The role of the architect

One fundamental skill in developing one to be an architect is the ability to critique. Architecture Criticism is a skill that is difficult to master if you do not practice enough, i.e. expressing your thoughts and ideas. Do not hide away underneath your shell.

For our theory and philosophy class, students in a group of 3 persons interviewed an architect (Serina Hijjas, Khor Jee Ee, Ngiom and Lok Wooi). The architect besides fulfilling the professional body’s guidelines, also have other roles to play in society such as:

Architect as enabler/ moderator / facilitator/initiator
Architect as activist or change agent
Architect as educationist
Architect as innovator

Why it is important that architect play the role of:

(1) enabler / moderator / facilitator/initiator; depending on the area of expertise, the architect trained to be a leader in the consultation team and knowledge in fields related to architecture such as urban design, culture and context , sustainability, can also play a part in leading the critical discussion in land reforms, urbanisation issues, transportation, development, local authorities policies and implementation of guidelines or even smaller concerns in teh neighbourhood he/she lives in. The architect should provide his/her expert advice if there are problems in crime and safety in his/her neighbourhood for example.

(2) activist or change agent; again, depending on the area of expertise, the architect trained to be a leader have the skills to lead change or be himself a change agent where social injustice prevailed, such as design problems like poor pavement design, no proper crossings, poor access, poor facilities by leading or giving ideas to the local authorities or developer to make a better design for all users. In areas such as poor development, architects can go in and give some advice on how to make housing for the poor better and so on.

(3) educationist; the architect especially after a few years experience can contribute his time and expertise to assist schools of architecture in critiques or join forums and discussions by unversities and the professional bodies to generate and sharing knowledge. The experience that the architects gained would be a valuable thing for all to gain from.

(4) innovator; the architect can visualise and create solutions to society’s problems.

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