3 September 2012

Emerging Practice

The following was submitted to the Manchester School of Architecture as part of the BArch course 2011-12. This essay draws upon previous research, 'The Architecture of the Profession', for information about how to purchase a copy of the research please follow this link.

Fall From Grace

“Our engineers are healthy and virile, active and useful, balanced and happy in their work. Our architects are disillusioned and unemployed, boastful or peevish. This is because there will soon be nothing more for them to do. We no longer have the money to erect historical souvenirs. At the same time, we have got to wash! Our engineers provide for these things and they will be our builders.”
Le Corbusier, 1923 (1)

The architecture profession has its routes in antiquity, “documented as far back as the third millennium before Christ” whilst “graphic conventions of architectural practice make their appearance even earlier [in] the seventh millennium [BCE]”. (2) In the time of Plato architects “contributed knowledge, not craftsmanship” (3) whilst Vitruvius created “a portrait of the architect as a person of broad learning and various talents”. (4) However, the contemporary profession’s core ideals have changed little since Sir John Soane asserted that “he is the intermediate agent between employer and the mechanic”. (5) Thus the contemporary profession can be described as being conceived from 18th century ideals, operating in a profession designed in the 19th century, within construction processes formulated in the 20th century, attempting to meet the demands of the 21st century.

Between the 1960s and 1990s the image of the architect as a heroic form giver, epitomised by the character Howard Roark, was tarnished, “hunted down…by journalists, dragged out and charged with responsibility for Ronan Point, Broadwater Farm, comprehensive redevelopment, overspill estates and windswept plazas everywhere.” (6) Following a famous baiting from a Prince of the Realm architects began to cultivate a new position of trust, fed by a bonanza of Lottery and millennium funding, to return to the illusionary position of Roark. However, when the world’s financials markets collapsed architects found themselves “marginalised as a luxury” (7) that could be easily discarded, in desperate need of new models of practice.

Today three broad categories of ‘architect’ operate although typically a description of a profession split two ways is given, between the design- and executive-architect or the artist and the businessman. (8) However, a third architect that operates on the peripheries of both practices exists, the community- or citizen-architect. Fewer in number they position themselves as champions of social engagement within the profession. Whilst undoubtedly performing a great service, often to the most disadvantaged, to quote Sir David Chipperfield: “It is not an unreasonable presumption that the aim of good of architecture is to serve the public good and that most architects work with that intention”. (9) Further distinctions can be drawn between those who practice ‘paper architecture’ and those who take a more active role in the process of building. (10)

The New Normal

All decision making about the built environment can be described as an act of futurology. The “slow” nature of production makes architecture particularly susceptible to potential uncertainties which has led to architect’s distancing themselves from imagined futures, focused instead on achieving “some kind of intelligence about day-to-day decisions”. (11) However, this has resulted in a marginalised profession, left to “wonder what happened” as events passed them by. (12)

Despite “forebodings of disaster” (13) the financial crisis has not brought about the end of the world, the ensuing maelstrom though has “shifted considerably the landscape within which the architect must practice”. (14) This ‘new normal’ is still being defined, with a number of fundamental forces shaping the future context of architectural practice and as such discussions must not dwell only on economic considerations. These key drivers will have an impact on the production of the built environment over at least the next fifteen years, if not longer, and can be loosely described as follows:

  • The growing importance of the sustainability agenda—social, environmental and economical—as people become increasingly aware of climate change, resource depletion, and other global events impacting at the local scale.
  • The continued globalisation of culture, with the growing influence of emerging markets fuelled by China and India. (15)
  • An increasingly urbanized world that will see 75% of the population living in urban environments by 2050. (16)
  • The importance of achieving value in cost, time and quality, particularly in the wake of reduced public spending.
  • Improvements in digital technologies that will alter working patterns and procedures.
  • New construction technologies.
Each of these drivers is already influencing the architecture profession and as such embryonic models for future practice are emerging. At times the speed of change can be overwhelming however if architects begin to take a more active interest in the future they will be better able to prepare and ultimately shape that future. Throughout history architects have shown themselves to be remarkably flexible, flowing between various identities and polarities; it is not impossible to imagine that this flexibility will be applicable to future scenarios.

The success of these practices will be contingent on which assets they choose to invest both their time and capital in. When properly connected the four classes of asset—ideas (intellectual capital), image (symbolic capital), networks (social capital) and capabilities (implementation capital)—can “catapult firms from being above average to being exceptional” whilst targeted investment in one area further distinguishes them from their competitors. (17) The following emergent models—integrated, expert and networked—all demonstrate a strategy of maximising existing assets to develop strong, differentiated positions.

Integrated Practice

In the future the built environment industry is likely to be polarised into increasingly large and small firms. To take advantage of this large contractors and multi-disciplinary consultancies alike have the potential to expand both vertically and horizontally, integrating multiple stages of a project into a streamlined process, driving down costs, improving efficiencies and moving beyond traditional multi-disciplinary models. There is the potential, in large organisations, that more people are empowered to develop more innovative solutions than one person could alone. (18)

Practices demonstrating horizontal integration, such as Arup or BDP, offer a range of services that all occur at the same stage in a project’s lifetime and as such could be seen as part of the same stages of production. Through mergers, acquisitions and lateral expansion existing companies should look to consolidate their own place within the industry and achieve economies of scale and scope; lowering the average cost of providing those services and thus making them more competitive.

Vertical integration will become increasingly attractive to large contractors whom are looking to diversify their activities, in an attempt to make themselves less vulnerable in future downturns. (19) In order to provide more services ‘in house’ these companies will need to expand vertically through the supply chain. Movement towards integrated supply chains has already taken place, through modern procurement methods, with established benefits. (20) However, vertical integration moves past formalised supply chain management structures to internalise those relationships and control different stages of production. At present these models are most prominent in the United States; for example URS Corporation offer services “from inception through start-up and operation to decommissioning and closure”. (21)

Operations of this nature are differentiated from their design and build predecessors in that they offer post-occupancy services such as facilities management. It is not difficult to imagine non-contractors, with considerable experience and investment tied up in the management of the built environment, acquiring a construction or professional services arm to complement their existing operations. Expert clients or similar organisations with a track record in development, such as The Peel Group, Land Securities, or the Canary Wharf Group, (22) could also be well placed to enter into these markets, capitalising on their experience and managing their own risk. With them they would also bring experience in initiating projects, securing funding and business development practices. Taken to its logical conclusion this form of practice could see one company financing, building, owning and operating a building, without transferring it to another firm. (23) The increasing scale of these integrated operations “signals profound changes in critical parameters of practice, including capabilities to service clients globally; scalar issues of business risk and financial capacity tied to larger projects; and single-source responsibility tied to more integrated forms of project delivery.” (24)

It remains to be seen how readily these models will be taken up by architects and the architectural press, who seem, at times, to have an anathema towards ‘bigness’, as if ‘big’ is synonymous with ‘bad’. If architects want to continue to be involved in the processes that these organisations will undoubtedly begin to influence and control then they will have to overcome this aversion. Architects will be able to find a role within these organisations not only as designers but also in design management, coordination and leadership roles. A failure to do so will see architects increasingly marginalised from the decision-making process; it is far easier to influence and lead from within.

Expert Practice

Architecture can be defined as a series “dialectical dualities” in a constant state of tension. (25) This situation is exemplified by the “artificial schism” (26) in the construction process, manifesting itself in the distinction between design- and executive-architects; although arguably there have always been two parallel professions distinguished by the artist and the craftsmen. In spite of the gradual trend since the 19th century for generalists, epitomised by the master builder, to be replaced by a “mosaic of specialists”, (27) a number of architects, frustrated at being “for decorative purposes only”, (28) have attempted to stitch back the two. Projects today are now so complex that one individual is rarely expected to be an active participant in every single stage—from inception to completion—instead a collective team of specialists is required; an evolutionary progression towards specialisation and the emergence of highly trained expert practitioners.

Architects uncomfortable working in a large, global practice may find solace in the model of expert practitioners. Specialisation allows these practitioners to sell their skills directly to clients, alone or as part of a team. Architects who pursue this line of practice are potentially “liberated from the obligation to construct” so that architectural practice “can become a way of thinking about anything”. (29) It also opens the field of practice to non-architects, from façade-engineers to brand consultants, who may no longer fit the restrictive title of ‘architect’. The title may no longer be relevant in this expanded field and recent alternatives include creative consultants or creative agents. (30) Furthermore, it has been argued that removing the label ‘architect’ opens up new avenues to practitioners, liberating them from traditional perceptions of what constitutes architectural practice. (31)

The distinction between those who practice ‘creative pursuits’ and ‘technical proficiency’ means that present and future expert practitioners could be described as being either creative- or technical-experts. Both will find work in complex, niche services, devising innovative solutions to problems. (32) Whilst the creative-expert may focus on issues of representation, communication and identity, the technical-expert will handle a different codified knowledge, including development consultancy, planning advice, project management, access provision and health and safety. Furthermore, these practitioners could choose to move into other “dirtier” disciplines, including legislation and code writing, within which “most of a building’s parameters are set before the architect receives the commission”. (33)

Innovation is a key component of any architectural practice’s business model and this expanded field of experts is no different. However, these types of practice need to be embraced by the regulatory and professional membership organisations if specialist innovation is to be fully appreciated. Architects are already creative problem solvers but in trying to deal with every aspect of a building they arguably limit their ability to make any real impact. A more targeted approach, by a range of expert practitioners, has the potential to allow architects more involvement through out the design and construction process, which will surely be beneficial to the future built environment.

The expert practitioner is not limited to the design of individual components and systems, but could include ‘micro-buildings’. An architectural practice in Manchester, Dwelle, has moved beyond the traditional confines of practice so that they now provide a range of “carefully designed micro-buildings that are highly sustainable, fast to erect and extremely adaptable.” The so called ‘dwelle-ings’ began life as “sheds for living” and were a response to the high cost and limited options available in British housing. The practitioners have “an opportunity to continually develop and improve their design” and now only carry out work in relation to their specialist building type. (34)

Networked Practice

The sole practitioner or small, local practice would appear to be in little danger in the future because the relatively modest financial returns limits their competitors to ‘plan-smiths’, surveyors and builders. These practices currently receive 86% of their workload from the private sector (35) but have the potential to become a “community resource” (36) by focusing on a specific location. They will be “judged by their ability to produce a personal service”, (37) expanded beyond architecture to all of the services required for a small-build project—mirroring the horizontally integrated firm. Further opportunities are presented to them by the “concerted strategy to push power…control over assets and funding away from government…to local communities”. (38) Practices that “have a strong propositional basis in practice, are able to work across different fields of knowledge, are technology-savvy, and are woven into multiple networks of societal stakeholders” (39) could have a bright future if they are able capitalise and expand upon their existing social capital through ‘localism’.

Small to medium sized practices also have the opportunity to leverage their individual skill sets to “create a unique value proposition for targeting large commissions and exploiting markets that would be otherwise unavailable” through a model of networked practice. (40) These opportunities will most likely develop from established knowledge communities—educational institutions, governmental bodies, or major corporations—where there are existing physical relationships on which to build the foundations of new networks. (41) Providing a joined up service, yet retaining individual distinctiveness, this offers an alternative to the capital intensive processes of acquisitions or mergers. Collectives can make a bigger impact than either lone architects or practices, thus “more collectives would give the profession a bigger impact”. (42)

Networking allows like-minded individuals to first recognize and then act upon business opportunities. As it is a low-cost socioeconomic activity networking is not a new idea however contemporary society is dependent upon networks, of increasing scale and complexity, to such a degree that “connectivity has become the defining characteristic of our twenty-first century urban condition.” (43) Whilst traditionally utilisation of networks was “spontaneous” (44) frameworks can be assembled to maximise upon their latent potential and create “a smooth space within which work can more readily flow across geographical or temporal boundaries”. (45) These should be designed as a scaffold onto which any number of agents can be ‘grafted’; if this scaffolding is too rigid then the greatest assets of networked practice are lost, namely its flexibility and responsiveness. Furthermore, a practice could mobilise itself in such a way that it outsources large proportions of its work to other parts of the network, in turn creating a practice that is “far leaner, cutting down a huge amount of [the] overheads”. (46) Any constituent part of the collective that is not light-footed or nimble in its operations could find themselves quickly cut off from the rest of the network.

Networked practice embraces a fundamental trait in the shaping of the built environment, collective action, and in so doing empowers the individual to interact on a far larger scale, in more diverse ways, than they would otherwise be able to. This then is “practice-within-the-orbit”, (47) a series of autonomous parts working within a deliberately loose structure and in many ways is one of the most enduring practice models, expanded to meet the demands of the 21st century.

Evolution, Not Revolution

Today the architecture profession is “largely irrelevant to the great mass of the world’s population because architects have chosen to be.” (48) This situation began in the 19th century when architects “shed their less congenial tasks”, (49) rejected certain building typologies, and gradually handed over other services—cost management, project management, detail design—in the hope that this would give them more control over design. Far from being wrestled away in some “Machiavellian scheme”, (50) architects often relinquished them freely. Architects should have stopped and asked why others were so quick to take up these other, ‘dirtier’ responsibilities: they are in fact worth something to clients, and wider society, and as such are intrinsically valued.

The ongoing uncertainty regarding the world’s finances has provided a timely “mechanism” that has forced architects to stop and question how the profession operates. (51) The question “What’s wrong with our financial system?” was soon followed by “What’s wrong with our architecture?” (52) Globally architects are being asked to “project alternatives that deal with the urgent questions and issues of our civilisation”. (53) The emerging forms of architectural practice outlined have the potential to respond to these urgent questions and to inform the production of the built environment in the near future, post-crisis or otherwise.

All architectural practices are embedded with a specific culture, informed by both the heritage of those practices and the prevailing attitudes and values of the time, so that the milieu of individual practices is “unique and in flux, but underlying their uniqueness firms share certain structural characteristics”. (54) Whilst this ‘flux’ has led to aspersions of architecture being a weak profession it has the potential to be empowering. What is needed is an expanded field of practice, optimistic and proactive, ready to rise to the challenges facing the world.

An ideological shift is required within the two cornerstones of the architectural establishment—the academy and the institution—if this expanded field is to be fully acknowledged. (55) Furthermore, the procedures of practice must be addressed. In an industry where others have shown themselves to be more consistently fluid, adapting to dynamic market conditions and embracing change, any attempt by architects to reform the built environment industry to suit their own predilections will be rejected. However, if architects are to bring to a halt the progressive narrowing of their involvement in the built environment they must be positive, working with a mantra of evolution, not revolution.

The Institution

The long route to professionalization can be traced back to two primary factors: the transition from medieval to modern processes of thought that gave rise to the “inter-disciplinary character of the modern architectural designer”; and the Industrial Revolution. (56) In 1834, amongst a backdrop of vociferous criticism from a rapidly changing construction industry, the formation of the Institute of British Architects was the “first major act of exclusion and prime move towards professional solidarity” by architects, an act of self protection that culminated in the 1837 Royal Charter, and eventually the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1866. (57)

Today the RIBA is forced to wear so many hats at the same time it doesn’t know what or who to represent; is it a body responsible “for the direction and maintenance of the national character for taste” (58) or a learned body to promote the knowledge of its experts or a trades union? Jeremy Till is particularly critical that “under the worthy cloak of the charter…there is a barefaced cheek in hiding the expediency of private gain behind the mask of public good”. (59) Whilst all professions are built on the basis of trying to self perpetuate an expert knowledge, unlike doctors or lawyers, architects have no control of their knowledge base. Instead architects have attempted to tie themselves to architecture through a system that “conflates architect (as expert) with architecture (as profession) with architecture (as practice) with architecture (as product).” (60) The final link in this sequence is too complex to fall under the remit of one group, including architects or any of the other professions that emerged in the 19th century. The title of the Institute also creates a curious instance of circular logic where the “A” stands for “Architects” and not “Architecture” yet the charter sets forth the advancement of architecture. (61)

Institutes, including the RIBA, can not be ‘all things to all men’ in the future and as such clarity is needed as to what they are for and whom they serve. Furthermore, the criteria for the Architect’s Registration Board (ARB) and the RIBA is not representative of all those who first enter into the architectural profession. For example, between 2004 and 2009, 6,443 architects registered with ARB, however this was 62% and 17% fewer than those registering at Part 1 and Part 2 respectively. (62) The education system is currently producing a huge number of part qualified professionals who are lost to the profession. Questions about registration and protection of title are unlikely to disappear anytime soon and yet a number of these ‘lost’ individuals “exert considerable influence on our built environment”. (63) Measures should be taken by Institutions so that, in the future, they are seen as part of an expanded field of architectural practice. (64)

The Academy

The current climate of reduced higher education funding and increased tuition fees has heightened the ongoing debate surrounding architectural education, characterised as education as training or education as academic learning that dates back to the 18th century. (65) Students and architects alike are calling into question the value of spending five years in full time education, particularly when salary levels are so low. However, “the actions of the academy do not directly influence the profession and the profession does not directly control education” (66) because one is “in the business of learning, and not earning”. (67) There are though substantial benefits that a more synergetic relationship between the two can bring, including developing a more reflective profession.

If architecture “gains meaning and value through use” (68) then architects should look to accumulate and maintain a “systematic body of knowledge about how to make buildings which serve users better”. (69) Thus a collaborative approach that utilises the research experience within academic institutions can begin to develop the “far-sighted but…over-optimistic work stage M” (feedback) of the original RIBA Plan of Work to benefit future projects. (70) Whilst some practices do currently invest in research (71) a more joined up approach is needed so that considerable effort is not wasted in duplicating research, as is the case currently with BIM.

This new environment of reflective practice would be more akin to the medical professions and architecture should also learn from the way medical courses are structured. A new hybrid system of vocational training and academic learning is needed to produce better rounded academics, professionals and practitioners, enabling students to pursue careers in an expanded field of architectural practice. A consolidated 5-year programme, structured to provide exemption from the RIBA Part 3 exam upon completion, would allow students to graduate as architects, without the need for further two-years of vocational training. (72) Additional qualifications may be required in order to set-up as a sole practitioner, whilst there is the potential to develop intercalated degrees, enabling students to pursue specialist research. This proposal of course will require better links within practices, so that students can gain experience on live projects through out the 5 years.

The main protagonists in the debate surrounding architectural practice are brought together in the yearly controversy that surrounds the RIBA’s highest accolade for student projects—The RIBA President’s Silver Medal. Most recently the award was bestowed on Kibwe Tavares for his project ‘Robots of Brixton’, described by Tavares as “an architectural film project that explores the relationship between architecture, class and race” (73) it brings together elements of urbanism, masterplanning, film design and robot design under the banner of architecture. However, with the nature of modern press and the freedom people have to add their own opinions to a discussion, the validity of the project as being an accurate representation of ‘architecture’ has been questioned. (74) A student producing a project of this nature who then went on to work for a film production company would not be able use that experience at present towards their Part 3 Exams, thus never having access to the title of architect, and yet they are being recognised by the “oldest and most influential architectural institution in the world” with a prize that is described as “an international benchmark for excellence in education.”

The Procedures

Despite the “non-linear and iterative process” of design, architects have developed a series of narrow conduits through which projects are forced to flow. (75) These processes create “asymmetries of risk” (76) so that activities that are risky to non-architects are safe to architects, and vice versa. British architects attempt to control and manage the production of the built environment through the RIBA Plan of Work (1963), a document that “manages to combine on a single page the setting of problems associated with each stage together with the tasks needed to find solutions to each problem”. (77) Each of the tasks identifies the professions required to carry it out, with architects featuring heavily, an example of self-legitimisation. However, with the advent of new forms of procurement and technologies the Plan of Work, in spite of a major reworking (1998), is becoming redundant. (78)

Building Information Modelling (BIM), either “the harbinger of death or the salvation of architecture”, (79) is one such system, which will potentially “unlock new ways of working”. (80) Promising a raft of benefits BIM allows designers to construct a digital prototype of a building, with data-tagged components. (81) However caution is needed about the extent to which it offers true integration. (82) As BIM becomes more prevalent it is likely that the working patterns of architects will change considerably, with more work done ‘front end’, requiring new procedures for practice. The original Plan of Work (1963) was a response to the “unquestioned demand for architectural services” that had resulted from a period of massive social reconstruction (83) and equally new approaches are now urgently needed in the wake of the financial crisis.

Moving Forward

“When fees go down, it is very hard to get them up again; once a client believes architecture is worth less it is very difficult to convince them to pay more.” (84)

Ultimately, all of these proposed changes will come to nothing if architects continually devalue themselves. Architects may have other motivations above profit, noble aspirations about making the world a better place, but if they can’t make a living then they will have no long term viability. Failing to seek out adequate remuneration for good design only creates a false economy. Collective action is required “to make the case that good architecture is worth more” (85) but architects must also think about the values their clients hold dear. As David Chipperfield observes: “there is nothing we can do without the conspiracy of client, money, [and] authority.” (86) Architects need to show their clients tangible benefits of their worth if they are to free themselves from “the tyranny of cut-cost mantra.” (87) The potential for new ways of practicing and the opportunity to shape future paradigms is exciting, but if architects want to continue to play a part in shaping the built environment they must take the first step.


The following was submitted to the Manchester School of Architecture as part of the BArch course 2011-12. This essay draws upon previous research, 'The Architecture of the Profession', for information about how to purchase a copy of the research please follow this link.

1. Le Corbusier (1923), Towards A New Architecture, trans. Frederick Etchells, translated from the 13th French edition, (Oxford: Architectural Press, 2000), p. 14.
2. Spiro Kostof, The Practice of Architecture in the Ancient World: Egypt and Greece, in Spiro Kostof (ed.) The Architect: Chapters in the History of the Profession, 2nd ed. (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 2000), p. 3.
3. Plato, Politicus 360 BCE cited in Ibid.
4. Tom Spector, The Ethical Architect: The Dilemma of Contemporary Practice, (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001), p. 35.
5. Cited in Saint, loc. cit., p. 1.
6. Martin Pawley, The new life of Albert Speer (2000), in David Jenkins (ed.), The Strange Death of Architectural Criticism, Martin Pawley, Collected Writings, (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2007), p. 336.
7. Finn Williams, On the profession, The Architect’s Journal, 13th January 2011,vol. 233, no. 1, p. 33.
8. Judith Blau, Architects and Firms: A Sociological Perspective on Architectural Practice, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009), p. 9.
9. Sir David Chipperfield, Searching for Substance, Royal Gold Medal Presentation and Speech, 10th February 2011. Available Online. RIBA, Royal Gold Medal Website, 2011, [retrieved 26th March 2011]
10. Martin Pawley described paper architecture as a career in “disarchitecurlisation” and adds that “In America you compete by building; in Britain you compete to build.” Martin Pawley, How to get famous by not building anything, (2002) David Jenkins (ed.), The Strange Death of Architectural Criticism, Martin Pawley, Collected Writings, (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2007), p. 352.
11. Rem Koolhaas, Content, (Köln: Taschen, 2004), p. 20.
12. The full quote is as follows ”When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” John M. Richardson, Jr.
13. Anatole Kaletsky, Captialism 4.0: The Birth of a New Economy, (London: Bloomsbury, 2010), p.1.
14. Claire Jamieson, The Future for Architects?, (London: RIBA Building Futures, 2011), p. 6.
15. Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics, Global Construction 2020: A global forecast for the construction industry over the next decade to 2020, (London: Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics, 2011), p. 5.
16. Jamieson, op. cit., p. 1.
17. Paul Nakazawa, Embrace the Change, Architect Magazine Online, 3rd January 2011, [retrieved 18th August 2011],
18. “I think big is really good. I mean we’ve got about a thousand students at our school and a thousand people can think a lot more things than one person, and that’s the interesting thing, so it’s about the kind of networked quality of the operation that I think is interesting.” Tom Jefferies, Head of the Manchester School of Architecture, speaking at the RIBA Building Futures debate in Manchester. RIBA, Building Futures Debate, The Future for Architects?, (RIBA Hub, Manchester, 22nd June 2011).
19. One example is Carillion “which was spun out of Tarmac as a pure construction company in 1999, [it] now makes two-thirds of its operating profit from support services and PFI investment. Nevertheless, its building arm makes it a more effective bidder on PFI contracts…” The Economist Online, ‘Survival tactics: Building firms are struggling to emerge from the recession.” Feb 25th 2010 (From the print edition), [retrieved 18th August 2011],
20. See Constructing Excellence Fact Sheet, ‘Supply Chain Management’, 19th March 2004, [retrieved 18th August 2011],
21. URS Corporation, About Us, 2011, [retrieved 17th August 2011], Other examples include Jacobs, AECOM and Stantec.
22. The Canary Wharf Group has already undertaken design, construction and project management work away from Canary Wharf, in the City of London, operated under ‘Canary What Contractors Limited’ which they describe as “the UK’s foremost exponent of tall building design and construction.” Canary Wharf Group, PLC, About Us, 2011, [retrieved 22nd August 2011],
23. The RIBA Building Futures report highlights Build-Own-Operate-Transfer or BOOT practices, this model would see the ‘Transfer’ removed to simply become Build-Own-Operate. Jamieson, op. cit., pp. 23-4. The public sector used to undertake operations in this manner however no longer has the internal expertise to do so; in the reduced funding climate of the present and near-future it seems unlikely that this trend will change.
24. Nakazawa, loc. cit.
25. Dana Cuff, Architecture: The Story of Practice (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), p. 11.
26. Joshua Prince Ramus, “Building a theatre that remakes itself”, TEDxSMU2009, Dallas, October 2009. Available online. TED, Joshua Prince-Ramus: Building a theatre that remakes itself”, 2010, [retrieved 20th March 2011],
27. Cuff, op. cit., p. 11.
28. Joshua Prince Ramus, “Building a theatre that remakes itself”, TEDxSMU2009, Dallas, October 2009. Available online. TED, Joshua Prince-Ramus: Building a theatre that remakes itself”, 2010, [retrieved 20th March 2011],
29. Rem Koolhaas, Content, (Köln: Taschen, 2004) p. 20.
30. Jamieson, op. cit., p. 25. Comments in the report from an Architect working in a small metropolitan boutique practice “In ten years we probably will not call ourselves an architecture practice, it will be something else entirely.”
31. A number of practices are now establishing other satellite companies to take on work outside of the traditional remit of architectural production. The prime example would be OMA and it’s “mirror image” AMO established to enable the practice “to create knowledge independent of chance and to pursue [their] own interests in parallel to those of [their] clients.” Koolhaas, loc. cit.
32. Jamieson, op. cit., p. 20.
33. Finn Williams, On the profession, The Architects’ Journal, 13th January 2011, vol. 233, no. 1, p. 33.
34. An architectural practice in Manchester, Dwelle, has moved beyond the traditional confines of practice so that they now provide a range of “carefully designed micro-buildings that are highly sustainable, fast to erect and extremely adaptable.” The so called ‘dwelle.ings’ began life as “sheds for living” and were a response to the high cost and limited options available in British housing. The practitioners have “an opportunity to continually develop and improve their design” and now only carry out work in relation to their specialist building type. Dwelle, About, 2011, [retrieved 22nd August 2011],
35. In contrast large practices only get 58% of their workload from the private sector. Fees Bureau, ‘Architects Markets’ 2010 Edition.
36. Nakazawa, loc. cit.
37. Jamieson, op. cit., p. 18.
38. Chris Brown, On Planning: Planning is dead, long live Localism, The Architects’ Journal, 13th January 2011, vol. 233, no. 1, p. 26.
39. Nakazawa, loc. cit.
40. Jarard Morgan and Christopher A. Roach have carried out research into Networked Practice models through six case studies at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Jarrad Morgan and Christopher A. Roach, The Networked Practice: A new framework for design practice in a networked world, (Harvard Graduate School of Design, MArch, 2010), p. 1.
41. Nakazawa, loc. cit.
42. Engineer at a Global firm, quoted in Jamieson, op. cit., p. 27.
43. William Mitchell, Me++ The Cyborg Self and the Networked City, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003), p. 9.
44. Morgan and Roach, op. cit., p. 9.
45. Ibid.
46. Jamieson, op. cit., p. 36.
47. Richard Saxon, a former BDP chairman, is quoted as using this term to describe the organisation structure and workings of BDP. The term here is used here with an expanded meaning, beyond the rigid envelope of ‘practice-within-the-orbit’ of one office, studio or firm. Hugh Pearman, BDP. Continuous Collective, (London: BDP, 2011), p. 9.
48. Bruce Mau, You Can Do Better, Architect Magazine Online, January 3rd 2011, [retrieved 21st August 2011],
49. Saint, op. cit., p. 58.
50. “Our roles as master builder and client’s representative were not wrest from us in some Machiavellian scheme—we gave them away.” Eric J. Cesal, Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010), p. 136.
51. Paul Nakazawa, The Harmonics of Change: Re-narrating Architectural Practice, Arquine, Spring 2010, no. 51, p. 100.
52. Charles Bessard and Nanne de Du, Who do you want to be?, L’Architecture D’Aujourh’hui, Jun-Jul 2010, no. 378, pp. 94-7.
53. Roemer van Toorn quoted in Irena Bauman, How to be a Happy Architect, (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2008), p. 90.
54. Dana Cuff, Architecture: The Story of Practice, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), p. 157.
55. The cornerstones are identified by Dana Cuff throughout Architecture: The Story of Practice, where she posits that the academy, the institutions, and the press have continuously aggravated the different positions inherit within the profession, rubbishing one whilst championing it’s opposite, when in fact both are vitally important in the shaping of the built environment, for example art versus science. Ibid. In How to be a Happy Architect Irena Bauman points to “five participants in the architectural establishment: teachers … the profession … architectural journalists … historians … architectural photographers”. Bauman, op. cit., p. 79.
56. Wilton-Ely in Kostof, op. cit., p. 180.
57. Ibid., p. 192. The RIBA’s website states that it was founded for “…the general advancement of Civil Architecture, and for promoting and facilitating the acquirement of the knowledge of the various arts and sciences connected therewith…” Royal Institute of British Architects, Our History, 2011 [retrieved 10th August 2011],
58. Royal British Institute of Architects, Transactions of the RIBA, vol. I/I (London: John Weale, 1836), p. vii cited in Jeremy Till, Architecture Depends (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009), p. 154.
59. Ibid, pp. 153-4.
60. Ibid. This sequence can even be found in the RIBA’s domain name——if you want to find an architect you need to find architecture first.
61. Ibid.
62. Jamieson, op. cit. p. 30.
63. Ibid., p. 31.
64. For a study comparing the difference between protection of title and function around the world see International Union of Architects, Architectural Practice Around The World, (Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya, COAC, 2005).
65. Articled pupilage, a form of apprenticeship formalised by Sir Robert Taylor, was common practice in the 18th century. It remained the mainstay of architectural education well into the 19th century when, tired of a system prone to exploitation, reform movements called for specialised instruction, modelled on the atelier system of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. These culminated in the systemisation of the RIBA entry examination into three parts—Preliminary, Intermediate, and Final—by 1887, full-time three year courses in architecture soon followed at King’s College (1892) and Liverpool University (1895). Although not stagnant since, with notable changes following the 1924 Congress on Architectural education and the 1958 Oxford Conference, there remains an ongoing debate between practitioners and the academy as to what is the most appropriate form of education. See Wilton-Ely, op. cit., pp. 191-204 and Joan Draper, The Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the architectural Profession in the United States: The Case of John Galen Howard, in Spiro Kostof (ed.), The Architect: Chapters in the History of the Profession, 2nd ed. (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 2000), p. 209.
66. Till, op. cit., p. 17.
67. Necdet Teymur, Architectural Education: Issues in educational practice and policy, (London: ?uestion Press, 1992), p. 35.
68. Spector, op. cit., p. 173.
69. Francis Duffy and Les Hutton, Architectural Knowledge: The Idea of a Profession, (London: E & FN SPON, 1998), p. 190.
70. Ibid., p. 191.
71. For example, Aedas spend 4-7% of their turnover on research.
72. An alternative could be to grant the title ‘junior architect’ until a foundation year in practice is complete.
73. Kibwe Tavares, ‘Robots of Brixton’, RIBA The President’s Medals Student Awards 2011, 7th December 2011, [retrieved 12th December 2011],
74. At time of writing the news piece had attracted 122 comments on BD Online. Whilst some comments should be disregarded for the viciousness and personal nature of their attacks on the student in question, the general argument revolves around whether or not the work represents a piece of architectural work or is more suited to the world of conceptual art work or film design. Andrea Klettner, ‘Bartlett student wins Silver Medal for Robots in Brixton’, BD Online, 8th December 2011, [retrieved 15th December 2011],
75. Cuff, op. cit., p. 202.
76. Cesal, op. cit., p. 108.
77. Till, op. cit., p. 157.
78. In 1998 the plan went through a major reworking in the wake of two reports: Constructing the Team (1994) and Rethinking Construction (1998). Duffy and Hutton, op. cit., pp. 206-8.
79. This is a quote from Joshua Prince-Ramus in an interview by Bruce Upbin. Bruce Upbin, Joshua Prince-Ramus on the Myth of Architectural Genius, Forbes Online, 14th June 2010, [retrieved 18th August 2011],
80. This is a quote from Paul Morrell, Chief Construction Adviser to the UK Government, speaking at Autodesk’s BIM Conference on 31st September 2010, quoted in Building Design Online. Anna Winston, BIM to become part of public procurement process, Building Design Online, 1st October 2010, [retrieved 18th August 2011],
81. The ‘BIM Academy’ gives an extensive list of the advantages of using BIM: improved design reliability; reduced design risk; reduced waste; more time to get the design right; enhanced coordination and fewer errors; improved decision making; greater productivity; higher quality of work; downstream uses for facilities management; supports sustainability; improved safety; computation of material quantities; improved planning, control, management of construction; enhanced communication; effective resource utilisation and coordination f activities; reduction in costs associated with planning, design and construction; reduced number of RFIs (requests for information); improved collective understanding of design intent; less time documenting more time designing; quantity takeoff; client engagement; and improved spatial coordination. BIM Academy, Home Page, 2011, [retrieved 21st August 2011],
82. Tom Wiscombe, Extreme Integration, Architectural Design Magazine, (London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2010), p. 82.
83. Duffy and Hutton, op. cit., p. 180.
84. Christine Murray, Leader: We must fight to preserve the level of architects’ fees, 4th November 2010, vo. 232, no. 17, p. 18-9.
85. Cesal, op. cit., p. 96.
86. Sir David Chipperfield Interviewed by Phillip Dodd, Radio Programme,  BBC Radio 3, 9:15PM, 8th February 2011.
87. Cesal, op. cit., p. 95.