Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Tensions and Challenges in Architectural Practice

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posted on 2021-12-07, 23:14 authored by Warnock, Claire

This thesis builds on existing research which examines the impact of architectural culture and the changing role of the profession, recognising that there is a need for drastic change in the way in which the architect’s role is comprehended. The thesis follows a qualitative research methodology, considering key issues emerging from theoretical research, advancing understanding of these issues through in-depth semi-structured interviews with architects working in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The thesis begins with a review of current literature to situate the study within a theoretical framework and to direct the content of the qualitative research. What is made evident through this section, is the increasing gap between the image of the architect and the actuality of architectural practice. Next, the thesis reports on the qualitative research undertaken, the data collected and the results of the analysis. Architects were asked to describe their experiences of the tensions and challenges affecting their role and to comment on how they negotiate these through how they work. The results of the research shows that the architects interviewed are less invested in the image of the architect than the creative processes involved in delivering a project, and that a focus on image obscures the significance of this process. The study concludes that the creative processes inherent in the architect’s vocation support innovative and adaptive working; thus, architects are equipped with the skills to evolve their role from within, to become facilitators to the requirements of the changing context.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Architecture

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Smitheram, Jan