By Denyse Rodriguez Tomé
When they first emerged as a liberal profession at the beginning of the nineteenth century, architects had to define the specificity of their role in construction in relation to two types of rivals : State trained engineers and property developers. This differentiation is what produced the architect-artist, an intellectual figure responsible for architectural production. The architectural profession, which expanded significantly in the second half of the 19th century, encompasses a marked degree of heterogeneity, in training as well as in practice. The legal framework established by the Third Republic enabled the profession to organize itself into professional associations, in order to better promote its claims. While it rejected for the time being the introduction of an official diploma required to practice, associative activity contributed to the standardization of the profession. The fact that a set of ethics presented by the main association was approved by all the various architectural societies shows an adhesion to a professional culture, and to a set of liberal and meritocratic values. The status of the profession as intellectual legitimizes the social distinction of the architectural profession from the commercial and artisanal profession of property developer.