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Why do we need architects?

idealist

How would you answer the question:

Why do we need architects?

when talking to a room of engineers and builders.

 
Jan 15, 15 4:38 pm
Saint in the City

Mostly to read drawings and specs for engineers and builders.

Jan 15, 15 4:44 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

Why DO we or why SHOULD we?

Jan 15, 15 4:55 pm  · 
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Alien 8

Can you imagine living in an environment of only parking lots and manufactured sheds?

Jan 15, 15 5:07 pm  · 
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DeTwan

Architects are mostly needed in interpreting codes, and presenting arguments for change to the city. Obviously there is far more valuable reasons to hire an architect, but like mentioned in other threads, everyone thinks and can to some degree "design/CAD" a house or whatever structure they want. Architects are more there to facilitate the idea into reality, not really 'design' it beyond the typical building models of present day...that is what starchitects are for, real design.

Jan 15, 15 5:08 pm  · 
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Builders need plans to follow. They don't want to spend their time dicking around with owners. That's what architects are for.

Jan 15, 15 5:31 pm  · 
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Saint in the City

Oh, and complaining.  Architects do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to complaining.

Jan 15, 15 5:31 pm  · 
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curtkram

without the architect, the contractor doesn't have anyone to blame when they're on-site with the owner every day.
 

Jan 15, 15 5:34 pm  · 
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Saint in the City

Why do we need architects?

Well someone needs to be the most useless person in the room.

Gosh, this is fun.

Jan 15, 15 5:53 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]
Why do we need architects?

Who else would put up with the bullshit excuses of engineers?
Jan 15, 15 7:39 pm  · 
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Because engineers deal with forces, builders deal with materials, and architects deal with humans.  Or dreams, whichever response will give fewer snorts of laughter.

Jan 15, 15 10:02 pm  · 
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Fruehling

Clients tell A Story

Architects Edit The Story

Builders Publish It.

 

Architects make buildings look like novels instead of blogs.

Jan 15, 15 10:45 pm  · 
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Larchinect

^^nice.

Jan 15, 15 11:06 pm  · 
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Architects are for status. The more recognized the name of the architect you hire, the higher your status. Jus t being able to afford one at all puts you in a more exclusive category. 

Jan 15, 15 11:22 pm  · 
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Carrera

90% of the built environment is void of architecture…..meaning that 90% of what’s built doesn’t need architects. 

Jan 15, 15 11:34 pm  · 
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Plastic Marquee

Mmmm... I'm not too sure about that one, Carrera... I mean, yeah, sure 90% of the built environment is not great (isn't that a Peter Eisenman line...?), mainly I believe due to ignorant clients... But we still need it, right? And architects, who are supposed to be better at it than builders or engineers, can alleviate the pain to some extent...

Anonymous architecture, which is what accounts for that 90% of the built environment, is a bit like that "easy-listening" music we hear when we board an aeroplane or we are waiting for the dentist to perform his act of butchery... Sure it's not very exciting stuff, but we need it that way, calm and soothing, unpretentious... Life would probably be far too intense if we were all Corbusiers or Koolhaas... Like the great Coderch said once: "It's not geniuses that are needed now!"   

Jan 16, 15 4:55 am  · 
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Non Sequitur
"Why do we need architects?"
-to keep those who produce coffee beans employed.
Jan 16, 15 6:36 am  · 
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subgenius

An Architect is like the conductor of a symphony......the conductor plays no instrument, but without him there is no music.

Jan 16, 15 9:28 am  · 
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toosaturated

Plastic - I don't think that's what Carrera meant, 90% of everything that is built, an architect was not involved in the process. This includes homes built by contractors or in rural locations buildings built by the users. I'm not sure about the percentage, but it's seems close since most people can't afford an architect. The service we provide is not very accessible to the general population.

Jan 16, 15 9:45 am  · 
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curtkram

An Architect is like the conductor of a symphony......the conductor plays no instrument, but without him there is no music.

you should try spotify.  lots of music, no conductor.

Jan 16, 15 9:46 am  · 
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x-jla

"Why do we need architects?"

To create ruins for future archeologists.

Jan 16, 15 10:56 am  · 
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stone

"Why do we need architects?"

So there will be someone to call clients -- you know, those people who pay our invoices - ignorant.

Jan 16, 15 12:46 pm  · 
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midlander

^you know Curt, the music on spotify is recorded... There was still a conductor conducting the performance, even if it was done in a studio.

But to follow that simile I'd say the architect is more like the composer - comes up with the entire artistic concept. Conductor is more like the construction manager who makes sure it's executed properly.

Anyway, was this question at all serious? It's no surprise there are so many underpaid and unhappy people on archinect if they can't immediatly see the point of being an architect.

Jan 16, 15 10:04 pm  · 
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Saint in the City

"Why do we need architects?"

Most people don't live in houses designed by architects.

Most architects don't live in houses designed by architects.

Most architects don't design their own houses.

Not even architects needs architects.

Jan 17, 15 8:06 am  · 
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Plastic Marquee

toosaturated - I see what you mean... See, where I come from (Spain) it is compulsory to employ an architect in order to obtain a permit for building a house, no matter where it is located, so I guess it's a different situation...

Jan 17, 15 4:33 pm  · 
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snooker-doodle-dandy

So we have naked old guys at the Gym cause they have no work.

Jan 17, 15 9:26 pm  · 
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Carrera

Really wonder if it wasn't for seal laws if we would exist at all.... the whole process is such a pain in the ass for clients....

Jan 17, 15 9:50 pm  · 
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Saint in the City

^ I've raised the same unpopular question among architects, but almost no one wants to talk about it -- sort of an elephant in the room.  Those that do answer tend to fumble around citing "public safety", etc.  --  is an architect's stamp really the only means to a safe building?  Of course, it isn't, and typical  of the law of unintended consequences, the legal requirement of a stamp has played a role in devaluing the profession.

Jan 18, 15 4:12 am  · 
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ar.sayanm

Only an Architect can design shelters...... i literally mean shelters... rest others construct buildings

Jan 18, 15 6:48 am  · 
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gruen
Because the cats don't heard themselves.
Jan 18, 15 12:29 pm  · 
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^ Are they deaf?

Jan 18, 15 1:39 pm  · 
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Saint in the City

Really wonder if it wasn't for seal laws if we would exist at all.... the whole process is such a pain in the ass for clients....

"^ I've raised the same unpopular question among architects, but almost no one wants to talk about it -- sort of an elephant in the room.  Those that do answer tend to fumble around citing "public safety", etc.  --  is an architect's stamp really the only means to a safe building?  Of course, it isn't, and typical  of the law of unintended consequences, the legal requirement of a stamp has played a role in devaluing the profession."

......................................

I brought up this question among some architect friends / acquaintances at a local meeting recently.  I asked them something like what would happen to their workload if the current stamping laws were changed, eliminated in favor of some other "proof of competency" ...or whatever.   To say the least, wow, was this sort of discussion point unpopular...  sort of like they are fully aware of the truth of a point like Carrera is making, but would rather it remain a secret.  Protect the status quo.

Jan 19, 15 11:02 am  · 
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curtkram

i've been going through a situation where restrooms in an existing building don't meet accessibility requirements.  the contractor says i should just write a letter saying either the path of travel is fully compliant or that it's 'technically infeasible' to bring the restrooms into compliance.  that, he thinks, will make it all go away.

the code is pretty clear about what to do when a restroom is not in compliance.  i would think the contractor also has a responsibility to understand what the code says, but apparently not.  this would fall into the greater 'life safety' sort of thing that architects do (even though accessibility isn't really life safety, it is a 'meet code' kind of thing).  also, a good architect thinks through how it's all going to go together in a way many contractors don't, so involving an architect can save the client lots of money by preventing problems from happening before they become problems, and solving problems in a way that actually solves the problem rather than a bunch of quick fixes that make sense with an isolated view but not when looked at with the systems that might not be in place yet.

there are services an architect can provide, other than having big egos, insulting other architects, and having an opinion on what looks 'neat,' that can actually add value to the design and construction of a building.

Jan 19, 15 11:14 am  · 
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x-jla

saint, I agree 100%

Jan 19, 15 11:44 am  · 
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x-jla

 curt, as an analogy, you just reduced the title chef to a person who makes sure food is thoroughly cooked. 

Jan 19, 15 11:51 am  · 
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x-jla

I have said this before...the job of a chef is not to cook competent food , the job of a chef is to cook artful meals that enhance our lives.  The job of an architect is similar.  a contractor, engineer, etc, are all capable of building competent buildings.  What gives value to the architect is the ability to create all those other things that make buildings enjoyable and fulfilling.   

Jan 19, 15 12:01 pm  · 
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tintt

To make buildings pretty. 

Jan 19, 15 12:01 pm  · 
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x-jla

not just making buildings pretty but making them ergonomic, good lighting, passive heating and cooling,  connected to nature, proportions, flexable, user friendly, interesting, etc.  architecture is that thing that makes the Salk better than the office complex down the street. 

Jan 19, 15 12:09 pm  · 
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gruen
Anyone who has taken the exam knows that architecture has nothing to do w making pretty buildings, at least in the eyes of the law. Sure, you could give an architect a different title and change the requirement from "license" to "competency" but someone has to perform the wide variety of tasks that architects currently do. It's stupid to debate these things w in the profession. I know what architects do-the tasks are many. Why don't you know?
Jan 19, 15 3:34 pm  · 
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x-jla

most buildings are designed witjout an architect and are perfectly "competent" and safe to inhabit.  if this is all you are offering, and if it can be achieved in leau of you, then it will be.  good design is the only thing that makes an architect unique/indespensible..as "good" food is the only thing that distinguishes a chef from a line cook.  you cant be an architect and a bad designer just as you cant be a chef and a bad cook.  dosent matter how few patrons recieved food poisoning at your establishment.  architecture = building elevated to art    chef = cooking elevated to art.   

Jan 19, 15 4:05 pm  · 
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x-jla

and...good design is much much more than pretty looking facades. 

Jan 19, 15 4:09 pm  · 
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curtkram

jla, cooks work with food.  architects don't.  your analogy is completely irrelevant and unrelated to the question being asked in this thread.  if you want to be a cook, go be a cook.  if you want to be an artist, go be an artist. if you want to be a designer or a theologian, then do it.  there is nothing wrong with pursuing those occupations, and you might find a lot more fulfillment and relevance in your life.  however, what they do is different than what architects do.

the office complex down the street that isn't the salk institute was designed by an architect.  it is architecture.  your opinion on whether you like it has no bearing on whether or not it is included in what architecture is.

your misunderstanding of what an architect does is a lot of the problem of why architects are seen by some as nothing more than a bureaucratic stamp.  it is also why the media can trash our profession so easily, as is the case with 'directionless' blog post and other similar threads that have come up recently.

figure out what architects do first, then try to make it better.  pretending we're cooks makes it worse, not better.

Jan 19, 15 4:30 pm  · 
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tintt

How can 90% of buildings not be designed by architects if architects are what makes buildings safe? That doesn't make sense.

Jan 19, 15 4:54 pm  · 
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toosaturated

Simply because the built world is mostly homes. The world is big and many countries don't have buildings codes/standards like we do in the states. People in third world countries are the designer/builder/ and occupant of his/her own home.

In Mass you only need a CSL to build homes/buildings that are =/- than 35,000 cubic feet. This probably varies by states. 90% is a guess but its somewhere around that area. A lot of people cannot afford architects, even most architects can't afford an architect.

Jan 19, 15 5:05 pm  · 
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x-jla

curt, you completely missed my point.  I am talking about value.  if someone wants a typical mcmansion they probably will not spend an additional 10% on an architect because any builder can provide that for cheaper.. a person seeks an architect when they want "good design" something special or because the law requires the stamp.  thats the reason they pay for your servive not because you make sure the design complies with codes.. the stamp provides work that the (competent building seeking) client would otherwise bypass as they do with residential where stamps are not required.  you dont go to spagos because the chef keeps his frdge clean and washes his hands well or has some permit or degree.   the services that doctors and lawyers sell are completely unique to their professions.  the services that are unique to architecture are not building competent building because other professionals do that as well.  of course we need to know how to build competently and  understand codes but the service 100% unique to architecture (licensed or not) is "good design."  not style but good thoughtful rigorous design.  Aalto shit. 

Jan 19, 15 5:26 pm  · 
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curtkram

people hire architects like me when they want to build an office complex that is not the salk institute. i've never been asked to design a mcmansion.

you can keep doing what you do, and you should be proud of what it is you're doing.  that won't change what it is that architects do, and your cooking analogies will continue to have nothing to do with the design of buildings that get built.

Jan 19, 15 5:43 pm  · 
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x-jla

as long as that attitude prevails the architect will have little to no control over the built environment.  if you are not trying to add value to the built environment and promoting yourself/firm as a being capable of adding value to the built environment (not the process of building but the actual outcome) then the architect will be treated as a cog.  on the other side you have the stylists who promote architecture as style/fashion reducing it to its shallowest state.  Both extremes are limiting

Jan 19, 15 6:05 pm  · 
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"Value in the built environment" has little to do with architects and everything to do with developers. And for the most part it's the wrong kind of value.

Jan 19, 15 6:12 pm  · 
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curtkram

i'm not saying i don't try to add value to the built environment.

what i am saying is that a realistic view of what architects do will help you to understand what the architect's role is in the process, and you can start building from there.  if you don't understand what's going on, and why office complexes you don't like end up the way they are, then you aren't going to be able to do much to improve the built environment or the profession.

in your view, architects really aren't required for people who don't want the salk institute, so there's no point anyway.

Jan 19, 15 6:13 pm  · 
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Volunteer

The problem is that the architectural establishment can't distinguish between the Salk Institute and the Gehry MIT buildings, although the public sure can.

Jan 19, 15 6:26 pm  · 
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++ Volunteer 

Jan 19, 15 6:55 pm  · 
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