Imagine that — you are a spectator in a medieval architectural arena, witnessing the harsh and fierce battle between two architects in the AEC field — the traditional winner HARD skills and his modern opponent SOFT skills. Facing the chaos around and the cheers of the bloodthirsty crowd, you weigh both rivals to make the mental bets in your head who will celebrate the victory. Hold on for a minute and consider wisely the proper outcome of this clash of skills.
While Architecture is not the world’s oldest profession, its antiquity has never been cast in doubt — yet it has managed to always be a role that has continually evolved. Hence, the professional skills within it have endured significant developments since the year of practice.
There are many whispers going around in the crowd regarding architects’ professional skills and which ones are essential. Let’s take a timeout here and first clarify the personalities of Mr. Hard skills and Mr. Soft skills.
The first warrior — Mr. Hard Skills is a representative of functional skills. They are more about specific and concrete deliveries at the workplace that are easier to be objectively assessed such as initial building sketches, 3D model in a BIM software or scheduled project plan. He is always familiar with a wide range of technologies and methodologies of design, and understands the BIM software life cycle. His design experience is abundant, however he finds it hard to pitch his ideas to clients and direct his team during the implementation process.
On the other hand, Mr. Soft Skills is all about communication and collaboration. He follows the philosophy HOW to solve the issues of the day in the architectural world is more important than anything else. He usually catches himself observing the behaviour of his project members and reacts based on his perception of the situation as there are different variables in each project. His team follows him faithfully as he always handles challenging situations as a real leader — taking responsibility, motivating and directing them throughout the hardships. It is harder to assess the work he does as it is related to more intangible tasks, which can be subjectively interpreted.
The grand price of this battle is securing the project of designing the Olympic Medieval Campus. An honor given to few and a significant quest for professional development.
Whom would you bet on considering odds? The war of BIM crafters is starting and one is surely going down. So are you betting on Mr. Hard Skills with his impressive 3D models in Revit®, where he embraces technology as a fountain of creative and innovative building designs? Maybe you want to join the new millennium approach where architecture as a profession thrives on the camaraderie of working on a team, building relationships with clients and striving to produce excellent work via collaboration — it is surely Mr. Soft skills philosophy.
The gruesome battle begins and the clash of shields echoes through the arena. Retreat is not an option, so both opponents attack with wreak aggression. Facing chaos they focus on what can be controlled — the precision and excellence in every initiative of Mr. Hard skills is met with flexibility and critically observant resistance from Mr. Soft skills. They dance around each other, evaluating their strategies and trying to find the sweet weak spot of the rival. Seconds fly, minutes pass and the crowd becomes impatient and bloodthirsty.
You would ask yourself, why is not the outcome an easy one — the strong beats the weak one!? You see, both Mr. Hard skills and Mr. Soft skills are experts in the AEC fields and their experience allows them to analyse the battle in a different way, which influences their decision on how to strike back. However, they both lack one significant skill — being able to predict their opponent’s next move as they rely only on their personal perception. The realization of this fact settles in their minds and the crowd sees the difference in their moves. It seems as if their fighting shoes have been swopped as Mr. Soft skills is more aggressive, but Mr. Hard skills adapts with ease to avoid the assaults.
Both are on the verge of exhaustion and suddenly Mr. Soft skills drops his weapon. The crowd goes wild. Mr. Hard skills has the leverage and decides on the outcome of the battle. Will he be the architect who will design the Olympic Medieval Stadium? This feels like the pivotal point of the battle. Another weapon hits the ground not with the sound of defeat, but of an ultimate sound of epiphany. A hand extends towards Mr. Soft skills, which he takes with a knowing smile. There is a silent agreement, which forms an alliance with a simple handshake.
In the aftermath the crowd wonders in silence what happened. They just were spectators of something extraordinary in the AEC industry — a traditionalist who isn’t afraid to zig when everyone is expecting him to zag. Many were looking with confusing gazes for a meaningful explanation. You see, Mr. Hard skills is a pretty smart guy — he knows his excellence and savvy knowledge in building design is exceptional. However, he realized during this dance of wills that there is more to it. Building design is also about the communication, adaptability and critical observation of situations. He can learn about these from Mr. Soft skills, who is an example of a BIM leader — solving problems, embracing change and not being afraid of failure. A wise man knows that the architect’s work goes beyond the technical skills and expertise. The art of adapting to change and collaborating with your team in a coherent and transparent manner is what lays as a foundations of great designs and remarkable buildings.
Meanwhile, please welcome the future architects for the Olympic Medieval Stadium — Mr. Hard Skills and Mr. Soft skills.
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