Tools, which tools?: The changings of architects

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


In the call for papers for this conference, the origin of the word ‘technology’ in the Greek word "tekhnē" is detailed. Translated as meaning "art" or "craft", we are reminded that conceiving and making are inextricably linked; a dependency that suggests that "tekhnē" lies at the core of architectural practice.

The paper considers practice through a popular textbook (The Architect in
Practice) that was first published in 1952 and is now in its 11th revised and updated edition. The book is not intended to focus on the skills of design, but on all the multiple other skills the authors deem necessary to be a ‘successful’ and ‘efficient’ architect. Should there be any doubt, the introduction exhorts the reader specifically to lay aside the tools of design/drawing in order to concentrate on the valuable lessons contained in the book. The tools that need to be set aside to allow for this concentration change across the editions, loosely but belatedly following technological changes in the tools of the profession over the more than six decades since the book was first published. From “tee-square, colours and brushes” to “CAD equipment and thick felt pens”, the listing of these tools also tell a story of changing practices and conceptions of what an architect is and does. The paper discusses the implications these changes have for the connection between conceiving and making in architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistoriographies of Technology and Architecture: Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians of Australia and New Zealand
EditorsJoanna Merwood-Salisbury, Michael Dudding, Christopher McDonald
Place of PublicationWellington NZ
PublisherSociety of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780473457136
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventSociety of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference 2018: Histographies of Technology & Architecture - Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 4 Jul 20187 Jul 2018
Conference number: 35th


ConferenceSociety of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleSAHANZ 2018
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address

Cite this