I know this has been said a million times and I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to include it within my ‘Architect as…’ series but it’s important to recognise that the architect is in effect a prototype designer.
Every single architectural project is effectively a unique design; even with a mass produced or pre-fab built project the site will be different.
It’s important therefore to recognise that with every project the architect is creating a unique prototype for the client in terms of design and construction. That’s not to say that the client is acting as a guinea pig for untried and untested products; the architect needs to research methods that are proven to work or have the appropriate certification to ensure that they will not fail if implemented.
Take the width of the cavity as just one example ( refer back to the blog post on ‘The Good ol’ Irish cavity wall’ ). I had never built with a 200mm cavity but with research into the appropriate (non-conductive) wall ties, their spacings both horizontally and vertically and the appropriate cavity fill insulation we were able to construct with something that we had not done previously. This is just one example, the list of each material and construction method where the architect may have not used previously is endless.