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Architecture as a Profession

In recent years there have been several external forces that which have influenced the nature of professional practice of architecture. They include the impact of the recession, with its repercussions of unemployment and project curtailment, increases in productivity through the introduction of computers, telecommunication, and other electronic media, the decline in the perception of the architect's value, and loss of turf to other professionals. This paper will focus on where the profession of architecture is headed, with respect to discussing possible solutions to these problems.

In 1993, the distinguished Italian architect Giancarlo De Carlo was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects. In his acceptance speech, De Carlo describes the transformation of architecture from the vanity and arrogance of the past to a responsible engagement with society and the environment. According to De Carlo, the old technology, which yielded glorious results until the first quarter of this century, was found of necessity on an attitude of "exclusion." Due to practical limitations, structural engineers tended to minimize the variables under consideration, so they began excluding those that were more unpredictable and unstable--and were left with the more uninteresting possibilities. Architecture is also facing the crisis of the great political systems which had founded their fortunes on the predominance of economy and on the irresistible march of progress. Communism has collapsed and one can predict that capitalism will soon follow, since it has been left an orphan of an antagonist which no longer forces it to be so strong. The recent disappearance of the bureaucrat client will probably be soon followed by the disappearance of the financier client; in fact the Western world is almost everywhere depressed by an alarming crisis of the building trade. Yet in the present and in the future, De ...

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