The Architect’s Role in National Development

The architectural impression of LSK International Arbitration and Convention Centre

When we are looking at the Role of the Architect in National Development, it is important that we try to find out what national development is all about and then who is that person called the Architect.

National Development:

We can define or refer to National development as a process or processes of constructing and shaping or structuring a society of people (with diverse origins, histories, languages, cultures and religions) within the boundaries of a sovereign state and with a common national identity using the Power of the State.

National development therefore, aims at the unifying and bringing together the people within the state so that the nation remains politically stable and viable at all times.

Within the context of our present and ever evolving socio-political environment, it is interesting to note that National development process can also involve propaganda or major infrastructure development to foster and enhance social harmony and economic growth.

The Architect:

The architect is the one who plans, designs and reviews the construction processes of buildings and infrastructural facilities within the communities. And this is part of the National development processes.

In real terms, the architect provides all the services in connection with design of buildings and infrastructural facilities including the spaces within these facilities, bearing in mind that the main purpose of these facilities and structures is human occupancy or human use.

The architect is therefore the designer of a society’s built environment and thereby providing one of the most vital of all human needs i.e. Shelter.
Consequently, the architect’s decisions per his designs can influence or affect public safety, shape society and control the environment.

The stability of the nation or the society describes heavily the welfare, safety and efficiency of the built environment and the habitat of its citizens.

The architect thus provides us beyond what is obvious and it can be described by their different roles in driving a nation to stability.

The architect is the team leader in the built environment and in the performance of his service rendering duties is referred to as a visionary, a regulator, an Integrator, and an environmentalist as well as a preservationist in the process of National Development.

Let us examine how these referrals work out in the development processes of nation building.

The Architect, the Visionary:

In the performance of his professional duties for national development, the architect’s actions and thoughts are always geared towards the future.

The Architect designs for the future, whilst at the same time taking note of all the errors of the past and providing solutions to the problems of the present as well as foreseeing and solving the problem of the future. This is a important visionary role.

The vision is the one where imagining the future and at the same time presenting a healthy image for the nation’s next generations.

The Architect as the Regulator:

In referring to the architect as a regulator, it must be noted that the architect’s most important role in the built environment is that he or she acts as the evolving point for the other disciplines in the construction of the human habitat.

The Architect’s role as the team leader for the project is so influential that it provides the standards, rules and regulations for almost anything that is erected and constructed within the context of the project

In the architect’s design scheme for any developmental project, so many factors have to be professionally considered in a unified manner.

The Architect as an Integrator:

Integration may mean incorporating all as equals into a society. Within this context therefore, one of the roles of the architect is to be able to mold the built environment which is composed of different groups, and to identify these groups as part of a cohesive society under one flag.

In the process of designing and construction of building within the built environment the architect makes sure that the identities of all groups within the cohesive society are integrated. So that in the final analysis the built-environment is able to contain the society.

The Architect as an Environmentalist:

The architect’s role of seeking ways to minimize negative environmental impacts of buildings and structures whilst enhancing efficiency in its usage of resources is vital. This is not just to the nation’s welfare, but also for the survival of the nation’s future

This conscious effort of lessening environmental impacts of buildings without sacrificing comfort and safety, contributes to propelling the nation to stability and development.

The Architect as a Preservationist:

The architect always seeks to integrate the society’s heritage and culture in his professional works.

In the present reality, the Architect in Ghana now faces major challenges in this regard. The principle of preservation in our self-identity and culture of the community in the built-environment is fast fading in favor of imported foreign architecture. The glass or ‘curtain wall’ architecture is gradually dominating the facades of our built environment especially in the urban cities. “We are been more temperate instead of been more tropical”


The role of the architect in national development cannot be overlooked. The concept of physical infrastructural developments, including buildings, roads, bridges, etc. etc within
the built environment begins with designs by the Architect.

The next step of actualizing the concepts into harmonious detailed drawings and documentation and project construction supervision then requires the inputs of the allied professionals and specialist consultants such as Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, etc., etc.
Thank you.

Arc. Gustav Kwakye
Tel: 0204240423

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