Building costs are usually a topic in the media only when they explode and some spectacular or prestigious object is involved, as was the case with the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Rightly or wrongly, it is usually the architects who are blamed for this; and in this respect, they are not entirely unimpeachable for the public image they have. For far too long, architects have presented themselves as design artists for whom mundane tasks like cost control and adhering to deadlines are tiresome obligations.
Everyday construction has been subject to cost constraints not just since the present economic crisis, however. Now that the time of squanderous architectural icons would seem to be past, a radical rethinking process is called for. Architects must bring their competence in the many different fields of construction to the awareness of clients and the public at large. If they succeed in establishing themselves as indispensable experts for economic and sustainable building – alongside their undeniably important role as designers – a new opportunity will present itself: the chance to recover ground that has long been lost to engineers and project managers.