As architects, we are becoming more conscious of the environmental, social, and political calamities that affect vulnerable populations all over the world. We are trained to have specialized knowledge that, when used tactfully, may benefit teams working on disaster relief and construction projects. Ethics are collections of principles and beliefs that together represent a society’s view of what is good and wrong. While ethics may appear to be everlasting, they are always evolving, and what is often considered to be right or bad can suddenly alter.

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Ask the right questions

A bystander would never be really able to explain the job of an architect. They can’t imagine emphasizing innovation, aesthetics, or the construction of magnificent constructions that people can only gaze at. They would reply simply that a home is built by an architect. He constructs homes. What are we as architects doing in a society where more than 20% of people lack sufficient housing and roughly 2% of the population—or over 150 million people—are homeless?

Are we building more structures like the Burj Khalifa, of which one-third is inaccessible, or are we building enormous stadiums like the Al Wakrah, whose construction claimed the lives of more than 500 workers? When it comes to practicality, we lack the means and the will to create places that will assist social society. We present instances of notable structures that transformed the vision of many architects and influential buildings that influenced architectural style. We, instead, produce a dull design and call it a day.

The architect’s social obligation stems in part from their conviction that design can improve communities, have an impact on society, and even contribute to the civilization of a place by making it more habitable. In terms of serving as a social catalyst, architecture is less successful than, say, promoting a healthy economy by directly sponsoring public projects, curing AIDS, putting an end to homelessness, or enhancing education. Even if a great school building might create a better atmosphere for learning, it is not as necessary as farmers gathering food or instructors instructing kids. These are all arguable points of view, yet it is impossible to demonstrate how architecture influences our lives or the character of a community.

Social responsibility in architectural practice

As architects, we would like to think that architecture has an impact on people’s quality of life. Whether you agree with that or not, it is true that we, as members of society, can influence the standard of living in our communities by getting involved outside of our profession, we have the power to affect social dynamics and even bring about constructive social change.

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As architects, it is our duty to produce designs that rectify the past, pave the path for a better future, and contribute to finding solutions rather than causing more issues. It should watch out for the environment, economy, and nation as a whole, not just to serve the wealthy but also the underprivileged and reduce the wealth gap.

One method to significantly lessen our influence on the environment while also providing enough housing for a big population and its business requirements is through sustainable design. It is a means to reacquaint individuals with their natural surroundings and get them to cooperate with it as opposed to competing with it. Understanding the demands of the community and its surroundings, which may not always be the same, is part of architectural social responsibility. In a perfect world, the architecture would blend in with the surroundings both practically and aesthetically.

The emergence of Earthships and tyre houses in recent years is one example of how common people may take on architecture as a social responsibility. People with little to no building knowledge can construct earthships in an ecologically friendly manner. They are created using waste materials like tyres and bottles and are intended to blend in with the surrounding environment, requiring less energy-intensive heating and cooling equipment.

Ethics in architectural practice

The architect is viewed as an advocate for social welfare in the broadest sense, shaping the physical environment to increase societal contentment by expressing more profound ideas about the nature of existence. All three approaches—professional ethics, aesthetic ethics, and environmental stewardship ethics—can be understood as deriving from ethical principles as established by philosophers. These principles share values of fairness and actions that advance society.

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Immanuel Kant asserts that a deed is morally right only if it is morally right for everyone using this remark. Architects and architectural scholars have been deeply embroiled in a wide collection of ethical concerns that they hardly ever discuss, including the role of the practicing architect and the researcher in the construction of architecture and with it societal discourse. Professional ethics often ignores these problems, but philosophical ethics addresses them in the abstract.

Building designs, building placement, landscape and infrastructure, building materials, office organisation, and the construction process itself all entail considerations about the architect’s method and final output in professional practice. The ethical implications of such choices are typically not considered. Ethics-related talks are still quite scarce for architectural researchers. Institutional review boards frequently evaluate study designs and ensure that no physical or psychological harm comes to human or animal participants by addressing ethical issues. Thus, it is generally agreed that research questions themselves are morally neutral. Finding new information and creating new ideas have replaced picking questions based on the ethical framework as the main criteria for success.

Everywhere in the personal and professional life, ethics is a common concept. Being morally upright may have an influence on a large population in various situations that an architect encounters. As a result, we have governing structures and regulations that we follow to maintain order. With the ability to express ourselves via our creations comes a significant duty to support society and behave properly.

References:

  1. Linkedin.com. 2022. ROLE OF AN ARCHITECT IN A COMMUNITY, SOCIETY OR CIVILIZATION. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/role-architect-community-society-civilization-akshay-garg/

 

Author

Gargi is strong willed, sure of herself and fiercely moral. Whether it’s taking on a challenge at work or striking up a conversation with a friend, she can always be counted on to make the courageous move. Gargi’s drive to create and inspire fuels her every move - at work, with friends and at home. Whether she’s involved in artistic pursuits or problem solving at the office, her creative side always backs her up.

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