History of the Profession | Architect as Master Builder

Schemmer - Architect as Master Builder

Rome, Italy

From the early days of man, we have been a species that builds. Habitats provide shelter, security and a sense of place. The need for dwellings prompted the need for technology and people to build them. Essentially, early structures were just strategic piles of materials. Over time, as cultures became more sophisticated, so did their buildings. Homes, markets, places of government and worship were constructed. Patterns of city planning emerge from studying ancient cities. By highlighting the history of the profession, we can see the architect as master builder evolution.

History of the Profession | Architect as Master Builder

It is evident through anthropological research that the field of architecture and engineering was practiced from an early age and are still careers today. While they are similar, there are significant differences as well.

Schemmer - Leonardo DaVinci

Leonardo da Vinci

The Renaissance

A French word for rebirth, the renaissance was a period in European history known for resurrecting principles of art and innovation. An emphasis on humanity was the focus of all things and expressed through art and scientific discovery. An exhibit of this school of thought is DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man –a nod to Vitruvius, who authored the treatise De Architectura in 1st-century Rome and dedicated it to Caesar Augustus.

The Master Builder

Today, it is not uncommon for several professionals to collaborate in the design and construction of a project in their specialized fields. This was not the case in the renaissance. During this period, as well as previous centuries, the master builder was responsible for all aspects of the creation of a building from design concept through construction completion. Benefits to building this way include decisions being made with practicality in mind, consideration to how the assemblies will physically be built, and continuity throughout the project’s timeline. Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence, pictured above, is a great example of a renaissance project modeling the master builder approach.

The end of the Renaissance brought the end of this model of building. New models of separate specialized fields emerged. Codes and professional licensing divide the responsibilities of architects and engineers. Stereotypes of art and architecture, science and engineering, and construction and contractors separates the team into their respective tasks. Education is adapted to teach each trade accordingly.

It could be argued that architects, engineers and contractors could and should aspire to achieve the harmony of the master builder, but I have seen many instances where it was not successful. This is observed in spaces where the architect intended one thing, the engineer intended another, and the contractor deviated from both. The space feels disjointed and the lack of coordination (communication) is often obvious. In other cases, a detail was generated by the architect without consideration of how the assembly would be constructed. Coordination, clarity and communication are critical to maintaining the intentions of the team and appearing as though one individual formed the entire thing.

The Schemmer Advantage

Our team provides full-service architecture and engineering. This means we coordinate our documents and projects at a higher level. Additionally, our team takes advantage of cross-discipline training so that everyone is familiar with strategies and concepts. Providing architecture and engineering services allows seeking advice from other specialties. Our team delivers thorough, concise documents that result in remarkable projects. We have the combined experience to handle a variety of projects and conditions. As professionals, we strive to emulate the precision of the master builder. Our projects speak for themselves, and our repeat clients are a testament that our process works.

Sources: Renaissance - Wikipedia; Vitruvian Man - Wikipedia; Vitruvius - Wikipedia; Learning From the Master Builders - Stories - Beyer Blinder Belle

Liz Meyer - Schemmer Designer and Blog Author

Liz Meyer - Schemmer

Liz Meyer

With a passion for architecture and writing, Schemmer's Liz Meyer started contributing 18 months ago on Blueprint South Dakota, a blogging outlet for architects in South Dakota. As a child, the houses she drew on her chalkboard were drawn in section, and her Lego houses had working dumbwaiters. Her parents knew early on that she was destined for design.

Since graduating with a Master of Architecture from Kansas State in 2012, Liz has gained experience from a variety of fields within the building industry. From drafting at a metal building manufacturer to working at architecture firms to assisting a real estate broker/developer, she has always had a passion for influencing the built environment.

As a designer at Schemmer, Liz enjoys learning new things and refining her skills with help from other licensed professionals. She is pursuing an architectural license and hopes to continue to shape the spaces and places around her in a positive way.

Design with Purpose. Build with Confidence.

Schemmer is a full-service architecture, engineering, and construction field services consultant, providing responsible solutions for complex design and construction-related challenges.

Founded in 1959, we are grounded in our past but remain fully committed to the future. Located in four states and seven offices throughout the Midwest, Schemmer is providing services to clients from coast-to-coast and border-to-border across the United States.

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