The role of the designer in 4.0 industry

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The new construction industry places strong emphasis on the designer’s role. Are architects and engineers destined to lose their pivotal role or are we opening up a new season of opportunities? Ezio Micelli, Chairman of the REbuild scientific committee will discuss this with the architect, Alfonso Femia.

Here are some reflections from the architect, Alfonso Femia, in a preview of his talk.

“The processes that regulate, develop, research and create dialogue in the construction of the future, present complexities and articulations year after year that increasingly remove the linear path that should follow the project from its genesis up to its development and its realisation. By changing the process that regulates the financial dimension of a project and/or cost control, the insurance responsibilities that a project achieves are leading, without reflection or specific reasoning regarding the entire project chain, to simplifying the question, assuming that the designer is useful and important in the initial phase and much less so in the implementation phase. We need to reflect very carefully on this point, because there are sometimes causes that also depend on an approach that is not up to the complexity of the themes, on the designers’ part, or that show a willingness to control the development of the project, aimed only at cost control and/or choices that must not involve management and/or maintenance costs over time. If the goal of cost control and of a project that, over time, is virtuous and qualitative and is obviously shared in full by the designer, the only figure that can guarantee the balance between aesthetics, technology, sustainability and management over time, can be no other than the same designer. No one else would seek that balance but would always tip the scales on the side of "no problems," "no time," "no research," or rather, a vision that is partial and not the whole picture.

I believe, therefore, that all this will lead to losing the centrality of the project that will hardly have the same control room in all its development stages up to construction, assuming that the project is not dialogue, research, development, comparison, knowledge, exploration, evolution and responsibility. In a context where the level of confrontation and skill is high amongst the various roles, within a conscious supply chain of thought and action, i.e. where discussion and respect for the project is possible as an ultimate aim, then the path it is taking could actually become acceptable, but I believe that only the skilled designer responsible for the project can be the figure who must absolutely accompany the project right up to its realisation.

At this apparently confused and fragmented time, designers need to make the important, significant value of their role understood to reinforce thecentrality of the project, therefore, although it is complex and difficult, it is an opportune moment to confront each other responsibly and share an idea of the future based on beauty and its sustainability.”