Behind the scenes of the contemporary modes of architectural production

A PhD project by Angela Gigliotti

 

There is a controversial – but even close, real and urgent – topic in the architectural discourse that faces the delicate, undeniable, relationship between the economic system and the modes of production within practices. Architecture is a liberal profession that needs money to be realized as work but it is, or it should be, also able to generate an economic turnover to sustain the life of the labourers involved in it. The nature of the work in architectural profession is a crucial point of departure that this research addresses, and probably the reason of many dissatisfied architects.

Scholars have extensively focused both a genealogy of the main exporters of modes of production and, also, those cases where the friction between labour and work has been more evident. However, the cases of the knowledge-importers instead, and Scandinavia as one of those, have rarely been discussed. In this latter an investigation of the profession in relation to the economic system has not been a priority of scholars yet, concerned instead on the works of the architects, as welfare outcomes.

 

U67_Index Room_P31 Artikelbillede

Photo by: Luca Tenaglia.

The research aims to occupy this niche: to investigate the relationship between the Danish Welfare State and the contemporary modes of architectural production to unveil which are the mechanisms that the architectural practices (tegnestuer) have deployed to face economic junctures. The thesis addresses two time-spans. The first one, after the WWII (1945-75) covers the Trente Glorieuse and the production of the architects blossomed under the Great Optimization. The second one concerns the recent Neo-Liberal turn (1993-2016) focusing on: the national policies aimed to a flexible labour market; the supranational agreements of the European Union related to the free circulation of service; and, the adjustments to public procurement below the EU threshold. In both time-spans, the call to efficiency and standardization and the consequent division of labour will be addressed.  Using a mixed method, the research will define how global and local influencers have shaped the Danish architectural modes of production and which are the current mechanisms developed by the offices. The argument sustains that after the WWII, the influences on architectural profession were direct and boosted its blossoming intentionally (“hidden recipes”); while in Neo-Liberal times those have been indirect and perceived as brakes to the architectural profession (“red tapes”).

Period: 1 September 2016 – 31 August 2019

Supervisors