Built Versus Natural Environment. We typicallytake built and natural environments to be clearly distinct. Thisdistinction does at least two kinds of work in philosophy ofarchitecture. For one, it helps establish what sorts of things wewould discount as architecture even on an inclusivistconception—and even there, we might accept lived-in caves asfound architecture but reject most other elements of thenatural environment as non-architecture (because neither built norfound). For another, we get a defined sense of natural contexts intowhich built environments fit (or not), without which any such notionsof fit are incoherent. If this is a viable (and desirable)distinction, it is perhaps less clear in what it consists. Onecandidate view is that we may distinguish the kinds of environments bytheir different sorts of objects and properties: we find columns inbuilt environments and trees in natural environments and never theother way around. Alternatives highlight the ascribable functions andintent that mark built environments but not natural environments; ordifferent sorts of behavior and obligations attached to the two kindsof environments. While an artifact-centered view of architectureweighs in favor of functions and intent as the most relevantdistinction, decaying value of design intent over the life of a builtstructure may give pause.
Political agency among architects is a special version of the moregeneral issue of architect agency relative to clients, including aswell corporate and individual clients. Architects have obligations tothe client’s aesthetic and utility concerns, and in virtue ofthose obligations, the responsibility, blame, and praise for a givenarchitectural object cannot be wholly attached to the architectalone. One question is what scenarios or conditions would need topertain to justify apportioning more or less agency—and,correspondingly, political or moral responsibility—to thearchitect or to the client, in design and build phases of realizing anarchitectural object. The phases matter. The design phase appears, atleast initially, to be the agency-wise province of the architect, andany post-build phase appears to be generally the province of theclient and any relevant user-base (until any such renovation orrepurposing as may occur). What happens in phases en route topost-build is murkier, though.
Even in generally free or open social settings, though, at thelevel of urban planning architecture indirectly determines behavior inpolitically shaped ways. Architects and others planning urban or otherdensely settled environments take into account such political aims ashonoring community values, promoting civic virtues, maximizing socialutility, fulfilling professional or public responsibilities, andrespecting citizen or leadership preferences (Haldane 1990, Paden2001, Thompson 2012). The politically hued results of such planningand design efforts, whether pursued in authoritative, consultative, orparticipatory processes, are architectural objects that change,encourage, or reward particular behaviors.
Among the architect's key responsibilities are management of change and complexity. Allowing for and managing future change is a fundamental part of well-designed complex systems, but anathema to agile methods such as eXtreme Programming. Neither is it easy to strive for simplicity. Complexity and simplicity are relative terms, and simplicity for one stakeholder means complexity from a different viewpoint, like the frantic activity underwater to power a duck's elegant glide.
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This is perhaps the prime responsibility of an architect: to balance the interests of a wide range of stakeholders. In doing so, we must take a much more sophisticated view than simply prioritising the delivery of software to the users.
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A far-reaching philosophy of architecture extends beyond even abroadly aesthetics-based assessment, to include considerations ofethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophical reflectionson psychology and the behavioral sciences. The aesthetics ofarchitecture, by itself, spans traditional issues mooted in philosophyof art, as well as aesthetics of the everyday, and environmentalaesthetics. Such traditional issues include the nature of the work;the possibility of classes, kinds, or types in the domain; thecharacter and roles of representation, intentionality, and expression;and the warranted foundations for criticism. The ethics ofarchitecture also addresses traditional issues, including delineationof rights, responsibilities, the good, virtues, and justice inarchitectural milieus. Still other aspects of philosophy ofarchitecture concern social and technological characteristics.
discusses the agile architect's role and responsibilities. There are a great many architectural roles in enterprise IT, but this site focuses on two: the Software Architect who develops the structure of an individual system, and the Enterprise Architect who focuses on how all the different systems, data, processes and strategies in an enterprise fit together.
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Professional Ethics. Architectural professionalethics focuses on architects’ moral choices in the context ofpractice (Wasserman, Sullivan, and Palermo 2000; T. Fisher2010). Professional ethical codes govern conduct in (and therebyprotect) the architectural profession and avert problems related tobusiness, fiduciary, insurance, or liability functions; the designfunction is an ethical focus relative to disability. Architectural lawhighlights professional ethics matters as concern property, liability,and honesty. The law clarifies responsibilities among parties toarchitectural practice; defines who or what in commercialarchitectural interactions has moral agency—hence rights; anddescribes utility-wise or financial measures of distribution inarchitecture. Legal regulations and judgments prompt conceptualquestions regarding such issues as intellectual property inarchitecture, architects as arbitrators, and architects’responsibilities to others (S. Fisher 2000a).
Future-Focused Architectural Ethics. The focus ofethical rights and responsibilities in architecture is typically takenas relative to present or past. Thus, we speak of obligations todesign and build in ethically responsible fashion, or preserve pastarchitectural objects. There are future-focused obligations, aswell. Sustainable design is forward-looking even as it is centered onwhat we design and build today. Further ethical issues may ariserelative to future architectural objects. As to obligations to futurearchitectural objects, we see as much in the short-terminstance of planning around near-future buildings. More puzzling iswhether we might have “long-haul” future-facingobligations—apart from utility or prudentialconsiderations—in planning, for example, new cities oraccommodations to climate change.To begin with, a traditional architectural ethics requires anaccount of architectural responsibilities. Any such accountshould outline architects’ obligations to other persons, ethicalstandards on which such obligations may be based, how to ensure suchstandards might be met, and any other sorts of obligations architectsmight have, as for example, to historic preservation or environmentalprotection. As concerns obligations to persons, the range ofstakeholders in architecture is great, hence ethical responsibility isdiffuse.Further, architectural appreciation is environmental inbuilding on our understanding of architectural objects based onexperiences in relation to their natural and built surroundings. Onone view, an architectural object may be more difficult to appreciateif we find that relation unexpected, or contrary to normativesensibility (Carlson 1999). If, however, appreciation does not requireenjoyment or satisfaction of any sort—and instead engages ourunderstanding of, for example, what was intended and why—we maywell appreciate in its own right an architectural object that has asurprising, even obnoxious relation to its surroundings.