Textual Origins of the Professional Architect
asecs Surprisingly little research has been done on the history of the profession of architecture. Most writing places the architect in one of two camps. The first tends to collapse the duties of contemporary architects onto an often very different historical situation. Roman architects, for example, were not required to graduate from a NAAB accredited university, pass the ARE (Architectural Registration Exam), or work as an intern prior to designing the Pantheon. The second type of study only begins with the organization of licensure, typically in the late 19th c. This follows research into the professions by Carr-Saunders who, in his landmark study The Professions (1933), listed five criteria by which we may define a profession. They are as follows: the foundation of a voluntary association; the exclusion of unqualified (socially or otherwise) persons; a development of codes of conduct; a system of tests and examinations; and, finally, the control over relevant educational institutions. While this definition conforms to the current “professional” requirements for architects in Europe and North America it does not take into account the work done by architects prior to the formation to the national associations or schools of architecture. What is often at odds between these two descriptions is a shared definition of what the term “professional” might mean. This paper analyzes a selection of pedagogic texts across the Italian peninsula of the eighteenth century that help to demonstrate the emergence of a new class of “professional” architect. My thesis is that codification of educational treatises, over or in place of humanistic treatises, lays the foundation for the professional responsibilities of the architect that are established in the late nineteenth century. I will begin a little bit earlier.