By definition, an Architect is someone who designs and builds buildings. But should this definition govern the career path for an Architect? Should it be a mandate for every graduating architect to end up in the technicalities of structural stability and built-areas, dimensions and planning, urban interventions, and landscaping?
Architecture is so much more than just the built.
The over-looking of soft skills within the discipline has been an unsaid story since the early days of architecture’s emergence. With each passing semester, students have been exposed to electives like carpentry, product designing, photography, landscaping, research methodologies, journalism, and many more. But why does only a fragment of the cohort think of pursuing the road less traveled? In my opinion, it is the stereotypical mindset of the society that forces architects to just adapt ‘Practicing’ rather than exploring other possibilities.
The definition itself is so compelling that an architect indulging in any other form of building is looked down upon. In the past 2 years of my experience as a ‘Writing Architect’, I have been in situations with ‘Practicing Architects’ who have a chip on their shoulders. Why such a change in vantage point? Professionals who choose to ‘write’ rather than ‘design’, are also conferred with a degree in Architecture. They are also spending nights building with words just as the one’s building with bricks. I do not see much of a difference here between the branches. YES, I would call them two branches of the same tree. And there can be many more. Architecture does not just stop at beautiful buildings; there can be beautifully written articles, beautifully captured pictures, or thoughtfully crafted products. When everything is emerging from the same discipline, then why the difference in sentiments? It can be as simple as someone chose to design, the other to write, a third to capture so on and so forth. Acceptance and affirmation of different paths within the same profession need to be normalised. Co-existence is the key.
According to me, an Architect is just someone who is creative enough to indulge in building (verb).