Cost vs Creativity: Should Architecture Students be taught to Balance both

I had an interesting conversation with a QS colleague of mine. We were discussing Architects not taking cost into consideration when designing.  Also how this can impact the project cost. I asked him if he thought students of architecture should be made conscious of design’s financial implications.

Do architects really prioritize design (aesthetics and function) over cost?

A few days after this conversation, I stumbled upon an article on the internet. An online forum where participants in the construction industry contribute.

They (not architects) stated that what most architects are after is aesthetics and not the cost implication that arises from insisting on their works being built as designed.

In fact, they also claimed that architects are bad builders because they prioritize aesthetics over budget.

You cannot separate architecture from money.

Architectural works can’t be built without money. No design builds Itself, it requires a certain type of client who is willing to fund it and thus demand value. However, is this enough reason to burden the developing senses of students of architecture with the financial implication of every line they draw on paper?   In my opinion, the answer is NO. Students of architecture should be allowed to dream without boundaries.

Think outside the box because for the greatest part of their professional lives most will be compelled to design within budgets.

Is ignorance of Cost dangerous?

Ignorance they say is bliss. Not knowing certain things sometimes allows you to think differently, unconventionally and outside the box.

This is what we strive to teach students – outside-the-box thinking.

The design of a building within a budget and without a budget is never the same.

In the case of a budget, the designer is disciplined by budget but the design is still limited. The designer has to work harder and think within confinements.

While in the case of no budget, the designer is free to explore. He doesn’t feel limited and therefore is likely to express interesting ideas easily.

Is introducing financial implications in design an extra burden on students of architecture?

Students of architecture while in school struggle to understand and master the processes of architectural design. Burdening them with the financial implication of design may distort their growth design-wise.

It is when the design has been mastered that financial implications can be discussed with students. Which may not be until their master’s programme or possibly their professional pupilage.

Is cost consideration in design really a big issue?

I have heard several arguments that students of architecture must be equipped with the knowledge of cost.

That when this is lacking their designs are wastage. They mostly use redundant forms and materials in their projects. This may not be wrong.

In conclusion.

Students who learn to design within budget are good designers and produce very practical and cost-friendly projects.

However, I still believe that they never allowed themselves to see the architectural design in all its dimensions. Thus, may always be limited to thinking within the box or within the budget.

While students of architecture who neglected financial implications during design think more freely.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to reading your input.

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