“Craftsmen, Skilled and Trained”
When considering the society motto, technitai sophoikai dexioti; “craftsmen, skilled and trained,” I am immediately reminded of Philibert de l’Orme’s sixteenth- century allegory of “The Good Architect.” Through this perspective, one can understand certain ideals and aspirations of the profession. This also outlines the role of an architect.
In the image of our creator, we reflect His character. With craft we, too, can create objects of beauty. However, craftsmanship is not merely a measure of quality, but also an act of personal discipline. A good architect works with his hands and is an active participant in the process. An architect is a man of many hands, one who is skilled and participates in a variety of areas. Working with one’s hands is an intimate experience. This develops a special connection and investment with an art. A deep level of investment into a craft creates added understanding and a sense of accomplishment. An architect can certainly enjoy this process. Through study, exploration, and practice the craftsman architect advances an art and seeks to bring beauty into this world.
Everyone is given special gifts and skills that can be employed within a vocation. Visual and constructed arts can seemingly represent a manifestation of personal skill. The good architect uses these talents responsibly and learns to advance his skills. Through ongoing practice, his skills and dexterity prosper. With observation, he develops an eye and is aware of his surroundings. The skilled and attentive architect is able to improve in his design and conceptual abilities by simply exercising the gifts he is given.
Training is essential in the development and growth of an architect. Through education his mind can be opened to old and new ideas. The understood catalogue of accumulated knowledge establishes both a benchmark and springpoint to further progress the evolving profession. A good architect is mindful of history and learns from the past. In an idealized world, both ruinous and contemporary buildings are valued equally. These buildings are teachers, telling a story of the past in order to illuminate the future. Experience is another form of training as the good architect works with his hands and tools. He is well trained with a progressive view of the sciences. He uses technical tools and instruments to further his design process. Importantly, the good architect uses all that his training has taught him and teaches others. Through instruction both teacher and student can grow.
A good architect is a craftsman, skilled and trained. With pleasure and spirit, his hands create. Through observation, he looks to the natural world and is inspired to construct order and beauty in harmony. With his talents, he crafts dynamic and inspirational environments as a backdrop for community. He both values history and is open to new ideas. Considering this, upon entry into architectural practice as a young professional, I certainly do not hold the ambition of being the world’s most famous architect; I simply aspire to be a good architect.