The strengths of the architect | Stepienybarno


Some time ago a good friend of ours was commenting to us that for him, the architects we were like ducks. These animals are of air, are of land and are of water, do everything, though they do nothing excessively well. So, this curious comparison uses us as introduction to see what is what we understand that we make or can manage to do inside our profession.

What is clear is that, in so complex and uncertain times as these, every time one tends to do more different tasks and to approach the own limits of the discipline.

Martín Seligman is one of the authors who more, and better, have written on the current of the positivism.The American psychologist, has penetrated into the search of the qualities of the human being. For it, he has been studying different countries, cultures, races and looking for the common links between them. Of this form, it was detecting the strengths that each of us we can have and that are common to all the human beings. And on having done it, he verified how each of them was helping to increase our level of happiness. These strengths were either exactly 24, or one any more not even one less. In turn, Seligman comments that apparent strengths a “being intelligent do not increase necessarily our happiness”, in fact, they can go in our own one against and, therefore, not be one of the 24. Nevertheless, qualities like the love for the nature, the honesty or the creativity, always fill with satisfaction and, therefore, yes theirs that will be one of them.

So, with this idea in the head, we wonder if the architects, for the fact of being architects, we have some strength that separates us from the common one of the mortal ones. A little, that could be an exchequer estimated by the company in these complicated times that run how do you see it? Equal we are passing, but we are going to try to see some keys.

At the moment, we put an idea on the table: the capacity of work. During the career to the student of architecture they put so many pressure that gets used to working from morning till night and without raising the voice not in a second. It is not important to be two nights followed without sleeping (even we are capable of plundering the taste from him), if the architecture is of for way, any voucher.

Though we have to admit that this “quality”, we do not know if it is, really, a strength or, on the contrary, it is a cross of which then other architects take advantage to have superproductive studies. Without going beyond, it is possible to hear the own Zaha Hadid saying that times a table can serve for more than one function, like, for example, in order that his employees could throw a cabezadita while they are employed by the piece at his study. But good, let’s think a bit more, some another strength surely that we have …

Certain architects have trend to play at being a species of “everything knows” that they like to speak about any thing, less architecture. Not all the disciplines take this affection that, on the one hand, again, it is possible to see as a strength, and for other one, not so much. The truth is that it is tempting to flirt with other disciplines, to learn four things of each one of them (because as human beings that we are, we do not give for any more), them to connect with more or less skill and again to arm a theoretical speech. From there, they can come near to tremendously fertile territories, but, in turn, also remain annoyed by the way, having to speak without having much that to say. Let’s not forget that the ego of the architects is in the habit of playing bad spent.

The reality is that, these new and hybrid languages become infested from terminology foreign to our discipline, even if the speech is really interesting, in occasions, turn out to be complicated enough to deal. Sometimes, curiously, in our world the pedantry gets confused with the wisdom. Those who try to penetrate this message to the great public, always play with the advantage, that the people, in general, give seated that when something is not understood, is because the one that listens is not the sufficiently prepared thing. Surely, it would be more profitable the didactic capacity puts in question of the one who exposes the “original idea”, especially if it does it with certain forcefulness, vehemence and a suspicious naturalness.

And now, yes that yes. Finally, we have met on a strength that characterizes us as group: the creativity. Here there is no doubt, is something that makes us strong and that it helps us to enjoy with everything what we do. In turn, it is what differentiates us in many occasions of other professions that, we say, they are more technical.

Some time ago we were reading in the blog of Ecosistema Urbano, Markus Miessen‘s appointment, in which it was coming to say: “precisely the fact of being non-experts, is what he them enables to interacting as professionals amateurs. His dispersed activities and the application of external knowledge, it allows them to approach the problems of creative form, jumping scales from the individual objects up to the planning of strategic areas”. Therefore, if we are capable of, beside being creative at the moment of working, everything put ahead our creativity on having tried to obtain new orders, probably let’s have more options to survive.

But we continue thinking … what do you say to us of the aptitude to collaborate in equipment? In the school there is realized infinity of works, which unlike other careers, are realized in equipment. This, beside being the motive of which it is the career with major number of pairs endogámicas of all those who exist, does that once out of the school the architect has the mind ready to mate, from different perspectives (though always it will have certain trend to be the chief of the hut), to equipments of work. As Andrés Jaque affirms, “now the important thing is not the size of a study but the capacity of asociacionism. The social networks and Internet are very important. ”

Another fortress, which has much that to see with the previous one, is the capacity of the architect to have a panoramic and global vision of different parts of the same strategy of work. In this regard we have read Jaime Duró, “the architect is only neither an engineer of construction, nor a pure stylist formalizador neither of environments and volumes, nor only expert in functional adequacy of inhabitable spaces. Or it is the integrator of everything, or is not an architect. This it is the function that someone has in order that the architecture exists.”

Otra fortaleza, que tiene mucho que ver con la anterior, es la capacidad del arquitecto para tener una visión panorámica y global de diferentes partes de una misma estrategia de trabajo. A este respecto le hemos leído a Jaime Duró, el arquitecto no es sólo un ingeniero de construcción, ni un puro estilista formalizador de ambientes y volúmenes, ni sólo un experto en adecuación funcional de espacios habitables. O es el integrador de todo, o no es arquitecto. Esa es la función que alguien tiene para que exista la arquitectura.

The aptitude to see everything and not to remain in the parts, is a quality that every time is valued more. What is clear is that, the architect has this aptitude to relate very varied topics and besides do it in a creative way. In this respect already it was aiming at our admired one, Alvar Aalto, “the architect, always, looks for a synthesis of opposite. All the projects understand thousands of decisions, thousands of factors, sometimes contradictory between if and, across the architecture, the man has instruments to reach the harmony between them”. This capacity, he does not enable us only to project buildings, but, with similar mechanisms, we can project, in a given moment, the structure of an event or, for example, a web page.

Therefore, we think that, though the future is very, very black, it is not less true that it is necessary to have a positive attitude to go out of this complicated labour situation that lives through the world of the architecture and to learn a bit of the Seligman‘s good one. Up to in the worst situations, always it is possible to extract the positive part. Already you will tell us if you agree with this revision for the fortresses of the architect or, even, if someone of you encourages to put on the some table more.

Stepienybarno_Agnieszka Stepien and Lorenzo Barnó, architects

Estella, september 2011


Stepienybarno está formado por Agnieszka Stepien y Lorenzo Barnó, ambos arquitectos y formados en temas de Identidad Digital y Comunicación online. Desde el 2004 tenemos nuestro propio estudio de arquitectura, ubicado en un pequeño pueblo de Navarra, Estella, y ambos estamos embarcados en nuestras tesis doctorales. A su vez, colaboramos con otros profesionales tanto del ámbito de la arquitectura, sostenibilidad y comunicación online. Vivir en Estella nos da la tranquilidad necesaria para poder encarar el día a día con energía y la red nos posibilita contactar con un mundo maravilloso que de otra forma hubiera sido imposible.

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