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The role of the architect in housing design: Old and new [ITU J Faculty Arch]
ITU J Faculty Arch. 2006; 3(1): 5-23

The role of the architect in housing design: Old and new

Eric Dluhosch
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Building Technology Program, Cambridge MA, U.S.A

Based on the evidence of the last century, one must conclude that the architect cannot fill the role of both interpreter and trustee of the values of small elites and at the same time pretend to be a spokesperson for the so- called masses. The former requires the architect to represent society by proxy; the latter requires representation by direct engagement with the end user. Power elites tend to be able to enforce the formalization of their value systems in terms of access to political, social, economic, and cultural levers or power. By virtue of education or birth, or both, the elite architect quickly learns to understand and obey the language of establishment culture. This is not evil in itself. As long as society shares the values of its elite, the architect has no problems of "decoding" cultural messages and translating them into built form, and all without much dispute usually accepts his work. Once this link is broken, architecture becomes irrelevant in both realms. Elitist architecture merely awes and intimidates either by its size or by its exotic forms, while mass architecture repulses by its banality and shoddiness. The conflict between these two extremes breeds alienation at best, confrontation and destructive rage at worst.

Keywords: The role of the architect, Housing design, Old, New


Eric Dluhosch. The role of the architect in housing design: Old and new. ITU J Faculty Arch. 2006; 3(1): 5-23

Corresponding Author: Eric Dluhosch, Türkiye


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