Erin Doering | Prompt 1

The fact that the architecture field is called a practice means there is an ongoing learning experience that occurs in each project. Each project requires adjustments according to project type, design, timing, contract type, and the complexities of the players involved in the decision making process. These adjustments are better made through ongoing practice and experience acquired not only in our careers, but life.

Practicing architecture requires all the various and multi-disciplinary skills that architects spend time learning. Because architects are known as jacks of all trades and masters of none, they are required to a career-long dedication to learning and practicing, constantly improving and planning from lessons learned. Client and contractor relations are integral parts of architectural practice. It is an art and requires the practice soft skills which include, but not limited to, good communication, teamwork, adaptability, conflict management, resourcefulness, persuasion, and openness to criticism.

For architects, it is not sufficient to be merely informed. A professional must actively inform and set forth educated and expert alternatives or a series of effective and accessible responses. Architects must learn to communicate ways to avoid panic and to tell the truth in a manner that mitigates or eliminates mass hysteria. The best ethical action is not about choosing one way or another. Rather, it is about the way in which bad news or mistakes are delivered.

Three ethical questions or circumstances that are integral in the aspect of client and contractor relationships are:

  1. Do you communicate concerns with the contractor before you submit a field report to the client? Is the situation different whether you are hired by the contractor or client?
  2. How do you voice your concern when a client asks you to design something that doesn’t align with your core values, code compliance, or cause improvement for the community?
  3. A client and building inhabitant might be quite distinct in their conflicts or opinion. What do you do?


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