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Krzysztof Ingarden on the work of an architect #the architect's profession

01 of April '20

The latest April issue of A&B is devoted to the conditions for practicing the architectural profession. On our portal, as part of a new series under the title "The profession of architect," we continue the conversation started on the pages of moodboard - we ask what it means today to be an architect and what are the conditions for practicing this profession, and we illustrate the statements with unrealised office projects. Read what Krzysztof Ingarden of Cracow-based INGARDEN & EWÝ ARCHITEKCI thinks on the subject.

Krzysztof Ingarden

Krzysztof Ingarden

Photo: Andrzej Świetlik

1 What does it mean to be an architect today?
2. what are the conditions for practicing the profession of an architect?

The concept and scope of our profession have not fundamentally changed in the last century. An architect was an artist of space who, based on knowledge of many detailed fields, created synthetic solutions. Relying both on methods proven by tradition, experience and science, and on the constant search for new ideas - on the essentially irrational work of his own imagination andintuition, which were what determined the novelty and the specific creative creation, and as a result, made it possible to say about architecture that it was "alive." This was vividly put by the now deceased, irreverent composer Krzysztof Penderecki, saying in one of his interviews that an artist is like a tree, firmly planted with its roots in the ground, so that it can touch the sky with its crown.

The question of today, the conditions under which we practice our profession? Do we see special and new circumstances today that would make the current situation of an architect different from the one we observed in the last century, in which the titans of modernism, such as Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, (also, for example, the Polish members of CIAM: the Praesens group - Helena Syrkusowa, Szymon Syrkus) or later, in the 1970s. and 80s, the postmodernists Robert Venturi, Hans Hollein, Arata Isozaki, or from the one that has been developing for about 30 years as the era of globalization, technological digitalization, homogenization of culture, as well as the climate challenges of ecosystem degradation?

There is no doubt that a contemporary architect must respond to social, technological and environmental challenges, create accessible and sustainable architecture. However, one can venture to say that the adaptation of architecture to these requirements is now an obvious standard, and the tools to achieve this goal are clearly defined. Architectural offices now have the capacity to control and apply the tools.

The same phenomena to which an architect tries to respond with his work - market processes, politics, developments in science and technology - are developing in their own specific rhythm, one might say parallel to architecture. Architects have a negligible influence on their development dynamics. We, at some point, find ourselves in circumstances created by these external factors. One such factor is the globalization and digitalization of our profession, communication techniques, the development of CAD techniques and artificial intelligence. It is likely that in the near future, the next-generation AI-BIM(Artificial Intelligence-BuildingInformation Modeling) self-learning architectural software will develop to the point where it will be able to replace architects and engineers whether we want it or not. What's more, any entrepreneur, developer equipped with the right AI-BIMsoftware will be able to design and execute a DIY project without the need for the services of a now redundant architect. He will simply enter the coordinates of the property boundaries, the parameters of the desired building - that is, the appropriate number of apartments, rooms, number of floors, the expected cost of construction per square meter, and the machine will analyze this data and propose a solution to the task, taking into account the laws of physics, building regulations, formal guidelines from the local plan, the local climate and spatial conditions of the neighborhood, as well as estimate the financial feasibility, etc. A more advanced version of the program will be able to offer additional variants with individual features of the building form, generated on the basis of algorithms drawn from analyses of historical buildings. Ultimately, if the developer's ambitions are to further individualize the architectural form, the process of generating forms can be based on other types of algorithms, for example, on the results of surveys of demand for certain forms among the local community, based on conclusions derived from analysis of large data sets of so-calledBig Data. However, if the designed forms of buildings were to surprise architecture experts with some mannerist unpredictability and uniqueness, architectural forms could be generated, for example, based on algorithms derived from catastrophe theory. This vision can be developed at will....

It is quite likely that the future of architecture will be such a pragmatic, yet highly sophisticated and individualized production produced by intelligent machines - devoid of the traditionally understood artistic vision, intention, individuality of the creator and emotion. Will it be the architectural incarnation of the modern Zeitgeist?

This architecture will be perfectly adapted to the environment, will implement the principles of sustainability in all possible aspects, and, very importantly, will be perfectly tailored to the individual needs of each end user, as it will be created based on his individual psychological profile. Arguably, it will guarantee full satisfaction not only to the individual user, but to entire local communities.

It is difficult to predict whether the above perspective on the development of technology related to architecture and the architectural profession will gain an advantage over conservative tendencies that will undermine this direction (we can imagine street protests by architects in defense of the traditional form of the profession organized by the SARP and the Chamber of Architects), but artificial intelligence technology is developing, and its further expansion seems inevitable. Perhaps the architect in its current form will soon become an endemic species, functioning for a handful of rich eccentrics who like to continue wearing tailored suits....


Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts
Krakow's Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Academy.

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