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Tema - Future
Tema - Profession
1

On this issue there has been much debate recently on the Internet. For those interested, we recommend the following threads which sum the situation up well: “Las fortalezas del arquitecto” (The Strengths of Architects), “Decálogo de las virtures del arquitecto” (A Decalogue of Architects’ Virtues), “Cinco capacidades para la formación del arquitecto.” (Five skills for training architects).

2

Daniel Pink: “La sorprendente verdad sobre qué nos motiva”, Ediciones Gestión 2000 (2010), translated from the original “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us”, Ed. Riverhead (2009).

3

Paraphrasing the current Chair of the CSCAE (Spanish Council of Architects’ Associations), Jordi Ludevid, in the interview by Marta Vallribera in 2011, repeated in his recent intervention in the 2015 CSCAE FORUME : “It seems that the economic environment in which we work has ceased to worsen, which is not the same as benefiting from a clear improvement”.

4

This very interesting issue of professional diversification was touched upon by in “100 razones por las que contratar a un arquitecto” (100 reasons to hire an architect) and that we addressed in our previous post for Arquia: “New Territories. Broadening the bounds of architecture.”

The (sometimes) unbearable lightness of being (an architect)

Caspar David Friedrich, 1818

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich, 1818

Defending True Quality Architecture tooth and nail is a Quixotic feat in a society that does not always value those feats. The difficulties faced by an architect’s studio aspiring to rigorously practice the profession are many.

The life philosophy of architects “freely exercising their profession” comes with a built in Carpe Diem seal. The time it takes to do the work, the great dedication required, the unfortunate volatility and tremendous difficulties in obtaining horizons for a stable future all force us to live hand to mouth.

This on-going feeling of levity in our existence as freelance architects makes us feel like Han Solo surviving in sidereal space on board the Millennium Falcon, or like the Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer, stopped before a sea of fog. Is that perhaps why we never fall ill?

Added to this levity that applies in principle to all self-employed professionals in any field, we add the “specific conditions” of our profession, which can be summed up well in one phrase: give the best service to our clients and produce quality architecture. Whether it be our morals or the fact that work well done brings in more work, or perhaps pure egocentricity, if there is anything that characterises most of the profession it is that itch for the best result (This means something different to each of us depending on our values and aspirations.).

And of course whoever has read this far will think that we have got ourselves into an undesirable profession, into a big mess. They will tell their teenager kids “Whatever you do, don’t be an architect”. And they will be partly right. But, partly wrong. And we’ll explain why.

The unexpected surprise is that this light existence greatly stimulates motivation and, as a result, critical thought. The talents and skills required to practice the profession 1 are set into three categories – autonomy, mastery and purpose, as described by Daniel Pink2:“The secret of high performance is not in remuneration or punishment, but rather in an intrinsic, invisible force. The force of doing things out of one’s own interest. The force of doing things because they matter.” And certainly when we add to that a certain amount of freedom, proficiency in a specialised field of knowledge, aspiration to excellence and the need for survival, this intrinsic force will definitely emerge, and it will surge.

This combination of factors has always been found in our profession, but the force it generates is revealed more powerfully than ever when we add in the special situation in which we currently live, “the worst economic crisis of its history”.3 Proof of architects’ great motivation is our increasing versatility and ability to adapt to new territories.4 This is currently producing unprecedented work, unparalleled in other professions.

Based on our experience thus far, we have reached this happy conclusion that sheds light on the (sometimes) unbearable lightness of being an architect. The alchemical combination of concurring factors –autonomy, mastery and purpose – is what drives the necessary motivation meaning that, against all of the odds, our profession has not yet become an endangered species, but is rather a mutating species.

Does anyone dare bet?

Scene from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, George Lucas, 1977


Text translated by Beth Gelb
Notas de página
1

On this issue there has been much debate recently on the Internet. For those interested, we recommend the following threads which sum the situation up well: “Las fortalezas del arquitecto” (The Strengths of Architects), “Decálogo de las virtures del arquitecto” (A Decalogue of Architects’ Virtues), “Cinco capacidades para la formación del arquitecto.” (Five skills for training architects).

2

Daniel Pink: “La sorprendente verdad sobre qué nos motiva”, Ediciones Gestión 2000 (2010), translated from the original “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us”, Ed. Riverhead (2009).

3

Paraphrasing the current Chair of the CSCAE (Spanish Council of Architects’ Associations), Jordi Ludevid, in the interview by Marta Vallribera in 2011, repeated in his recent intervention in the 2015 CSCAE FORUME : “It seems that the economic environment in which we work has ceased to worsen, which is not the same as benefiting from a clear improvement”.

4

This very interesting issue of professional diversification was touched upon by in “100 razones por las que contratar a un arquitecto” (100 reasons to hire an architect) and that we addressed in our previous post for Arquia: “New Territories. Broadening the bounds of architecture.”

Autor:
- Luis Llopis i Eva Chacón - @luisbonsai, arquitecto ETSAM 1992: Tengo varios másteres y bla, bla. Me apasiona la arquitectura de Fallingwater, viajar tomando apuntes en mi cuaderno de dibujo, y desconectar sumergiéndome en el mundo submarino. @evabonsai, arquitecta ETSAG, 2006: Yo también tengo másteres, doctorado, etc. Soy curiosa por naturaleza, amante de la 'cocina' arquitectónica y la buena música. Si no me encuentras, búscame subida a alguna cubierta, árbol o montaña con buenas vistas. Nos vemos en las redes y en www.bonsaiarquitectos.es

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