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What is a sustainable architecture? (Part 4: be a sustainable architect)

Hans Nouwens
Mar 13, 2024

Recall the Archimate model I presented in the first blog? The title of the blogs refers to the architecture itself, although the model indicates a role as sustainable architect. These are different things. In the linked-in comments I promised a short bonus blog based on this new insight.

A new model

What happens if we model the relations like this?

It’s crucial to recognize that an enterprise isn’t merely a thing but a collective effort driven by shared purpose, mission, and values. Sustainability, therefore, becomes integral to this overarching purpose, and architects play a vital role in translating this into actionable architecture principles. As such, sustainable is a driver of this purpose. Architects convert or formulate this driver in the form of an architecture principle. The architecture process realizes this principle when guiding the design and organization (function and construction) of the business functions that together realize the enterprise services.

How could this work together?

Together these relations illustrate the duality of the architecture role, architects being the guiders of the organization of the enterprise, and architects being employees of that same enterprise.

The architect (the person with an architecture role) wants to be a responsible employee that is a sustainable resource, to be able to endure its services to the enterprise. At the same time, this refers to the vitality as employee, to be a productive contributor. The architect is contributing to and are guided by that same the culture.

The architect should also translate the sustainability as a driver into the architecture principles. I created some examples of these principles in the third blog. These architecture principles contribute to the shared purpose.

The architect is also involved when applying these principles when enabling rational decision-making when designing or changing other business functions, systems, and structures. Are the principles used as strict laws or rules, or are they facilitating discussion? The communication style of the architect when working with the principles is also part of the shared culture.

In essence, sustainable architects carry multifaceted responsibilities. They create principles that embody sustainable values, contributing to the organization’s shared mission. As employees, they both are guided by and contribute to the culture of sustainability, shaping the enterprise’s trajectory towards a more sustainable future.

About Hans Nouwens

Hans Nouwens

Enterprise Architect | Netherlands
Hans Nouwens is an experienced enterprise architect with 20+ years of practical experience in the field of ICT, infused with rigorous academic learning. He works as an architect and trusted advisor, mainly for Higher Education institutes.