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The Invisible Architect

Picture a building of your choice-the Burj Khalifa, the Eiffel tower or one of the older examples if you like-say,The Taj.

What do you appreciate?-the form, colors , massing & sometimes if you are not a layman -the details.You praise the architect,you praise their skills, their talent,their vision,workmanship etc.

Lets think here-can only skill,talent,money,time be the only factors behind a structure of this size,legacy & complexity?

In today’s changing times,the role of an architect has evolved drastically.An architect today has more options & sub fields than ever to choose from.Most of us are more technical than creative.A typical architect now is an invisible hand behind not just the design,but an integrated design.They are the ones who can appreciate,understand & drive the role of all disciplines while putting a building together.

Just to give you a brief on how big a task this is-An average tower of 22 floors ideally has around 12 sub consultants of different disciplines involved-security,signage,lighting,waste management,fire & life safety,mechanical,electrical,plumbing,interiors,structures,facade,road & traffic consultants; to name a few.Not all these people involved can imagine in real time the repercussions of their decisions.It takes a manager,a director to give you the complete picture.A veteran in the field rightly once said to me-Constructing a building is like making a movie-there are lot of people involved & not all will have the bigger picture in their minds.An architect is the director of the movie-one who visualizes,ensures the casting is right & then tells the story in the way everyone can understand.

How often is the end user able to appreciate the flawless co-ordination between mechanical ducts,electrical housings & plumping concealment with the architectural intent?How often can the user appreciate the different layers & types of glass used to precaution accidents in a high rise, or the structural elements co-ordinated with the architecture, or even the technical knowledge behind the types of blocks used & the farsightedness behind specifications insisted on for the materials?I would say,not very often.

It is courageous of an architect to fight all these elements to conceptualize & finally execute a dream, but even more courageous is the team who believes & risk their heads with their expertise.It only asks the user to be trusting,patient & also appreciative of the enormous effort that many invisible people put in to make it a reality.

So,next time you like a building,give a thumbs up to the entire team-architecture is no more solo.It affects & engulfs more & more people as it progresses-first the Client,then the designers,then the sub consultants,then the contractors,the sub contractors & then goes around in a circle back to user-an architect visualizes this circle & makes sure it keeps moving.More & more the actual architects are invisible,not named or famed, & it is time you meet them.

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