1 (10) 2010
ARCHITECTURE AND MODERN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES
INTERNATIONAL ELECTRONIC SCIENTIFIC - EDUCATIONAL JOURNAL ON SCIENTIFIC-TECHNOLOGICAL AND EDUCATIONAL-METHODICAL ASPECTS OF MODERN ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION AND DESIGNING WITH THE USAGE OF VIDEO AND COMPUTER TECHNOLOGIES
|Article||GENERALIST OR SPECIALIST?|
|Authors||Frank Petzold, Gerhard Schubert, Faculty of Architecture, TU München, Germany|
The profession of the architect is closely tied to changes in society and correspondingly subject to ongoing deliberations on the changing demands of planning and building. Factors that influence this include technological developments, changing values in society and changes in the organisation and production processes of cities and buildings. Today, architects need a combination of technical, artistic and aesthetic, sociological, organisational and economic skills.
Ideally, the architect is a competent partner for all aspects of a project, representing the interests of the clients on the one hand and society and the community on the other. But above a certain size of project, a single architect is unable to assume responsibility for all the tasks of the master builders of old. He is, however, as a product of his training and interdisciplinary knowledge, the only person who is able to communicate and coordinate the project idea which he created. In such circumstances he acts as a directing coordinator, the lead manager of an interdisciplinary process – he uses his knowledge as a generalist. In other cases, architects are also involved as specialists responsible for a sub-aspect of larger interdisciplinary projects. For certain kinds of planning tasks, architects often specialise on such sub-aspects, for example on design, project controlling or supervision of construction works – professional niches within the profile of an architect.
The education of architects needs to respond to the breadth of different activities that architects undertake. Instead of specialist knowledge, education must actively communicate a broad range of general knowledge to provide a basis and strategies for students to pursue their own professional interests and skills in further education and life-long continuing professional development. Technological proficiency, creative and visionary skills and a sense of responsibility towards both the client and public in general are the central pillars of the profession. When used responsibly and conscientiously they lead to buildings that are well-planned and constructed and contribute in general to furthering architecture as a whole. The changing context in which architects work has implications for the profession and the occupation of architects. Architects are increasingly being brought in as a part of larger, complex project management teams. Here architects need to actively pursue and shape collaboration with other partners in the construction process – to seek cooperation instead of competition. The fact that architects are increasingly called upon to work as part of more complex value chains requires a greater readiness to provide not only the entire range of services as detailed in the HOAI (the German fee and services scale for architects) but also individual services and fragmentary contributions.
The need for architects to concentrate more on particular services has led to the coining of a new understanding of architects as “generalists with core competencies”. While architectural offices may wish to clearly define their area of expertise and the direction they want to move in, market forces may require them to find a balance between specialisation and a breadth of services in order to flexibly react to market demands. At the same time the clients in the marketplace would prefer to deal with one partner who is able to offer a variety of integrated services. To be able to respond to this, architects will increasingly be called upon to offer their services as a network, both in the form of collaborations but also together with other related disciplines. Only then will they be able to tackle complex building tasks while remaining flexible enough to reach to changing demands in the market place. Lastly, the profession of the architect and his role in the construction sector is also changing as a factor of technological advances, both in construction as well as information technology.
The paper describes how teaching and research at the Faculty of Architecture of the TU München is responding to the changing profession and role of the architect. The article focuses on the different aspects of the curriculum of the diploma studies programme (currently being replaced by a bachelor and masters programme) and selected special courses on offer in the field of architecture informatics.
|Keywords:||education, computer science in aarchitecture, computer pool, digital production, parametric design, diploma|