What is Architectural work culture?

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Architecture-and-Design_©Barker Associates

Workplace culture in the architectural profession is defined by common beliefs, behaviours, conventions, and values. This is referred to as architectural work culture. It considers the many approaches taken by architects and other subject-matter experts, as well as how they function both alone and in groups to overcome challenges. The people involved, the projects’ nature, geographical influences, and even the kind of business or organisation all have an impact on the work culture of architects. While all this applies to common work culture, it is important to note that the specific characteristics of architectural work culture can vary between different firms, project types, and regions. As the profession of building architecture continues to evolve, it has been observed that the work culture needs to adapt to new challenges, societal exceptions as well and technological advancements.

Changes to Architectural work culture

Essentially, what drives many requests for a change in the work culture of architects is the desire to create a more adaptable, inclusive, and sustainable profession that can honestly address the problems of the past, present, and future. The architectural profession has always faced criticism for its lack of openness and diversity. Wider ideas and points of view are produced by a more diverse workforce, and this can lead to more original and thorough designs. There is a continuous effort to advance inclusivity and diversity concerning gender, race, and background. Furthermore, a culture that fosters continuous learning and is quick to adjust to technology advancements is required.. Embracing new tools and software can greatly enhance collaboration and efficiency amongst members and in the industry as a whole. The architectural field is continually evolving with technological advancements and integration and should adapt to this change and continue to work on it to create a better future.

Blueprints Gone Green Sustainability as a Catalyst for a Change in Architectural Work Culture-Sheet2
Diversity_©Archdaily

Moreover, architects are under pressure to give eco-friendly and sustainable design techniques top priority because there is a growing worldwide concern for the environment. In order to address global issues like social injustice, urbanisation, and climate change, architects are needed. For architects to make a meaningful contribution towards addressing these issues, the architectural culture must adapt and become adaptable, progressive, and receptive to new ideas. The shift in focus requires a cultural change that values environmentally cognisant methodologies to design and construction.

Sustainability as a Catalyst

The building sector has been forced to pay attention to sustainability issues since it is so reliant on natural resources like metal, stone, and wood. The significance of sustainable solutions in the construction industry and design profession is growing as the need to address environmental challenges becomes more pressing. Sustainable techniques must now be integrated into every stage of the design process rather than being added to projects as an afterthought. The environmental impact that the construction industry and these structures have can be significantly decreased by implementing cutting-edge materials and processes into our designs and projects. This can be done while simultaneously creating attractive and comfortable spaces to live and work in.

CopenHill_©SLA

What is “The Green Blueprint”?

The Green Blueprint, a newly devised name, can also be referred to as sustainable, green, or environmental architecture, which is reflected in a building’s materials construction methods, design in general, and the use of resources. The design should replicate and facilitate sustainable operation during the building’s life cycle. This challenges architects to create and produce smart designs by using available and new technologies to ensure that structures are aesthetically superior, fully functional, and generate minimal harmful effects on the environment. The Green Blueprint seeks to minimise the negative environmental impact of buildings using a conscious approach to ecological and energy conservation in the design of the built environment.

Why is it important for Sustainability to act as a Catalyst to create a change in architecture work culture?

According to statistics provided by the UN Environmental Global Status Report 2017, buildings and construction account for more than 35% of global energy use and are also responsible for nearly 40% of CO2 emissions. Even though these numbers are lower than those reported in 2010 and only slightly higher than those recorded in 2023, the construction industry and architectural practices have a long way to go.

While cities continue to expand with more buildings and businesses, the adverse impact on the earth continues to expand as well. This amongst many other reasons is why the architectural work culture has to change. Designing a building’s appearance in a sustainable fashion can no longer be carried out in isolation but there now has to be a fine balance between a building’s form and function and its interactions with its surrounding environment. Using sustainability as a catalyst whether in new or old buildings, has associated economic, environmental, and social benefits.

Economic benefits include:

  • Increased asset and property values.
  • Improvement in the productivity of human performance.
  • A reduction in long-term costs and continued dependence on traditional energy sources, amongst others.

Environmental benefits could be:

  • Conservation and restoration of natural resources.
  • Improvement in air and water quality.
  • A reduction in energy use and waste.
  • Protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, amongst others.

Social benefits include:

  • Minimization of the demand on local utility infrastructure.
  • And improvement of living conditions, health, and comfort of the population.

In conclusion, green architecture is an important consideration when it comes to the changes that need to be adopted by the architectural work culture. This amongst other changes will help the industry to grow, become more productive and efficient as well as evolve into something new that has never been seen before. As the industry continues to embrace the richness of a new, inclusive, and diverse human experience, it is also important to celebrate how far humans have come and the achievements of architects and designers from all backgrounds. This will help pave the way for a future where the built environment signifies diversity hence creating spaces that are indeed for everyone. Globally, architects are focusing more on sustainability and the particular difficulty it poses for design and change seems to be on its way. Generative AI and technological advancements have also transpired as a powerful tool in sustainable design as it allows designers to quickly generate and test out multiple design options which would help to reduce material wastage as well as optimise building performance. By embracing these changes and principles, the architectural work culture can completely change for the better.

REFERENCES:

  • Associates, B. (2022) What is Sustainable Architecture, Barker Associates. Available at: https://www.barker-associates.co.uk/service/architecture/what-is-sustainable-architecture/#:~:text=Why%20is%20sustainable%20architecture%20important,energy%2Drelated%20CO2%20emissions.%E2%80%9D&text=While%20metropolises%20are%20continuously%20expanding,is%20not%20getting%20any%20bigger. (Accessed: 06 January 2024). 
  • Ebersole, G. (2022) Sustainable architecture – what is it and why is it important? [column], Reading Eagle. Available at: https://www.readingeagle.com/2022/03/08/sustainable-architecture-what-is-it-and-why-is-it-important-column/ (Accessed: 06 January 2024). 
  • Eco-friendly architecture: The Importance of Sustainable Design (2013) FibreGuard. Available at: https://fibreguard.com/blog/eco-friendly-architecture-sustainable-design (Accessed: 06 January 2024). 
  • Knezevic, B. (2023) Embracing diversity: A new dawn in architecture and Design, LinkedIn. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/embracing-diversity-new-dawn-architecture-design-branka-knezevic-pqpnc/?trk=article-ssr-frontend-pulse_more-articles_related-content-card (Accessed: 06 January 2024). 
  • Leigh, B. (2022) Building towards sustainability – how architecture is adapting in 2022, Blakeney Leigh. Available at: https://blakeneyleigh.co.uk/building-towards-sustainability-how-architecture-is-adapting-in-2022/ (Accessed: 06 January 2024). 
  • Murphy, P. (no date) The rise of sustainable design in Architecture, Maket. Available at: https://www.maket.ai/post/the-rise-of-sustainable-design-in-architecture#:~:text=The%20Historical%20Context%20of%20Sustainable%20Design%20in%20Architecture&text=As%20society%20became%20more%20industrialized,their%20impact%20on%20the%20environment. (Accessed: 06 January 2024). 
  • The Rise of Sustainable Architecture: Why It Matters  (no date) Dualchas Architects. Available at: https://www.dualchas.com/news/the-rise-of-sustainable-architecture-why-it-matters#:~:text=Mitigating%20climate%20change&text=Sustainable%20architecture%20addresses%20this%20by,effort%20to%20combat%20climate%20change. (Accessed: 06 January 2024). 
Author

Born and bred in Kenya and studying Architectural Engineering in the UK, Saakshi aspires to incorporate the world of modern and sustainable architecture in her work, be it design based or technical based. She constantly seeks to expand her knowledge through diverse architectural styles, contemporary trends and historical precedents.