The Ethical Standards and Architecture

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The Ethical Standards (abbreviated E.S.) are articulated in the Code with respect to each canon. For example, the Ethical Standards listed under Canon V shown above are as follows:

E.S. 5.1 Professional Environment: Members should provide their associates and employees with a suitable working environment, compensate them fairly, and facilitate their professional development.

E.S. 5.2 Professional Recognition: Members should build their professional reputation on the merits of their own service and performance and should recognize and give credit to others for the professional work they have performed.

The Rules (abbreviated by an "R" in the Code) are mandatory actions pertaining to each Ethical Standard.

Members leaving an employer's service shall not without the permission of the employer take designs, drawings, data, reports, notes, or other materials relating to the firm's work, whether or not performed by the member.

The force and validity of the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct is such that it serves as a measure of the practitioner's dedication to the architectural profession. It is not necessary to become a member of the AIA if you become registered, but similar standards of practice have frequently been cited by several states' licensing and registration agencies in their examination of candidates for licensure and enforcement of registration requirements.


Earlier in this chapter, we discussed the personal attitudes required of those considering a professional career and suggested that you candidly examine yourself in light of these requirements. Briefly, these attitudes were the following:
  • personal character
  • capacity for human understanding
  • physical stamina and self-discipline
  • satisfaction with intrinsic rather than material rewards
To these we can now add the aptitudes required of those considering a career in architecture. Again, you should candidly ex-amine your own talents in light of these requirements.


Are you a creative dreamer, an idea person? Do you usually have several suggestions on how to face up to a situation or solve a problem? Architectural practice requires the continuous production of new and creative solutions to design and construction problems.

Common Sense

Do you have a faculty for sound judgment? Can you balance the ideal and desirable with the practical and achievable? Architectural solutions must be practical as well as stimulating if they are to result in construction.


Are you a person of keen and ardent interests? An architect must be able to project ideas and philosophies to others. The architect's ideas are of little value if they cannot be sold to others.


Can you work with others? Can you accept their ideas and thoughts and merge them with your own? Building design and construction involves hundreds of people, all of whom look to the architect for general direction and guidance.


Can you visualize space, color, and texture? The very essence of architecture is delight-the pleasant stimulation of the senses. The architect determines the potential delight of a space as it is designed.


Do you have a sense of what is appropriate, timely, and suitable? Successful architecture is always appropriate to its time, place, and function.


Can you cope with a variety of details and meld them into a coherent, rational whole? A building design incorporates tremendous amounts of detailed information.


Can you see a project through to its completion in spite of delays and pressures? The usual building project is stretched out over many months of work and typically encounters periods of delay while awaiting decisions and periods of overtime work to meet deadlines.


Do you have a faculty for mathematics, engineering, and other scientific and technical concerns? Contemporary building design and construction is as much a science as an art. The architect deals daily with structural, mechanical, sanitary, illuminative, power, and other technological problems.


Can you judge the distances between things and their bulk, height, length, and width? Architecture involves size and shape, and the architect must have a good eye for the size of things.


Can you express your ideas graphically, orally, and in writing? Obviously, the architect must be able to draw- both freehand as well as mechanically, using a variety of drafting instruments and aids. These require a refined sense of color, economy of line, and the use of shade and shadow. But the practice of architecture involves an immense amount of writing also, much of it quite technical. Furthermore, there are countless occasions where the architect must rely on verbal imagery to explain ideas to others.


Do you have a sense of business and personnel ad-ministration? The architect brings together many people and interests to produce a building and manages the expenditure of considerable sums of money in doing so.

If you can answer "yes" to each of these points, you have the basic aptitudes required for the rigors of a career in architecture.


This concludes our discussion of the responsibilities, obligations, and rewards of the professional, as well as the profession and vocation of architecture. Later chapters detail the educational, internship, and licensing requirements you must meet if you are someday to enter such practice.

By now you recognize that if you choose a career in architecture, you also choose to devote your adult life to searching out, under-standing, and coordinating all the resources required for building our physical environment, and in so doing, protecting the public interest in the design and construction of buildings and the spaces between. As we have noted, the demands placed upon the professional architect are great, but so are the rewards. Architecture can be seen, felt, lived in, and used; architecture shapes our lives, adds beauty to our world, and, if fine enough, its influence will last long after its creator is gone. Most important is the fact that, if you choose to be an architect, you know that your work will make a contribution to the present and future welfare of your community.
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