While I admire the quality of the work architects produce, I cannot help but disagree with Keith Mason’s Open Mike (24 October). There is only room for one leader, but that isn’t necessarily the architect.
As Keith rightly says, the architect used to lead the project team. Yet historically their role was limited and it soon became apparent that what the client wanted was an independent person to look after the project from start to finish – hence the creation of the project leader.
The leader is the inspiration and director of the action, the person with the winning combination of personality and skills that makes others want to follow their direction. A leader must be ready to make difficult decisions to ensure design matches budget. All this requires objective, unemotional judgment – something the project manager is well positioned to do.
The architect already has quite enough to do to have time to lead the project as a whole
This is not to, as Mason says, diminish the architect’s role – the architect will always be vital as design leader. But they have enough to do interpreting the client’s requirements, developing the optimum design solution, placating the statutory authorities and co-ordinating the design process. Which is where the project manager steps in.
Ralph Dando, partner, Robinson Low Francis