Unlike any other profession, the activities of architects include such diverse areas as artistic design, detailed planning and commercial skills. Architects are creative people, engineers and entrepreneurs in one person. And their actions affect both individual and public interests.
Architects design and erect buildings, plan squares and parks, design and shape entire districts and residential areas with their ideas and visions – and thus indirectly also those people who live and work in these buildings or move around in public space designed by architects and urban planners.
Architecture often has an impact over many generations, whereas shorter periods of time also deserve special recognition. After all, people as cultural beings have been surrounded by architecture since birth. Even the structural and spatial design of a children’s day-care center or school canteen is important and entails a great deal of responsibility. Architecture already has a profound and lasting influence on adolescents – unfortunately, this also applies to random or thoughtless architecture.
The construction of houses consequently has both a historical and social dimension and is therefore of immense political importance: a roof over one’s head, decent living, are basic needs, the realization and concretization of which are the subject of social and political discourse – especially since “living” always means “life” and therefore includes social contexts outside one’s own four walls, such as traffic and mobility, culture and education. Responsible architects never ignore these essential and complex interrelations.
Technical requirements are combined with aesthetic, economic and social aspects: architecture should offer protection and safety, and also meet ecological standards with regard to construction methods, materials and energy efficiency, ideally anticipating future environmental conditions.
It is clear that there are no uniform or binding solutions for all these challenges and demands. The resulting confusion, however, does not release architects from their responsibility to reflect on the cultural, social and political dimensions of their work. Their concepts and ideas should offer answers to social questions beyond the concrete task. Gaus & Knödler Architects have committed themselves to this claim, which is also described in the company’s mission statement.
Photo: Roland Halbe