The phrase ‘Profession called Architecture’ is increasingly being seen and understood as ‘Business called Architecture’.
Design, Conceptualisation and Inception of Ideas are all very important and intricate parts of any Architectural project. These are the various stages where the actual architecture structure begins to take form and move towards specific functionalities. But is that it? The simple answer, in today’s complex world of Architecture, is NO. These stages, at the front-foot, emphasise and create a sense of art and creative interests. But one should also not forget that creativity and technology go hand in hand in a building.
It is for this reason that Architecture has been defined as a ‘Calculated technical art’. It encapsulates multiple elements including Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fit-outs, etc. So, at the end of the day, modern Architecture is based on an ‘integrated approach’ where ‘collaboration’ is the key. This is where the Management aspect starts playing a crucial role.
Eventually, it all comes down one thing – How well do you understand your client, and how well has the client been involved in all the aspects for the successful completion of the project. As a result, the following questions pop-up:
- According to the client, what is it that the Architect does well?
- And, what the Architect could do better?
- What effects the client’s opinions and decisions, & how effectively is the Architect able to handle these?
- The above 3 questions once addressed, its implications and opportunities on the later phases of the project?
- Is there any conclusive end, bridging the gaps?
Have you ever wondered – Why does a design, which shows a clear route, starts to lose it’s character somewhere during the course of the project?
The answer is quite simple. In any project, if the design is paramount than the design should continue to remain the ultimate objective. The design should remain an over-riding factor, right up to the final handing over of the project to the client. Various factors/disciplines like Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical, etc. also play-out. This approach allows a check on any situation arising out of one or a combination of such factors during the progress of the project. This helps conformance to the ‘core’ Architectural Idea and the resultant Design Concept. Onsite variations and compromises are tackled. One cannot give a 100% assurance on avoiding variations but if the design team engages proactively with the other disciplines (management aspect starts to assume importance) can immensely help maintain the pace of the project timelines and reduce chances of onsite variations.
The ‘internal management teams’ is the answer. These days, many Architectural firms have such teams which take care of the ‘non-design’ part of Architecture. These teams, though not directly involved with the Design and Architecture, do understand the philosophies and language of Design.
Whether such teams are part of marketing, finance or procurement, their common objective is to address any non-conformity in plans and create an environment for all stakeholders to keep moving towards the ideas generated by the Design team. The same goes for the technical team too. While the Architecture Design team is actively creating new ideas, they are to interact with the technical teams and others to understand the technical limitations in achieving the Design objectives.
Finances and other real-world terms will also play a role in creating a broader framework that allows the design team to play with their creativity within practical limitations.
The internal management teams help achieve the fine balance between the creativity as envisaged by the Design teams and practicalities associated with it. This is especially important when it comes to giving a seamless and a ‘confrontation-less’ working environment.
The practice of Professional Architecture has been drastically changing its approach in the present scenarios. Constraints like Time, Cost, Resources, Affordability, unknown daily Market risks are the major terms that decide the role of Architects in any project. Architects need to constantly evolve their management skills, in addition to the core domain knowledge of Architecture. Being adept at the very latest software tools also play a major role in this course of action.
Philosophies like BIM, ABS, COBie, Digital Twin, Parametric & Generative Designs are changing the game. In the upcoming articles, we will be broadly discussing these topics one by one, keeping the platform open for queries too, while sharing the knowledge through effective individuals who have shown great results using these tools and have solved issues that were overlooked before.
To conclude, we can say that ‘Management’ has always played a key role in any Architecture project, but it has assumed much greater significance. This is so because the modern-day projects are complex systems where multiple teams are work together. Management is therefore a ‘binding force’ and its importance should be appreciated and put to use.
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