Architect versus Architect


This is not an homage to an old MAD comic or otherwise a call to war. This is however a (somewhat) serious distinction between the use and meaning of the word architect and architect.

It would be curious to take an official poll to understand what mostly pops into the mind of a person when asked what is an architect, or what does an architect do. Since I do not have access to such data, I did ask a bunch people that I interact with during the course of a few days. Pretty much without exception, they pointed to “someone who designs houses”… to something more general but clearly related to the construction industry.

Do the same search online, particularly when looking for employment, and the result is quite different. The vast majority of architects online relate to the IT field. Here the architect positions seek designers of platforms, networks and systems, rather than buildings, places and cities.

So what then is to become of the word “architect”? Having gone through extensive education, years of verified experience and licensing to allow myself to be called “architect” (indeed persons pretending to be an architect but not licensed are subject to disciplinary action and penalties), it is quite strange to fall under the expanding understanding as network designers. While the latter also have training, they are not required to be licensed in order to be called architect, nor do they have to undergo years of training.

Finally, a licensed architect, by executing the skill s/he learned is entrusted with the welfare of the general public (at least under Florida license). Maybe the same standard should be applied to the IT architect as the field of IT continuous to grow. Going forward however, the profession “architects” is clearly in a state of conflict.

Does architect simply mean “to design” something? …then what is the purpose of licensing? …and what does the public response mean as for the impression of the architect. Maybe it is time to rethink the education and practice of architecture in this transforming time. I always liked the idea to be called a Master – Builder; as in the times of old!


…curious about thoughts and comments!



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