There are people using the title “Designer” in every nook & corner in society today. If the slightest artistic or creative part is involved in the job role, we often meet “designers”. But to be professionally involved in any aspect of design, there is a set of knowledge, skills and experience that is essential. To be a responsible professional to the country and the world, there are so many additional aspects also to be considered. This article is aimed to give you a short understanding of how to differentiate a designer and professional architect from the crowd.
Let’s start with a simple example. To be a talented professional lawyer, firstly, it is essential that you enter Law College. After studying law, you are required to undergo a training of several years under a senior practising Lawyer. Afterwards, if you intend to practice law as a profession, you need to advance your career step by step, going through various written examinations, practical examinations, training, etc.
Therefore it is clear that being good at debating or being well-read on law books alone is not enough to be a professional lawyer. All other professions are the same. In order to become a professional and excel in any field; let it be Engineering, Medicine, Architecture, Accounting, etc. a considerable time and effort needs to be spent on behalf of it, gaining the necessary knowledge, skills and experience.
You may have often heard the word “Chartered” when describing many professionals; Chartered Accountant, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Architect, Charted Quantity Surveyor, etc. Simply being an Engineer or Architect is not enough to practice it as a profession. It is required to pass a special educational and practical examination in order to gain the title “Chartered” before becoming a professional.
Let’s take a Structural Engineer as an example. Consider a building structure designed by a Structural Engineer for a skyscraper with around 100 stories, and by a mistake made by him, the building collapses, a countless number of lives can be swept away in a split second. In such a case, who takes responsibility? Such blunders can be avoided only by a Professional Structural Engineer. They are trained with the necessary responsibility, knowledge and skills in undertaking such a huge responsibility.
Likewise, in professions that are socially, locally, environmentally and globally responsible, the title “Chartered” has been introduced to maintain the necessary standards. There are relevant professional institutes in Medicine, Law, Aviation, Engineering, etc, that award the above title. The process and examination styles vary according to the profession, but “Chartered” is a general title used to distinguish professionals from the general public.
Since the knowledge of this professional background is not publicly known, people do not know the scope of a Designer or an Architect. Designing a house plan is just one of the simplest projects handled by a Chartered Architect. More complex projects like buildings with a hundred stories, hotel complexes, bridges to cross rivers, hospitals, universities, airports, railways stations and bus stations, all come under the scope of projects handled by a Chartered Architect.
It is now clear that being a Chartered Architect is a serious profession that goes beyond the term “Design”. Yet most people in our country use the services of a Chartered Architect only in getting a house plan designed. This is the reason, even Chartered Architects are often discussed using general terms like “House Planners” or simply “Architects”. This situation is not limited to our country, but can be seen commonly in most developing countries. This is why it is required to bring to public attention the knowledge of the above mentioned professional standards, complexity of buildings and technological advancements for the country’s development,.
There is another pressing concern that needs to be brought to attention. It has been identified that there are several unprofessional individuals misusing this lack of knowledge of the public, and stealing people’s money by calling themselves “Master Architects”. While there is no such professional title worldwide, it needs to be clearly communicated that the only official title awarded for professional architect is the term “Chartered”.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) is currently taking precautionary measures in bringing legal action to such people, but it still needs to be brought to public attention.
The next article will discuss the use of media for professions like Architecture, Wasthu and Astrology. Also, later on we will discuss on how to pursue a career as a professional architect, if you are a skilled designer with dreams of becoming an Architect.
Translated by Udari Mohotti
Professional in charge – Architecture
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