Why more architects should work for contractors

Siu-Pei Choi

Architect Siu-Pei Choi studied at the Bartlett and worked in practice before moving client-side. She explains why she has no regrets

As any architect will appreciate, having worked through seven long, challenging years of architectural education, it was no easy decision to take a job at a contractor.

Architects are used to working with contractors, in all guises, and have differing opinions about them. But one thing we probably all share is a growing sense of frustration that architects are becoming removed from the actual “building” of buildings. The advent of design & build has slowly helped to erode the influence architects have over quality, cost, programme – the golden triangle of any project.

This is drummed into us as part III students. We understand the delicate balancing act of the tenuous triptych but, in practice, have little input in maintaining this equilibrium, and often are not privy to the information we’d require anyway. The role of the architect has become too insular and focused on “design”.

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