Architects and their Clients: Relationship Analysis using Habitus Theory
The nature and quality of the architect-client relationship is critical
for project success yet its management remains problematic. This
interdisciplinary study draws theory from sociology to further our
understanding of this built environment industry problem. The concept of
habitus, developed by French sociologist Bourdieu, helps to demystify the
architect-client relationship and explain the underlying cause of conflicts
between architects and clients. Habitus theory explains that the nature
of architecture as a specialised activity places architects within an
architectural habitus, distinguishing architects from clients who are not
trained as professional architects. This paper provides a detailed
description of the socialisation process one undergoes to become a “full
fledged” architect. This socialisation process can place the architect in a
dichotomous position simultaneously alienating them from their client who is
not trained in the architectural profession and yet the architect still has to
envision a design from their untrained client’s perspective as a living space.
The concept of second birth is considered for its relevance to explain the
mismatch between the architect and client’s habituses which takes place as
they embark on a project together. An underlying premise to this research
is that the architect and client’s habituses encounter conditions which are
different from those they are accustomed to as they enter into a relationship.
It is the management of this complex and rich mismatch between the
habituses that can determine the success of the architect-client relationship
and is worthy of further exploration.
||Habitus, Architects, Architect-Client Relationship
International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.131-146.
Article: Print (Spiral Bound).
Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.260MB).
Research Associate, Centre for Interdisciplinary Built Environment Research, School of Architecture and Built Environment, School of Architecture and Building, Deakin University, Newcastle, VIC, Australia
Jessica Siva is a PhD scholarship holder at Deakin
University, Australia in the School of Architecture and
Building. She also tutors Research in the Built Environment
to students in Architecture and Construction Management at
undergraduate and masters level at the
University of Newcastle. She previously obtained a Masters
of Philosophy from the University of Newcastle where she
won a Postgraduate Research Prize. She was a foundation
member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Built
Environment Research at the University of Newcastle. She
has been involved with various nationally funded research
projects and has published in the areas of design firm
internationalisation, government supply chain management,
social capital in SMEs, sustainable urban development
decision-making policy, process and practice and innovative
dissemination of research findings.
Chair in Construction Management, School of Architecture and Building, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia
Dr. Kerry London holds the Chair in Construction Management
at Deakin University, Australia in the School of
Architecture and Building. She teaches in architecture and
construction management programs. She has published
extensively in design management, internationalisation and
infrastructure supply chain political economy and supervises
honours, masters and doctoral students in all these areas.
She is Associate Head of School Research and is responsible
for leadership of the school research activities as well as
leadership at a university level
for research and teaching for the discipline of construction
management. She is the first female appointed chair in
construction management in Australia. She was an invited
visiting scholar at University of Reading in 2006 one of
the leading institutions for built environment research in
the UK. Dr London is the sole author of
“Construction Supply Chain Economics”, and co-author of
“Construction Supply Chain Management Handbook” and
“Housing Affordability: Supply Side Analysis”. She has been
at Deakin since February 2009 and was the
founding Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Built
Environment Research [ciber] at the University of
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