The Master Builder

Posted on July 7, 2010


Image from AJM 515 Alamy Images

         The design build construction delivery system is one that has been around for many centuries. Dating back to the earliest civilizations, Kings, Pharaohs and Emperors would summon a Master Builder (the best architects and engineers) to embark upon the creation of ancient structures in order to execute their conceived visions. These rulers would entrust the master builder to construct their visualizations from its conception through its completion. Today, this construction method is known as the design build process.

The Medieval Builder
In the 7th century the Islamic culture began developing a hybrid of ancient Middle Eastern and Byzantium architectural forms to suit both their religious and social needs. Examples of these structures can be found all over Spain, North Africa and the Middle East. These buildings served as a substantial stylistic influence on European architecture during the Medieval period. In Europe, during both the Medieval and Classical era, a variety of religious buildings were constructed under the design build method. The role of an architect was usually considered one with that of a master mason, or master builder.

The Renaissance Builder
Beginning in Italy, the Renaissance was a cultural movement that proved to have a significant influence on the specializations of various types of craftsmanship, with master builders being one of them. The master builder model was used to construct most projects during this time period giving the architect total project accountability. There was no division between architects, engineers, and builders at the time. Filippo Brunelleschi started the Renaissance style of architecture by studying the remains of classical buildings and merging his findings with the discipline of mathematics. The result was an improved style of architecture that was demonstrated through the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica. Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael, Sangallo and Maderno all used this style of architect to collectively complete the Basilica.

The Industrial Revolution
With the rise of The Industrial Revolution came the concept of free enterprise.
The roles of the architect, engineer and builder began to separate with the development of
competitive markets. Churches and Royalty no longer had sole ownership of buildings. There was a shift towards entrepreneurs and business men who could afford to build. These individuals were able pay for services and take advantage of competitive bidding. Thus, the design build process was gradually abandoned during this period as the separation of responsibilities began to take over.

Today’s Builder
The design build project delivery system has recently been revived over the past 25 years focusing on the private and public sector. With emphasis on the early philosophies of master builders, owners now have a single point of contact for all of their project needs. This enables them focus on their core business eliminating the typical conflicts that arise between architect, owner and contractor. Streamlining design, construction and permitting schedules lets construction begin while the project is still being designed. Now, projects are able to be completed faster compared to traditional methods while eliminating budget over runs and improving quality control.

  Creative Commons License
  This work by AnCor, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
  Based on a work at

Posted in: Design Build