Has architecture in the UK become too fragmented, and the design process over specialised? Are architects in danger of becoming managers of other consultants’ input into their projects? From the perspective of 15 years of practice in Denmark and my work in London over the past six years, my answer is an unequivocal yes on both counts.
The design and construction industry in a small country like Denmark does not have the scale or economy to support the UK’s degree of professional specialisation. But this has not impacted the quality of buildings produced there. Danish buildings often achieve an architectural clarity which is enhanced by a more straightforward design process.
Architectural project teams in Denmark regularly fulfil the role of project manager, QS, townscape advisor, planning supervisor, accessibility consultant and planning consultant. This already halves the size of the design team, but several Danish practices go even further and integrate urban design, masterplanning, landscape architecture, construction management, space planning/fitout, industrial design and lighting design into their work.