Saturday, December 03, 2005

Refabricating Architecture

I just finished reading the book, Refabricating Architecture. The book isn't about software; the domain is the architecture associated with 'building construction' (apartments, homes, etc.) I enjoy reading these books as part of a personal cross-training program. There are a couple items that I wanted to share:
"The way to art in much twentieth century theory and practice would be by means of a thorough transformation of production. Architecture as a mass-produced product would transform both access and perception; it would become a thing, a commodity, a vernacular shelter for the twentieth century. Great architecture is today equated with art. Commodity, most believe is the creed of the philistine. It is possible, however, to see commodity instead as the crucible of art itself and to recognize the process engineer - not the design engineer - as the high priestess of this new art. It is not the engineer as the designer of artifacts that we applaud, but rather as a designer of processes that show the way forward in art."

Authors, Kieran and Timberlake, go on to state:
"The single most devastating consequence of modernism has been the embrace of a process that segregates designers from makers: The architect has been separated from the contractor, and the materials scientist has been isolated from the product engineer"

First, let me state my position. I am interested in the commoditization of software architecture. I am embarrassed by the current state of voodoo architecture, wizard architects and clean-sheet implementations. Don't get me wrong, I'm not stating that we should quit inventing or innovating. There is a place for 'material scientists', just not inside of every Fortune 500 I.T. shop...

SOA has the potential to act as the 'material enabler' of the commoditization of software architecture. Modern methodologies will act as the 'process enabler'. Pure and simple - this is my goal. I realize that wizard architects will refute this. They'll hate the concepts of the software factory, mass customization, template architecture and meet-in-the-middle methodologies (not top down). It attacks their creativity and their personal income potential. The true professionals however, will see the ultimate value and find the art in the discipline.

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