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Architects are facing a silent war

Jun 5 '14 110 Last Comment
BusinessofArch
Jun 5, 14 4:50 pm

Architects are up in arms. Apparently Richard hit a chord. Warning: don't read at work, it may make you cry.

You can read the original article here:

Architects Are Facing A Silent War

Richard Petrie

June 3 2014

Normandy Landing WWII

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender – Winston Churchill

Make no mistake – architects are facing a silent war.

After 8 years of study and professional training, an architect should be respected like a doctor and paid like a highly qualified professional.

This is seldom the case.

As an advocate for architects I have studied the reasons why this is so.

  • Why are you treated like a commodity at times?
  • Why are you not paid what you are worth on projects?
  • Why do you feel you have to justify your fees?
  • Why do clients take elements of your design out to reduce the price and reduce the quality of your design work?
  • Why do builders, real estate agents and clients think you will drop everything to drive across town and give advice for free in the hope you might win a deal?
  • Why do you work so hard and get so little credit?
  • Why do owners often trust the contractors more than they trust you?

Something here has gone terribly awry.

There are two silent wars architects are facing.

War #1

The war against ignorance. This battlefield is in the minds of our clients.

According to the shocking results of a new survey undertaken by architectsjournal.co.uk who surveyed 2,031 adults, people don’t know what architects do.

  • 72% are unaware that architects apply for planning permission
  • 79% don’t know architects ensure buildings comply with health and safety legislation
  • 86% have no idea architects select, negotiate with, and manage contractors
  • 20% are unaware architects prepare construction drawings
  • 9% DO understand architects control site budgets
  • 15% don’t know that architects design buildings
  • 33.3% of over 55s were aware that architects prepare planning permissions, whereas: 14% of 18-24s were aware that architects prepare planning permissions
  • 20% of young adults were aware that architects handle building control certificates and guarantees

We can look at this war in two ways.

  1. Blame the client
  2. Blame ourselves

Once architects accept responsibility for the education process you take power back. Your weapon is education.

You may not be able to educate the world but you can make sure that every person who meets with you is educated about the architect and his or her role in the project.

War #2

A post on the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) LinkedIn group asked…

Would you recommend my kids take up a career in architecture?

I was shocked at the responses.

There were two sides. Those who had given up on architecture as a means for earning a decent income and would not recommend architecture.

And secondly those who felt architecture was about doing something you loved and that was more important than money.

The only thing that they both agreed on was that the choice was either money OR architecture.

I was staggered. These Brits had given up. Both sides had lost the war. They were prepared to raise the white flag without a fight.

The Brits are the people who said…

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…

Tony Robbins taught me a valuable lesson. He said if you want a better result then ask yourself a better question.

Maybe a better questions is:

HOW CAN I DO WHAT I LOVE AND BE VERY WELL PAID FOR DOING IT?

That forces your mind to search for new answers. That is the question that finds new ways to overcome the enemy.

This right attitude within architects is weapon #2.

We Are On A Mission

When I first started working with architects I thought you lot were a well-paid bunch of smart people.

Well, I was half right.

You are smart.

But you are not great marketers and therefore underpaid, which is ironic because you are pretty good communicators.

Maybe you get lost in the detail or some aesthetic mist of great design. Maybe you are too smart and don’t realize how ignorant your clients really are. Maybe you don’t want to appear too simple-minded by stating the obvious.

You assume your clients understand the value in what you are doing. We (the general public) do not. All the stats prove that. You need to teach us about the value in a way so simple that we can marvel at your creativity and pragmatism.

I think architects get a raw deal.

But this isn’t your fault. You’ve been sold a lie.

You’ve been told that people recognize the value of good design.

Your design schools have sent you into the workforce unprepared to face the reality of dealing with a world where money is king (unfortunate, but true).

Your professional organizations are more concerned with their own interests than your struggles – you, who fight on the front lines.

Contractors blame the architect and come in at the last minute to “save the day”. They make out as the hero (and take the victor’s spoils).

Construction managers set up shop and push architects out of the construction process (and make a killing doing it).

What happened to the “master builder”? What happened to the architect that led the design team – the architect who controlled the process and guided the contractor and owner to the successful solution?

No, my friends. It is a sad day. Architects have been marginalized. The noose is set and the trap has been sprung.

The good news? It isn’t too late. Some architects are fighting back.

You must help yourself too.

  • You need to stop driving all over town doing free work.
  • You need to stop cutting your fees to win deals not worth winning.
  • You need to value yourself first so others can follow.

Lawyers and doctors do not do this and neither should architects.

We need to raise the bar for the architect community.

The Battle Plan

The great American orator Patrick Henry said it well: “united we stand, divided we fall”.

I’m taking a stand. But we can’t do it alone.

Here is our plan of attack:

Step number 1 is to believe in the value you bring to your clients. This battle is won in your own heart and your own mind. Are you willing to stand up for what you are worth?

Step number 2 is to communicate that value to your clients in a way that they can understand.

It’s that simple, really.

But it needs to start with you.

Architects deserve better – you are both the problem and the solution.

I’m taking a strong stance and I’m not backing down.

You can love me or hate me but I believe in architects. I believe if you are prepared to fight on the beaches you can do what you love AND be paid like the professional you are.

Eric Bobrow, Enoch Sears and I are doing our part by teaching architects how to communicate their value in a way that brings them “better clients, better work, and better fees”.

But we can’t win this battle alone. Will you join us?

You owe it to yourself by creating a career that is fun and profitable. You owe it to the world by bringing us great design. And you owe it to your children and future generations to live up to your full potential.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never give in, never give in”!

So, now I’d like your thoughts: what’s the problem (as you see it), and what is the solution?

 

curtkram
Jun 5, 14 5:17 pm

there is a bright side

at least we aren't going to get shot and killed trying to storm a beach as was the case with many of those WW2 quotes.  we may not live well, but we'll live to fight another day!

jdparnell1218
Jun 5, 14 5:17 pm

Did you post this to Reddit a couple of days ago?

accesskb
Jun 5, 14 5:46 pm

didn't your prof tell you in first year, 'we don't do this for money.  we do it for job satisfaction.'  *rolls eyes*

BusinessofArch
Jun 5, 14 6:09 pm

JD - I did post to Reddit.

BusinessofArch
Jun 5, 14 6:10 pm

Wow accesskb - did you know my professor??

jdparnell1218
Jun 5, 14 6:32 pm

I want to download that PDF from your link, I just don't like giving out my email address all the time.

chris-chitect
Jun 5, 14 6:59 pm

I'll admit I skimmed through this, however I think there is one problem that is brought on by Architects. There are simply too many of us and it is a race to the bottom in order to be kept employed. We are easily replaced by someone that will work for less. We are not seen as bringing value to projects as we are seen as too far into theory to understand how design decisions affect the bottom line in a project.

mightyaa
Jun 5, 14 7:37 pm

You also left out something, or at least my experience.  You described 'the general public'.  But you forget 'the general public' will most likely never ever build a building.  So unlike a doctor, whom everyone will use at some point, it is rare to meet someone who has, or plans to, ever work with an architect much less build a building. 

Most clients who build are spreadsheet money people. 

One client type, who is generally the high dollar projects: The client is looking at selling it, or renting space.  They are building for profit.  That is a completely different thing.  As such, most are well aware of what architects do.  But the concept of profit is "Keep cost down, sell high to increase that profit margin."  What you have to do is market how good design raises the sale price and increases their market presence and name.

Another client type will be a user;  Either they don't know or don't care about design.  In their world, what they are selling is the profit center and they don't see how good design can increase those sales or employee efforts.  A building is nothing more than shelter. They need another kind of education because they probably have no idea what you do or how construction works.  But they always have a budget that isn't as large as their dreams.   

BusinessofArch
Jun 6, 14 9:28 am

Good points mightyaa.

Lee RobertLee Robert
Jun 6, 14 9:39 am

Rather than fighting against the clients or the industry why not just adapt to what the industry is telling us about how we've done business in the past, and how we might change our services to fit with what clients are willing to pay for?

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jun 6, 14 10:28 am

++mightyaa

For the masses, custom design is the ability to select from a menu of available options.

You want fries with that?

jla-x
Jun 6, 14 12:36 pm

maybe we need to start offering some kind of prize...like if we win an award or get into arch record the client gets a fruit basket and a 50$ gift card to Chillis.

quizzical
Jun 6, 14 12:51 pm

Client's generally are indifferent to - if not afraid of - architects who win design awards or have their work published in architectural mags. IMO, that attitude is related to their belief that such architects are more focused on establishing their own reputation among their peers than they are about serving the client's needs.

mightyaa
Jun 6, 14 1:49 pm

Another observation that triggered reading his link and the comments there.  Architects are seen as ‘generalist’ rather than ‘specialists’.  People hire specialist. 

That part needs education for clients and it is hard because you can’t get into a position of trust or don’t want to ‘nerf’ yourself if you do.  Take school designers.  They will tout portfolios full of schools and sell that they are specialist.  If you don’t have a portfolio that matches their use, you simply won’t get commissioned regardless of what the project is about.  Roof replacement on a school?  Why we need an architect who specializes in schools! (not recognizing what the program calls for isn’t school specific). 

Thing is, when you get down to it, it is still steel, brick, and drywall.  That is really what you do; figure out how to assemble all these components into a building using good design principles.  The “use” and the specialized design considerations specific to ‘school’ are really a minor part of the overall mental effort you’ll put into your work.  Is the approach to designing the elevation of a school vastly different than any other building type? Are the windows you specify school specific?  How about the structure? Nope.  Yet, it is how they decided what architect to use and who isn’t qualified. 

It is another reason small firms struggle… Big firms = more projects and bigger portfolios taking advantage of this ‘uneducation’ of clients.  The small guys (which I believe is about 80% of all architects), are pushed out of entire markets because the client lacks belief that you are capable of handling their very specific project type.  So, where they compete is price; Big firms = big overhead cost a small guy doesn’t have.  The small guy will cut his profit margin to get the portfolio job to help land jobs down the line.  Because it is the portfolio that lands the work; not skill, not track record, etc.  Drives the cost of architects down and hurts us all.  

DeTwan
Jun 6, 14 3:07 pm

The real question is... Has the last starchitect been born already? Ponder that my friends, murrrhhaahaha  ha haha heee whooo...

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jun 6, 14 3:25 pm

related to their belief that such architects are more focused on establishing their own reputation among their peers than they are about serving the client's needs

In this particular bracket the client's need are often recognition by their would-be peers - those in the social bracket they aspire to belong to - who they hope to join, or better yet outdo through consumption of various branded goods.

Because it is the portfolio that lands the work; not skill, not track record, etc.

Maybe if you're looking for a job in an architect's office. In the real world it's a lot of who you know and who you blow. The names on the client list are far more important than the actual output.

jdparnell1218
Jun 6, 14 4:48 pm

 In the real world it's a lot of who you know and who you blow.

Miles, you just made me think of this past weekend's episode of Silicon Valley.  If you missed it, there is a very long joke about how efficiently the team could take care of an entire audience.

jla-x
Jun 6, 14 6:22 pm

In this particular bracket the client's need are often recognition by their would-be peers - those in the social bracket they aspire to belong to - who they hope to join, or better yet outdo through consumption of various branded goods.

Because it is the portfolio that lands the work; not skill, not track record, etc.

Maybe if you're looking for a job in an architect's office. In the real world it's a lot of who you know and who you blow. The names on the client list are far more important than the actual output.

True.  This is the nature of wealthy people in general.  Social climbing is whats rewarded so not surprising that the rich are social climbers.  Its like politicians, bullshit gets votes so we end up with bullshitters in office.

Back in the day we had patrons of the arts, now we have consumers of the arts...

kennesland
Jun 6, 14 7:56 pm

Most people have no idea what an architect does!

 

Ken Nesland Landscaping

quizzical
Jun 6, 14 8:30 pm

MIles, I expect you are right about the expectations of some clients - especially at the 1% level (and for the wannabe 1% folks). However, for the mainstream clientele that offers up work for the vast majority of practicing architects (especially those working in the non-residential arena), I stand behind the sentiments presented in my 12:51 pm post.

Olaf Design Ninja_
Jun 7, 14 12:27 am

war...

we like doctors and lawyers...

ignorant masses....

WACO INCIDENT (architects in general)
February 28- April 19, 1993
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) attempted to arrest religious leader David Koresh at his Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, resulting in a deadly shoot-out and an almost two month stand-off. During the siege, the ATF blasted music, including Tibetan chants and Christmas music through the night to disorientate Koresh and his followers. During a press conference, an ATF spokesman actually joked about considering the use of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus' then-recent hit "Achy, Breaky Heart" for this purpose (it's rumored that Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking" were also used but it would be interesting to learn what the criteria here was). The result of this psychological warfare was that several negotiations with members of Koresh's sect were broken off. The siege ended with a controversial move by the ATF and Attorney General Janet Reno to raid the compound, resulting in a mass suicide by the members of the cult.

 

  • seriously, war?

 

curtkram and I don't always agree - but he pretty much sums up the naivete of this post and text. 

the WWII D-day image is hardly appropriate.

DeTwan
Jun 7, 14 8:14 am
Olaf Design Ninja_
Jun 7, 14 11:27 am

Good point DeTwan

xian
Jun 9, 14 6:56 am

I work at a Lexus dealership. Across the street is a Ford dealership. Now I can't figure out why anybody would drive some ugly-ass Ford when they could be in a stylish new Lexus. So to correct this problem, I went across the street yesterday and started lecturing people on how uneducated they were about cars, and how they were ruining the streets by filling them up with hideous looking Fords. Most didn't really listen, some nodded and agreed with me but bought a Ford anyway, and one guy who really loved his Ford called me a pompous ass.  I can't believe how stupid people are.

EKE
Jun 9, 14 9:54 am

The above post by Xian is a microcosm illustrating how this profession has become so profoundly estranged from the public. 

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jun 9, 14 10:02 am

+++ xian

Where were you when we had suri's traditional architecture thread?

mightyaa
Jun 9, 14 11:44 am

Maybe if you're looking for a job in an architect's office. In the real world it's a lot of who you know and who you blow. The names on the client list are far more important than the actual output.

Was once that way, and to a certain degree still is.  But there's a major problem Houston: Most people move on, change jobs, get laid off, lose elections, companies are absorbed, etc.  So those higher ups, the ones I networked, they retired, closed shop, or with the 'restructuring' are no longer the ones in charge of hiring architects (or relocated that position to somewhere remote), etc.  The younger decision makers are job swapping left and right seeking the bigger, better deal.  So management isn't stable with high turnover.  Repeat clients where I was once the "goto" person for anything only 6 years ago, I maybe know one or two folks still there.  Basically, your network has a short shelf life now.

And there's even in-house attrition.  PA's and PM's forming relationships with clients then leaving with them.  And not just in our profession.  So there's a lot of information withholding like telling your replacement whom you goto for this and that.  Why help them take over your job or train them to be your competitor?  Those names, like you say, are held close. 

And many clients now are fickle with higher expectations than ever in the past; "I want green, beautiful, cheap and fast".  So, it doesn't take much before they 'shop' thinking some magician is out there that can give them this; Plenty are happy to make that promise too.  There is no sense of loyalty anymore and expectations are sky high; Even my own sense kills me because I tell them what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear... 

So, you keep shorting your skirt/profit margins and getting on your knees...  It never ends.

There will always be starchitects.  I have wondered though if we are too far from them only getting recognized after they die too.  Hardship backgrounds always play well to the publicist and story...

EKE
Jun 9, 14 12:23 pm

There is something really wrong with architects.  Can't you see it?  Can't you feel it?  It's like a black pall that hangs over this profession. 

This attitude that, if only we can convince people that our work is valuable and relevant, then we will be respected.  If we just browbeat people, go over to that Ford dealership, and lecture people on how stupid and uneducated they are, maybe we can shame them into valuing us. 

Did it ever occur to you that there might be good reasons why people buy a lot of Fords?  Did you ask them why they like Fords?  Did you try to understand the basis for their preference, take it seriously, and to learn from it?

As long as architects are so contemptuous and condescending toward the public, the public will have the same contempt toward our profession.  And the estrangement will continue.

jla-x
Jun 9, 14 1:42 pm

Did it ever occur to you that there might be good reasons why people buy a lot of Fords?  Did you ask them why they like Fords?  Did you try to understand the basis for their preference, take it seriously, and to learn from it?

As long as architects are so contemptuous and condescending toward the public, the public will have the same contempt toward our profession.  And the estrangement will continue.

I agree.  The only problem with this analogy is that a lexus dealership is not an accurate analogy for architecture...A more accurate analogy would be a custom hot-rod studio across from a ford dealership that sells a custom design service at an indeterminate price.  The problem is that we are competing against tangible products with abstract processes.  With regard to cars, there are actually competitive alternatives available.  In architecture there are no alternatives available to the average home buyer.  The average person cannot build a custom home/get construction loan/pay for living for the year it takes to design and build...  The idea that people choose the kb developer house because they like it better is completely false.  Most non-archs that I talk to hate these cookie cutter houses.  They choose it for the same reason that they choose McDonalds over home cooked health food....its cheaper and easily available.  they live in food deserts.  The term Food desert can easily be replaced with architecture desert. 

Demand is not generated in a bottom up way.  Demand depends on choice.  No one demanded the I-pad until it was on the market.  Its not the job of the consumer to invent the options, its the job of the industries.  Process will never be able to compete with product.  Until we begin to develop better designed alternatives and sell them as products we will always be seen in the way custom hot rods are seen...an expensive novelty for the rich.

stone
Jun 9, 14 2:59 pm

EKE: "As long as architects are so contemptuous and condescending toward the public, the public will have the same contempt toward our profession."

Amen to that !

We are a "service" profession, yet too many of our number feel that the public in general, and clients in particular, exist solely to serve our egos and aspirations for fame.

PULPITO
Jun 9, 14 9:31 pm

Lets just face it, people like Zaha and Bjark Engles are good for blogs, bad for architecture. Wake up!  Stand up for yourself and your labor! 

vado retro
Jun 10, 14 7:45 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7OSwXUBYlI&list=PLB5E6D90DEEFB5070

this is a video from hanley wood pimping their plan books. note that the host disses the architect at about 3:45 in saying how much more it costs in time and money to use an architect. also, note that hanley wood publishes Architect magazine.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jun 10, 14 10:20 am

ARCHITECT is proud to be the official magazine of the AIA

tint
Jun 10, 14 10:51 am

I recommended a plan book house for my parents. Saved me a lot of trouble. 

mightyaa
Jun 10, 14 11:01 am

lol...  I know a retired architect who designed several of the homes you'll find in those plan books.  It's actually a good plan since royalties don't affect his SS checks or employment status.  It's how he supplements his retirement income.

BackAgain
Jun 10, 14 11:50 am

As one of a very small minority of architects who also has business training, I am surprised how one of the most obvious and important aspects of practice is overlooked.

Supply and demand.

As with doctors, lawyers and accountants, architects are able to control the supply of professionals that enter practice. It is easily within the profession's ability to limit the number of accredited schools, determine which skills should be tested, how long the internship process is and the various paths to licensure. Too many architects? Fine. Reduce the supply.

The profession (AIA and NCARB) have the power to shape what architects learn in school. Architectural theory is nice, but do clients give a damn about that? Project management and financial planning is begrudgingly given as few credits as possible while studio dominates the entire process. "Master Builders" must be experts at much more than just schematic design and graphics. In three and a half years I never took a project beyond the "schematic" stage in studio.

Then, there is demand. The elephant in the room that architects completely misread. Why do doctors, lawyers and CPAs make more money than architects. Easy. Because everyone NEEDS them. The case for doctors is easy to see. After all everyone gets sick. Lawyers? How about buying a house, opening a business, drunk driving, getting divorced, adopting children without one. Businesses absolutely need them, and on a consistent basis.CPAs are recognized as experts, AND they are required if you need someone to audit your books or represent you in front of the IRS. Dentists and engineers are similarly paid very well because almost everyone "knows" that you would be crazy to not use these professionals when you need them.

Architects? Not so much. Builders and developers don't have to use licensed professionals. They can use in-house drafters and designers. The average home-owner probably buys a home from a builder/developer and is perfectly happy without the "design aesthetic" of a trained architect. Hospitals, large office buildings and a few other unusual building types are the only structures for which architects are needed. When one of these projects becomes available, we all know that architects compete so strongly that they undercut their own fees.

Most other professional organizations, certainly the AMA and the ABA, have strong lobbies. Outside of printing contracts and handing out awards the AIA is useless. Architects have no real representation. The law favors and even requires services to be performed by licensed doctors and lawyers.

The profession needs to create and even force demand. Why aren't all projects that get a building permit required to have an architect's stamp? Or residential developments, street improvements and retrofits?

If the profession is unable to change the rules and laws that govern construction, it will remain a group of marginalized artsy-fartsy types that take commissions at whatever price they are lucky to get.

jla-x
Jun 10, 14 12:43 pm

this comparison to doctors and lawyers is so annoying.  stop.

doctors and lawyers deal with life and liberty issues.  we design nice buildings.  not just buildings, lots of people can do that, what makes us special is that we design nice buildings.  Nice buildings are not a necessity, they are a luxury.  We are much like chefs.  Chefs elevate  the basic need for food into an art.  They make food special.  Architects elevate the basic need for shelter into art.  we work to enrich life and culture.  we make buildings special.  shelter will get built with or without us...just wont be as nice. people will eat and survive with or without the chef.  We make life better we don't save lives like doctors or keep people out of jail like lawyers. 

If we would just focus on making life better and stop with all the rhetoric and sleazy professionalism maybe we would have a greater value.  People know whats nice and whats cheap crap.  Its why they spend their savings to travel from their Styrofoam dystopias to places like Venice just to walk up and down nice streets and eat good food. 

We are trying to sell shit that no one wants and your answer is to make them buy it.  lol 

Thayer-D
Jun 10, 14 1:36 pm

Nice point desdesign!

"Why aren't all projects that get a building permit required to have an architect's stamp? Or residential developments, street improvements and retrofits?"

The answer is our devotion to the theoretical side of the profession at the expense of the practical.  Theory is nice, but not necessary.

jla-x
Jun 10, 14 1:52 pm

"Why aren't all projects that get a building permit required to have an architect's stamp? Or residential developments, street improvements and retrofits?"

1 residential developments...500k new homes are built each year in the US.  There are about 100k architects.  Do the math. 

2 There is no reason to prevent them from building homes. No measurable hsw threat.  non-reactionary regulations put in place for nothing other than protectionism is not allowed. Its not the states job to make your profession more relevant.  That's not how it works.  Do better work and find creative ways to engage the 99% of the market that is un-tapped by architects.  Be creative and stop relying on protections to gain relevance. 

Firmness, Commodity, Delight!  This is what will sell.  Out compete the developers by offering better options to the public that are more in line with the only 3 things that matter in architecture.  Style, theory, etc....all over the heads of the public.  Build well and build beautiful.  This is all that matters to anyone outside the profession.  If you try to force feed it to people they will gag. 

curtkram
Jun 10, 14 2:11 pm

Architects elevate the basic need for shelter into art.

This 'architect as artist' is absolutely, unequivocally, not true.  not even a little bit.  there isn't even a shred of anything realistic in that statement.

you can be an artist, and you can be an architect.  they're not mutually exclusive.  if, as an architect, you want to make something artistic, then good for you.  go do it.  have fun.

the field of architecture is about designing buildings that get built.  it's quite similar to what a contractor does, except the contractor builds the building, while we as architects design the building.  architecture is a regulated profession because architects are responsible to protect public health and safety, essentially the same reason lawyers and doctors are regulated.

if people wanted to live in venice, they would save their money to build venice instead of just spending a long weekend there.  or they would save their money to move to venice.  people live in styrofoam communities and shop at box stores like walmart because that's what they want.  pay attention and listen to the public sometime. 

the problem with pretending architecture is some sort of 'art' is that a lot people who really suck at art think they're good.  so they make their little crayon sketches on napkins and hand them off to someone who actually has to do real work - someone who actually gives a shit about buildings instead of just flowery bullshit.  get rid of the architects who want to be artists, and maybe the supply will go down.  if clients were hiring more architects that wanted to help them get their buildings built, maybe demand would go up and we might be able to take back some of the ground contractors have taken from us.

jla, i can't help but think that if you're that much of an artist you would have a profile on here with some pics to show off the work you've done.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jun 10, 14 2:47 pm

Firmness, Commodity, Delight! 

I once knew a girl like that.

++ curt

Although we should be careful about semantics. In this society a competent plumber or mechanic is an artist. "Ariste" would be more appropriate when referring to architects.

jla-x
Jun 10, 14 3:15 pm

 people live in styrofoam communities and shop at box stores like walmart because that's what they want.  pay attention and listen to the public sometime. 

hehe.  that's like saying that people live in the ghetto because they like the ghetto.  Horrible misconception.  Ill quote ken Frampton..."architecture is for the people not by the people."

I know many many people from non-arch backgrounds (blue collar people) that express complete disgust for this crap scape that dominates the built environment.  Your statement is so corporatist neo con...

People want well built functional places that are beautiful and enriching.  These places are usually reserved for the wealthy.  The common person is typically settling for what they can afford, what is available, and what is convenient.  They shop at walmart only because walmart exists.  Yes, over time one develops a taste for lousy food if that's all they know.  Kids brought up eating mcdonalds everyday love mcdonalds.  I grew up poor, but my family cooked what one would call "peasant food."  I despised the taste of fast food as did my brothers and sisters.  Now, my sister feeds her kids fast food daily.  They love the shit.  She does so because its cheap and she is a single mom who works like mad.  Its not choice.  Lets also not forget the power of media, advertising, etc.

curtkram
Jun 10, 14 3:23 pm

They love the shit

there you go.  you're listening to the public!  you don't like what you're hearing, so you're trying to intellectualize it and make excuses for why the world doesn't work the way you want it to, or the way you think it should, but at least you're starting to see things for how they are.

your sister obviously has options available to her that she chooses not to exercise.  she wants the path of least resistance.  i would never blame her for that.  i'm sure there is more than enough resistance in her life already. 

building venice is not the path of least resistance.  not even for rich people.

jla-x
Jun 10, 14 3:35 pm

the field of architecture is about designing buildings that get built.  it's quite similar to what a contractor does, except the contractor builds the building, while we as architects design the building.  architecture is a regulated profession because architects are responsible to protect public health and safety, essentially the same reason lawyers and doctors are regulated.

face it, we are chefs of the built environment.  to say every cook must be a chef and have gone through culinary school is dumb.  Its another terrible business move by this profession.  Sell the things that only we can do.  Building competent buildings that don't fall down is the bare minimum.  Building places that people love and cherish is the only skill we have (or should have) that makes us special from engineers, contractors, building designers...People will gladly pay for what they want, but will be reluctant to pay for what they must pay for.  If you reduce the worth of architecture to "red tape" don't be surprised when people don't want to pay for it.   

This bullshit is being propagated by the stampitects who went through the motions but have little talent and passion.  Management, contracts, etc....this is not architecture...these are things that must get done correctly, but not what we should be selling.  Its like a chef marketing his restaurant by telling everyone that his kitchen is clean, he dosent burn the eggs, and that they wont get ecoli poisoning like they may at chucks burgers that's run by a "cook". One should be a talented designer and a competent designer.  Its not one or the other.  Its not art vs science.  Architecture is and always has been both. 

jla-x
Jun 10, 14 3:39 pm

there you go.  you're listening to the public!  you don't like what you're hearing, so you're trying to intellectualize it and make excuses for why the world doesn't work the way you want it to, or the way you think it should, but at least you're starting to see things for how they are.

No, Its a fact that fast food is bad for you. period.  That's not an opinion.

Its also a fact that the shit we build is unhealthy.  30 year shelf life crap buildings.

no fancy ivy tower rhetoric here.  Just facts!

Sociology 101

jla-x
Jun 10, 14 3:49 pm

Here is essentially what you are saying.  Lets use the chef analogy again.

Cooking great/artful food is hard and the market is limited so lets just make it mandatory for all food to be prepared by a chef so the competent but less talented chefs can make a living too.  This will elevate the value of the title chef.  Lets also make it really hard and time consuming to limit the number of chefs to keep it exclusive.  Now a chef is basically a state sanctioned fry cook given the responsibility to produce competent plates of food and protect the hsw of the public by implementing proper sanitary measures when prepping and storing food. 

This elevates the value? 

curtkram
Jun 10, 14 4:02 pm

i'm not really into the 'elevate the value' thing so much.  'value' can start to take connotations i don't intend.

i would say, for a cook analogy, i'd rather see cooks who care about the food cooking the food.  maybe cooks who listen to their customers too.  i don't have anything against the cooks who want to make an artistic presentation of their food.  some people say 'eat with your eyes,' and those people should have a cook available to them.  however, i think most people aren't interested in eating from a chef that's more focused on theory that the food.

also, i think the chefs that are focused on artistic presentation often make food that sucks to eat.  pretending to elevate the title of 'chef' to some artistic endeavor and wrapping in a bunch of b.s. to hide the chef's inability to make a sandwich will not 'elevate' the profession.  if you want to be a chef, learn how to cook the food first.  covering your mistakes in fondant just makes for a shitty cake, even if the cake does follow vitruvius's principles.

jla-x
Jun 10, 14 4:22 pm

so your saying chefs are all about presenting artsy looking food?  No  They are about making great food that tastes great and looks great.  Cooking is also an art and science.    Again its not one or the other.  We know what a chef means because the title implies talent, rigor, passion.  The competence is sort of expected as a bare minimum.  No one says "hey you know anywhere that sells competently cooked eggs"  The title architect is starting to lose those connotations by the crowd that designs to the expectations of the people rather than exceeding them.  Chefs are also finding all sorts of ways to engage the everyday people.  We are not because we would rather guard the title like little jerks.  This leaves a void that gets filled by other professions as the lack of affordable slow food will be filled with fast food.  The title is not regulated, yet aspiring chefs still work under old chefs to gain experience, the title is gaining more and more value as more and more people become chefs and engage the everyday people by selling quality food at affordable prices via food trucks etc, and not everyone calls themselves a chef as some architects fear will happen if architecture was unregulated.

This profession is in denial.  We are always trying to make architecture about everything but architecture.  The profession makes it about, construction admin, contracts, liability, hsw...Academia makes it about solving hunger, saving the world, blah blah.

jla-x
Jun 10, 14 4:25 pm

Also curt, by chef Im not talking about some fancy ass stereotypical chef.  There are grandmas that run little soulfood stands that are chefs. Its about putting soul and passion into something and having great quality results not just doing new stuff.

curtkram
Jun 10, 14 4:56 pm

so your saying chefs are all about presenting artsy looking food?

no.  i'm saying those chefs often suck at cooking food.  the analogy would be that architects focused on presentation probably suck at designing buildings.  if what's important to you is talking about your soul and passion, then what you're doing is different from what architects do.  architects design buildings.  there's nothing wrong with talking about your soul while doing architectural work, but it should be understood that those are two different things.  they can coexist, but they're two different things.

you said " yet aspiring chefs still work under old chefs to gain experience" - so do that (but with architecture).  work with someone who's good at designing buildings and learn how to do it right.  when you're done with that, then start adding the soul crap.

compare this:

No one says "hey you know anywhere that sells competently cooked eggs" 

with your previous

They love the shit (which was in reference to mcdonalds)

if someone wants to buy your soul, i think it's great that you're selling it.  i'm just saying, as an architect, i'm focused on selling my services as a person who can design buildings.

chefs cook food.  anything other than that, be it presentation, or serving food from a food truck, or cooking with incorporeal matter like souls, is second to that.  architects design buildings.  all the baggage you want to attach to the title holds it down and makes it less appealing and less useful to the people who actually engage with the architecture.

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