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An architect is not only a "man of buildings," but also a "man of people." Monika Arczynska in the series #zawód architekt

27 of May '20

What does it mean to be an architect today? What are the conditions for practicing this profession? In the series "The Profession of Architect" we address these two questions to Polish architects and female architects, and we illustrate the statements with unrealized office projects. In today's installment of the series - Monika Arczynska from A2P2 Architecture & Planning office.


Monika Arczynska

Let's perhaps first specify whether the question is "What does it mean to be an architect" or "What does it mean to be an architect in Poland". In our country, the profession primarily means being the alpha and omega and an extremely busy person (although the latter aspect of the profession is international). I'm joking, of course, but after years of working abroad, with projects scattered all over the world, upon returning to Poland this aspect of the profession surprised me the most. A Polish architect is expected to know everything about every subject, while my experience shows that for specialized knowledge it's better to go to industry professionals, leaving myself the role of conductor in charge of the whole. That's right: the versatility of education and preparation for the profession is a huge advantage of Polish designers, but underestimated in our country are cooperation skills and flexibility in the broad sense. The basis of this profession is the ability to formulate questions, and only then to seek design answers, always in a multi-discipline team. Current conditions allow versatility to be used in many different ways. An architect is not just a "building man," signing off on projects and overseeing progress, but also, as my students once aptly put it, a "people man." Education, participation, interdisciplinary exploration, and a focus on the user rather than the building itself are the key slogans of contemporary architecture. Having worked on museum projects myself for years, I decided that my aptitude, experience and temperament would work better in the pre-design stage. Although I learned a lot from engineers and contractors, I missed working with sociologists or economists. Today, my greatest professional satisfaction comes from building a structure and process from scratch, from which a specific object or complex will grow - even if I'm not the one who will ultimately design it. Although I use a variety of tools to do this - participatory activities, scientific research and expert knowledge from a variety of fields - I would not be able to piece together such a process if it were not for the design experience. It is the successive stages of a project, from the initial vision, to giving it a material dimension, to implementation, that allows the integration of different perspectives of view into a single solution. Probably due to the cult of the "creative individual," teamwork is highly undervalued by architects, although it is practiced by everyone. That's why, as an architectural educator teaching in the architecture department, I emphasize this aspect of the profession above all.


A2P2 architecture & planning

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