a mediator and impartial administrator after the contract is placed.

â?¢ The relationship with the client often goes beyond a professional one; architects have to be friends with their clients. Over half of all jobs in the UK come from repeat clients.

â?¢ Architects must have an ability to negotiate carefully with their own clients to sell their work and explain the merit of good design â?? Successful architects are able to explain the merits of design in ways that the client understands: â??I can increase productivity by making your office a better place to workâ?? â??raise your corporate profile through iconic designâ?? rather than discussing the â??juxtaposition of fair faced concrete with natural timber flooring.â??

â?¢ Architects can no longer rely on design talent â?? they now have to be highly skilled managers to succeed in practice. In many cases clients are efficient business organisations and they expect their architect to be the same.

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