The Expanding Foundation Of The Architecture Profession
Architecture has long been practiced and conceptually discussed at the highest levels of society.
What has changed in recent years is the meaning of the word highest. It now includes a refinement of social values and a much more sophisticated understanding of the workings of the world.
When stone and iron were cut and smelted by artisans, who drew upon traditions learned through apprenticeship, the highest meaning was to recall the classical age, limited in form and in the basis of values to the philosophy of the ancients.
Technology That Drives Refinement
The development of industrial process and the understanding of science brought the level of meaning to that of chemistry and a most refined philosophy. As the values of cultures evolved and merged in a process of globalisation industrial nations required an educated population. There has been a need for connectedness via more broadly shared values that has been reflected in architecture and perhaps even driven by it to some extent.
Today, the professional architect is still a leader in the thought and design of societies and communities in which culture grows and thrives. In practical terms the designer of buildings is set free and unlimited in the potential by the scope of modern technology. Modern materials science, combined with engineering and the power of digital rendering limit the vision of the architects only to the physical laws of nature at the grandest scale and the financial constraints of the patron.
Residential And Local Opportunities
The expansion of influences and possibilities has been matched by the growing accessibility of architectural design to a wider audience. What would have been the province of elite institutions in past eras is now available to patrons of comparative modest means. This is evident in the revitalisation of communities that originally formed around simple and repetitive designs.
Post-war austerity imposed a drab conventionality, which dictated the form of many housing estates, has been revamped to reflect the affluence of the new occupants. Mature neighbourhoods tend to decay if they are left untended. Fortunately the demand for quality residential accommodation has given rise to the gradual and continuous redevelopment and rehabilitation of homes of little character, bringing to them a contemporary flare that reflects the personalities of the people who own them.
This is a vital process of growth and renewal that underpins the profession of architecture. Rather than a remote and detached elite, the contemporary architect has many more opportunities for commissions and to put their marks on the landscape. Many recent use-cases have shown that successful suburban residential refurbishment can have all of the excitement and career-making celebration of a design for a symphony hall.
Thrusting Up By Expanding Out
The most grand of today’s structures are still the preserve of the international elite of the profession. However, the base of the business of building design and architecture has broadened significantly into a solid foundation. This provides opportunities for the ambitious young architect to make a name and grow a practice.
It also means that the competition for the right to design the most famous structures, such as international airport terminals or towering skyscrapers, will give rise to the most powerful and imaginative designs possible. The references to which award-winning designs refer feeds back to inspire even greater designs.
The dialogue that drives the finest architecture takes place on a global scale. It offers an enriched community and opportunity to participate as homeowners look to designers to bring life to old structures and to share the wealth of the revitalised built environment with entire communities.
Staff Contribution | Thought Leadership
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