By: Andreas Batsilas
There are some days that you wake up and you just want to write. Today was one of those days. I had this strange feeling that this was the time to start addressing a subject that has been bothering me for a long time. From the first year of my studies I was prepared to be able to draw in scale, to know how long a corridor should be and how to make a building energy efficient. Besides the few basics about cooperation we have learnt from the teams we formed on big projects we know nothing about management and working with other people.
Now, as a senior student I have come to notice that this is not enough. I would even dare to say that an architect is a manager. He is the one who is responsible for the final result. He is the one who is organizing and assigning jobs to everyone related to the project; from other engineers to workers and contracted companies. As any other modern manager, in contrast to all other professionals who know and understand only the part they are responsible for, he is the only one who knows how the building, object or city will be after completion, when all knowledge and work are combined under his supervision.
Architecture school is way too focused in design and doesn’t provide but few knowledge about how this design is going to come to life. It is obvious to me that the people that the architecture community calls “star-architects”, are not the most talented designers, but the ones who were able to pull a team together and manage that team to success. They were able to form offices that employ hundreds of people who are working for a common purpose. They understood a bit about logistics and they managed to create a business able to survive in the market and be competitive. They cooperated with other professionals and guided them towards what they believed to be the best final result.
It is a fact that whoever is able to manage and lead a bigger or smaller architecture firm can visualize his thoughts easier than people who don’t have those tools on their skill-set. His designs can come to life, even if they are inferior to others’. How can we acquire those skills? Actually, it is not only about management, because in order to get assigned jobs an architecture office should be more popular and be trusted more than the rest. That has to be related to marketing. Pricing has a great deal to do, as well, whether it is you or another firm that gets a job. The more I think of it the more I find that the design is only a part of what we will be called to do in order to be able to do architecture. The more I think of it new aspects pop and I can’t find an answer to what skills I should have to survive as an architect.
As this is just an article it must come to an end and I have to admit that I just touched the surface of the subject that I wanted to address, but I am a bit more certain that architecture is connected with management, logistics, marketing and a whole other set of skills and sciences an architect should be familiar with to excel. I also feel like doing a bit more digging on the subject so I can provide more and actually useful conclusions and not just thoughts but still, I hope I did provide some food for thought at least.
Till next time…
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