Vision and Visualization in Architect Work
In this fourth chapter, the visual practices of architects will be examined. While contemporary technoscience is intimately bound up with a long series of technologies, tools, and visions machines structuring, shaping, forming, and enabling what Paul Virilio (1989) has called a “logistics of perception,” the work of practicing architects is less directly determined by technology. Being a professional discipline operating in the intersection between the arts, social planning, and the engineering sciences, architect’s work is perhaps more than anything else characterized by the “mutual adjustment” (Thompson, 1967) between a variety of interests and expectations, at times complementary or even contradictory. The built environment should, for instance, be aesthetically appealing, produced at a reasonably low cost, and adhere to principles of sustainable development. The architect is therefore the hub in a complex centre of relations including a range of stakeholders such as clients, local politicians, end users, the broader public, and, not to forget, the community of architects that by the end of the day is evaluating the performance of the commissioned architect. One must not overlook the fact that architects are a professional group and like most professional groups, peer review and credibility from peers are what counts. This does not make professional groups wholly inward oriented; they are rather operating on basis of a set of institutions, routines, traditions, and other factors determining the situation and the actual practice, but it is ultimately only peers-fellow professionals-that
are considered qualifi ed to evaluate whether the actual situation was handled professionally or not.