The Responsibility of an Architect
I decided to write something quite personal in this article, to write about my access to architecture and the question about the responsibility as an architect towards the society. When I started to study architecture I thought my responsibility is to design nice buildings. That was five years ago. The more I got to know about the various fields of architecture, the more time passed and the more mature I became, the more my mind changed. Now I started with the Master’s and of course the question about our responsibility as future architects is omnipresent.
In my first Semester of the Bachelor`s degree we had to design an Atelier for an Artist. I chose Joseph Beuys. What got stuck in my mind after the project was not my design but the artist and most of all his quote and topic that “Everyone is an artist”. By saying that Beuys doesn’t mean that every human should become a painter, sculptor or dancer. In fact Beuys uses the word “artist” to describe the need and ability to create and be creative which is in his mind, the core of what it means to be a human being. Consequently everybody can and needs to be creative no matter if he or she is a mother, a manager, a driver or a painter. It doesn’t matter how you express your creativity, being an artist means expressing yourself in whatever way feels natural to you. By observing my familiar surrounding and furthermore the society, I experienced that Beuys’ claim that everybody should follow what he’s good in by nature what seems so simple is in fact not easy and most of us are searching for that profession, many for their entire life while working with something which doesn’t satisfy them. Beuys asserts that the core to find one’s natural profession, one’s talent is consciousness. However, again, what is now our responsibility as architects for the society? Can architecture help people to find their talent?
In my third year of the Bachelor’s degree I studied under Professor Urs Egg. His way of teaching was project based. He didn’t demand, he asked questions to understand our work and therefore taught us first of all to understand our natural expression and ourselves. We became more and more conscious in what we were doing and what we wanted to work with. This lead me to the office where I’ve been working since I graduated with the Bachelor`s degree. The office is called ‘ma_ma’ and like a mother we want to create the right framework for coming together, like a mother who assembles the family around the table. This framework should be the breeding ground for it’s users, the people to be and develop themselves. Our main tool is empathy. We try to sense what is appropriate for a specific place. Our architecture doesn’t have to be a landmark. It’s way more stage and the people who use it are it’s most important ingredient. With a friend of mine I started the collective Auf’strich. We think that our architecture doesn’t have to scream for attention. It doesn’t have to stand for its own. We think that architecture can as well support and refine what is already there like a spread refines its bread. We believe that the most important in our work is being present. Being present and believe in what we are doing to create a framework which represents that safety in a subtle way and which can therefore lead the users to feeling conscious.
And now? Is there a general formula for an appropriate design which offers the right breeding ground for users feeling conscious? No, of course it’s not that easy because one can standardize good design as little as human nature and taste. However, I think our responsibility as architects towards the society is to be conscious in what we design. However we shouldn’t take the design as an object as the most important subject but literally as an object and it’s users as the most important subject. Therefore it doesn’t matter if our design is a chair, a house, a public place or a city. Moreover I think that our main responsibility towards the society no matter if we are architects, mothers, teachers or farmers is to be conscious and do what we are good in and by radiating that I’m sure it will affect others positively.
Ar. Franziska Moehrle - Franziska`s language are words. By reading, listening and talking she constantly tries to understand the complexity of almost everything that surrounds us. Franziska hopes to never lose the curiosity of a child, she never wants to stop asking questions and quit learning. She loves to work with different materials by hand especially with clay. She is addicted to coffee and flea markets, she`s a collector of ingentings (swedish for nothing), a philanthropist and the co-founder of the collective Auf`strich.