We began our path through Ethics and the Practice of Architecture with the consideration of Socrates's challenge to live ethical lives and Winston Churchill's insight into the essence of architecture as constructed culture. We proposed that thinking of our topic as “architecture and ethics” is a flawed conception because our position is that ethics is not added to architecture: architecture is inherently ethical. We contend that architectural/ethics is a unity based upon the interlocking joint where human aspirations to reshape the landscape for enriched living, the expertise of the architect, the practices of architecture, the events and processes of designing and building our habitat, and the built works intersect. We explored that concept of the architecture/ethics nexus as we progressed through the book.
Through our exploration, we believe that we have provided insight into, and brought to light, aspects of the ethical nature of architecture: of architects and the profession, of architectural processes, and of buildings themselves. In so doing, our conviction that architects have a clear responsibility to be ethical in their practices has been strengthened. We have provided here for you the requisite content and methods in Part I: Awareness, Part II: Understanding, and Part III: Choices to enable you, as an architect, to accept this responsibility.
A colleague, the writer, critic, and community designer Jim Burns, wrote in his notebooks about the design process: “… the why of the creation drives the how… values determine how how responds to why. “
Consideration of values—societal, professional, and personal —have always had a critical impact on the accomplishment of the contributions we as architects have made to the world of the past, the present, and the future.
We dedicate this book to the recognition that we have a continuing ethical responsibility to future generations to leave a legacy of works and actions that are no less than they could or should be!