Have you ever wondered what an architect actually does? Does he build structures? Or does he merely beautifies buildings? Some consider architects as problem solvers while others regard it as an old dying profession with no role to play in the future of the world. In essence, an architect is nothing more than the manipulator of the physical space. Humans exist and perceive everything in the fabric of space-time; space being the architects canvas and time his tool. Although every architect works in the three-dimensional space, very few ever dare to play with time.
In architecture, a space is anything which exists in the real world, it can be as vast as an entire metropolis for an architect working as a city planner and as intimate as a 10’x12′ bedroom for an interior architect. This makes the world the architect’s domain and there is possibly no other profession which has such a far reaching influence. The architects literally shape the world around us; and NO! an architect is not only a professional with an undergraduate degree in Architecture but it is anyone who has built something in block and mortar. The builders of the Stonehenge were architects, the planners of Çatalhöyük, the oldest-city excavated so far, were architects, the Pyramids of Giza were constructed by architects. The role of the architects is not to merely design a building but manipulate the space in such a way that it stands the test of time and echoes the ideals of those who built it. In the hand of an architect the space becomes a physical manifestation of ideas, culture, thoughts and society of the people living in that time.
From the Acropolis of the ancient Greek to the Vatican City, architects have for centuries represented their society, people and culture. Modern architects, much like modern artists, living in a global age, have instead sought to represent the thoughts of their clients. This has inevitably led to architecture, as a practice, becoming restricted to individuals only, where before the architect influenced the society and literally sought to shape the world, the architect of today seems to be content with catering to individuals with almost no sense of the world.
It is imperative for the next generation of architects to redefine their role as not just confined to walls of their design studios but spread out over the entire globe. The architect of tomorrow needs to be a policy-maker, an inventor, an entrepreneur and most of all socially aware in order to tackle the problems of world; because if there’s one profession that can significantly make an impact and ‘build’ a better world, it is that of an architect.