Why we need architects

Bad experience shows their value – after all

The architect originated as somebody who designed a building and was responsible for its delivery, but somewhere along the line, that came to be seen as ridiculously old fashioned. Architects were great at drawing, but what did they know about delivery, about programme and the bottom line. Surely contractors and everybody’s new favourite, the project manager could do better.

Starting from being an outsider view, this belief grew over the last couple of decades, so that now a vast number of projects are contractor led. Which is of course the modern way. Having the architect in charge is hopelessly old-fashioned isn’t it, except for those odd individuals who care – yes really care, about the details of the shadow gap or the position of the light switches. In other words, it is only those with OCD who demand to have the architect in charge.

Or is it? There is something very cheering, albeit in a depressing way, about a storyin The Architects’ Journal today, saying ‘Reintroducing the role of design professionals on construction sites could help avoid a repetition of the building defects that closed 17 Edinburgh schools last year, according to Scotland’s architects’ professional body.’ Now there’s a radical thought – seems those architects may be quite useful after all. 

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