No license... how much to pay licensed architect to stamp drawings?


So what can you do between a degree and a license, this kind of limbo is tricky and varies state by state.

In Illinois Architecture and the practice of is a title act and so you cannot call yourself and architect, we have several court actions against the IT industry from the secretary of state on this issue. 

First as a generic rule you are restricted from doing public buildings, schools hospitals, homeless shelters, shops, cafes, restaurants, public restrooms, churches, offices. Any place a member of the public may wonder in and be at risk of a faulty design or construction.

So in Illinois where I live the unlicensed designers can do single family residences up to 2,000 SF (this may be more but under this size is definitely a go) under three stories and if the local city or county has no ordinance requiring an architect or engineer, you can do landscapes, you can do furniture layouts for residential commercial and office spaces but again local rules may vary on this and permit reviews may be ore expensive.  You can work on duplexes but more than three housing units and that is a no go.  Repairs and replacements are also possible but for instance in Champaign Illinois awnings on commercial buildings need an engineer or architects stamp if they are altered repaired or replaced. Non licensed designers can design signs for new developments, business. Furniture, you can do a lot of custom commercial work if all your dealing with is furniture that it is not bolted down wired in, but again check local rules in many Illinois cities if the business has a liquor license the furniture layout has to be approved by a licensed architect or interior designer.


I would look around and find a few local firms that will let you land a project and contract with you to do the work before looking for clients, some firms may even set up a 1099 contract with you for bringing in work, but ask before jumping in on a project.

Nov 14, 12 2:57 pm

Poopy heads.

Nov 15, 12 1:51 pm


I don't think the US prohibits the Architect from being a GC, Developer and the Architect of record. I worked for a firm that was set up that way. The architect had a real-estate license but I think it is not prohibited just not common in the US.  This was a tiny firm and half of the work was for in house clients set up as GC developer and Architect. 

IDP is a hurdle so is NAAB for not letting more universities start 5 year programs and recently only allowing 4+2. Southern Illinois University was the last 5 year program accredited. But I think IDP and NCARB who runs the program realize there is a problem, that it is dysfunctional and will hurt the profession by steering talented and honest professionals into other industries or other parts of the construction industry.  The system works well in boon times and seizes up in a recession creating gaps in professionals obtaining their credentials and being able to keep a foot hold in the industry. They have done a few things to reform the system but change is hard since it involves the legislatures of each state and territory and so any changes are hard to execute and need to be long term not reactionary.

So 10

Are you asking about stamping drawings because you are trying to freelance? 

Are you in the IDP purgatory many of us find ourselves in where we are frozen or moving at a glacial pace?

There are ways around some of the IDP hurdles but they are slow and don’t pay the bills or worse cost money. 

Step one is find a mentor who is willing to work with you to get you through IDP, then set up a plan, read the NCARB website and IDP guidelines and take advantage of every opportunity to earn hours.  Even 15 minutes here and there can add up. Architectural record has these quizzes at the back of each edition they earn IDP points and they are available in most public libraries, community service you don’t have to have a job to earn these hours.


Of course having a job makes it easy to get a lot of IDP done but even gainfully employed folks working for years have problems getting all the experience categories done.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Nov 15, 12 4:31 pm

it is possible that a bank or construction lender may not want the architect and GC to be one and the same for a particular project, but certainly not illegal

Nov 16, 12 12:33 pm

Each state may differ but in New York, it is not permitted to be the Architect and Contractor.  You could end up receiving some type of disciplinary action.  I personally don't agree with it but I have questioned the state board of Architects numerous times about it.  It is a conflict of interest though.

Nov 16, 12 2:12 pm

well in ny you can't buy a soda bigger than 16oz.  NY (my home city) is ridiculously over regulated when it come to small timers but wall street and lipa can run a muck....Most places in the US allow for non-registrants to design anything in the single family realm and some commercial.  Ny and a few others have limits or bans.  Interior designers even  need a license...yeah they are really protecting the public....Licensure indusrial complex much.  Times like this I wish Ron Paul was in charge.

Nov 16, 12 6:04 pm

ny is a strange place i guess

Nov 16, 12 9:36 pm

Nomad, I love your suggestions for IDP. You make it sound like what we used to call 'gold farming' in old school video games. Nowadays, you can hire some guy in Indonesia to farm your gold for you. How long before I can do the same for IDP?

Nov 16, 12 10:00 pm
Noah Walker

@REALARCHITECT, having once worked for an Architect Builder in New York I can tell you that you are 100% wrong.

Nov 16, 12 11:15 pm

IDP is a sham.  Nothing more than a way to keep competition down.  The problem with it is that people have to rely on future competitors to gain license.  Employers have no incentive.  Hmmm help this guy get a license so he can take my clients or keep him as a life long intern and pay him crap.  What we need is a arch. intern union. 

IDP= internally designed protectionism

Nov 17, 12 2:14 am

going back to the question of stamping drawings, as was mentioned before design architect firms could complete the design, and if out of a jurisdiction a licensed architect, would be hired on to review and if drawing set meets code, the drawings will be stamped, now keep in mind that the architect doing the stamping has tons of very costly insurance, so there is a lot more to it financially not as simple as just having a license.

Nov 17, 12 11:16 am

It makes no sense that architects cannot stamp drawings.  If the state trusts them to protect the public, then why is their integrity in question when checking and stamping the drawing of an unlicensed designer.  If they are worthy of their license, and if the license really guarantees integrity,  then why assume that they would just stamp away without checking and act unethically.  What stops them from not checking they drawings of their employees? If they are not trusted to check and stamp a drawing (like many engineers do) then the license itself means nothing.   

If the process of idp and testing is really all its cracked up to be then why do we even question the integrity of those holding the license.  If the stamper agrees to stamp, he/she is taking on a liability, and I would doubt that anyone would just run a stamping mill and get away with it for too long without being sued.

Another dumb architecture rule designed to keep competition low.....

Nov 17, 12 2:09 pm
i r giv up

Equating process to product.

Just when I think you're getting smarter jl, I realize that I'm just doing too much cough syrup..

Nov 17, 12 2:15 pm

also, design is not like medicine or law where the professional is immediatly and directly able to endanger the public.  We produce "stuff"  that is just paper until it gets the ok to be built.  There are checks and balances already in place like codes, inspections, engineering.....That must be met before the building is built and has any chance of putting the public at risk.  Stamping would be a professional check point.  What is the difference who designs it as long as a professional is checking it over.  If it is no good then they won't ok it.  If anything, I would think that this would be an even safer process.  Architects would be able to focus 100% on public safty and sub contract the design work out.  They could focus more on energy modeling, code compliance, project management,  embodied energy of materials and act as an unbiased 3rd party check......I am sure that many firms would find a new nitch in this arena.  And if they want to be a design firm than they can as well.....

Nov 17, 12 2:24 pm

@ Noah, you should call the state board of architects or even the aia before running your mouth about things you assume @ jla-x, anyone can claim to be an interior designer in ny, their certification is not protected and in my opinion a truly useless title. The problem with ny is that there is a lot of legislation but not enough enforcement.

Nov 18, 12 9:10 am

Reading between the lines, I'm starting to think licensure is really an ego thing...

Nov 18, 12 11:04 am

Architects gave up on the “better design” argument a long time ago, and the public safety argument doesn't really work either, because in practice, that's that's job of the guy handing out building permits.  So what you've got left is “I'm better than all those unlicensed architects”, which is why the word architect must be protected at all cost, because only people as great as me are allowed to use it. This kind of arrogance is why the reputation of architects is so awful outside the profession.

Nov 18, 12 11:15 am

It's disrespect for the license that ruins the profession.  Licensure is not an "ego" thing, that perspective is laughable.  It's shameful how little people know about the practice of this profession.  First of all, the building department is NOT responsible for correcting or even assuring that a building complies with the code, that is the Architect's job.  They are a backup, they are simply an extra set of eyes looking over the plans, they are NOT responsible for errors.  Thinking that they absolve the Architect of that responsibility and therefore the license isn't worth having is just plain ignorant.  Second, you wouldn't go to an unlicensed doctor simply because he claims that he's just as good.  So what good is a license?  Hmmmmm, maybe because that's the only way the public could know who is and who isn't REALLY qualified.  Wow, I'm really surprised at how many people on this forum are condemning "licensed" Architects for being licensed.  My guess is that it's out of jealousy.  They say those who can't teach, but apparently those who can't also bitch about it.  Open a book and study, take the test, pass and you could join all of us "egomaniacs".  Until then you're just a naive little child with half an education.

Nov 18, 12 1:48 pm

If the law in your area requires a license, then by all means get one, I'm comdenming the attitude of architects like yourself who defend a licensure process that often makes no sense. The only reason to do that is, again, it's an ego thing. Permit departments will not approve plans that do not follow the building code, so yes, the responsibility lies with them.

Keep this up, and architects are going to get kicked out of commercial construction, too. Who really wants to deal with a guy who thinks you're a “uneducated child” for disagreeing with him?

Nov 18, 12 2:18 pm

All these theoretical discussions are valid and helpful, but does anyone actually have an answer to the question that was posed? I'm a registered architect in several states. I have done work for close associates who have successful practices in a foreign country for a retail business. Eventually they are asked by the retail client to do the same type of project here in the US, which is where I come in. I just want to know what others in this position have charged these associates to be the architect of record. I've been charging $10,000 pr project, regardless of size. I do spend considerable time reviewing the drawings for my own peace of mind. Again, just want to know what others are charging. Thanks!!

Nov 18, 12 2:23 pm

Permit departments miss things all the time, so the persons getting sued when a balcony collapses or when people suffocate in a fire because the wrong kind of lock set was installed on a fire door are the designers, rarely has any municipality ever been held liable for design errors even fatal ones.


I think too many aspiring architects have not had a complete picture of real architectural practice given to them in their education. 

Nov 18, 12 5:35 pm

xian, right on!  The license process is the main problem.

No other profession mandates internship without providing some kind of regulation on the employer, or providing a clear path from the university like a residency.  IDP is a dumb mix of state mandates, a monopoly licensing system called ncarb, and private business.  The system puts an unnecessary burden on the firm and on the intern.  The only beneficiary is ncarb.  In this down economy many licensed architects simply do not understand how difficult it is to fulfill idp.  It is hard enough to just get a job, let alone find a firm that will give you the wide exposure that one needs to complete all the idp requirements.  Despite all the hurdles, the US still looks like a shitty stripmall designed by the real housewifes of LA.  Public safety?  what about the side effects of designing an energy sucking shitscape on the future generations.  What about the the fact that most buildings are soul sucking styrofoam shit boxes that make me want to punch myself in the nuts.  Door knobs?  come on man, is that what its come to?  I don't need 7 years of idp to figure out what door knobs to use.   Maybe if we focused on what qualifies as architecture rather than who qualifies as an architect, we would be in better shape. 

Anyway, if we are going to play it by the book, then lets be fair.

We must stop refering to bramante, scarpa, architects until they rise from the dead and complete idp. 

Nov 18, 12 6:45 pm

I'm not really buying that there is some benefit in placing all the responsibility for safety codes on the architect, I mean it's not like we have a huge amount of money to pay for lawsuits, anyway. The reason all this responsibility is placed on architects is because the licensure process needs to justify it's existence, so architects spend years memorizing building codes instead of, well, actually designing.

Nov 18, 12 7:39 pm

“Architects spend years memorizing building codes instead of, well, actually designing”


This statement is one that I often hear from the theory based educated “designers” out there who have rarely designed anything of utility outside of a computer or sketchbook. Codes are restraints, parameters that have to be met, this distinguishes art from design. Art has no arbitrary limits like design has such as budget, materials, safety and many others.


The fact is the built environment is deadly serious business. Each and every code we work with is the result of human suffering, death, or other injustice. Without codes and competent individuals who can design a building within their parameters the built world would be dangerous, impossible for persons with disabilities, and probably unpleasant to live in.


I don’t think an anarchist approach to the design profession will help solve anything, people want some assurance that when they step into a building for their groceries, or to visit a doctor or whatever that they will not be killed or prevented from going in because of their abilities.


IDP and the ARE serve as filters keeping people who are not ready for the risk and the responsibilities from potentially doing harm.  Most of us are careful and diligent, but there are those few who are not, and that is why things are so strict.  So when an architect fails they pay with their insurance, their license, and even jail time, this is why stamping work is such a thorny issue. You have to understand the cost and the risk before passing judgment on the whole system.

Nov 18, 12 10:36 pm


10K per project may be too little, maybe ask your insurance provider what they perceive the liability for your firm would be for each project or project type and charge the needed insurance surcharge and then a percentage or flat fee before stamping, also consult your insurance provider because this work may not be covered and then you are personally on the hook. Stamping outside work is often a good way to void your E&O insurance.

Nov 18, 12 10:48 pm

IDP and the ARE serve as filters keeping people who are not ready for the risk and the responsibilities from potentially doing harm. 

Peter, you sound like a republican.  IDP weeds out people who cannot afford to move from city to city job to job to fulfill idp.  IDP weeds out older grads who have kids and other financial responsibilities.  IDP favors privilage over hard work and talent. 

Nov 18, 12 10:54 pm

wow, unbelievable.  xian and jla-x, you both obviously have little to no experience.  You obviously don't have licenses, and you're probably both fresh out of school.  You don't have a clue what this profession is about.  jla-x you remind me of those students who thought they were hip, edgy and artistic.  You have this self image that is completely unfounded and you were probably like so many others I went to school with who shoved a piece of copper into a lump of clay just to be different and saw it as "visual poetry".  Even when I was a professor I thought it was a joke, these types of students have no sense of function or logic, and Peter is 100% right that the distinction between art and design is that art has no bounds and design is confined by rules and takes into consideration other aspects of a project.  Having no respect for anything outside of what you want to do and what you think is cool is irresponsible, immature and negligent.  I have always laughed to myself, because practically non of you end up becoming actual Architects, and most of you end up working in coffee houses.  If you think the process doesn't make sense then that says a lot about you, you're bitter, unqualified and jealous.  There is no point in defending the process or anything else to the likes of you, it was developed by people who are older, better educated, more experienced and more intelligent than you.  Trust me when I say that you'll ALWAYS be on the losing end of this argument.

My apologies to all of the professional people on here, I just couldn't read any more of this nonsense.  They say a little knowledge is dangerous, and this is a prime example of that. 

Nov 21, 12 8:54 am

Realarchitect, you are way off haha. Your attitude exemplifies the problem in this profession, maintain the status quo at any expense, deny logic, ignore anyone of a lower cast......  Go outside and look at all the crap that makes up 99% of the American built environment and then ask yourself if IDP is weeding out the less worthy.  Maybe if you listened to people with a different perspective you would be able to help move the profession in a better direction.  Instead, you hide behind your badge and claim to be superior when you don't even know me.   I would go on, but your post says it for itself..

Nov 21, 12 1:00 pm

Even when I was a professor I thought it was a joke, these types of students have no sense of function or logic

ha, you must be a great teacher. 

Nov 21, 12 1:03 pm

I would go on, but your post says it for itself

really? well then what do your posts say:

May 10, 12

I have been told that "your work is great, but you need to get rid of the beard", I replied by saying " It usually dosen't get in the way when I am working, and anyway where would I keep my pencils?"  The guy looked at me and kinda laughed but I could tell he was annoyed that I didn't bow down and say sure I will.

I can't wait to get a job and then after I am hired roll my sleeves up and reveal my heavily inked arms.  HEHEHE I gotcya.

Enough said, please enlighten us with your infinite wisdom, and show us all where we went wrong oh wise one, hahahaha

Nov 21, 12 2:02 pm

I don't know what that has to do with anything.  Why should I be judged by my neatly trimmed beard?  I was wearing a suit and tie.  What does facial hair have to do with architecture?  Why would a beard get in the way of architecting?  I just have little tolerance for narrow minded a-holes on power trips.

I don't see how you could be hostile about my above posts.  Nothing inflamatory at all.  Do you listen to your clients or do you  just tell them they are not arcitects so they are idiots?

Wow... go eat some turkey and chill out son.

Nov 21, 12 3:59 pm

“Go outside and look at all the crap that makes up 99% of the American built environment and then ask yourself if IDP is weeding out the less worthy.”


JLA-X, you may have almost revealed to everyone here the problem in architecture and that anyone has the right to be a client. We have no IDP for clients. If someone wants a pink Barbie castle, and they have the means they will find someone to produce such a thing.  Clients are responsible for the built environment, without a client you have no buildings. Architects have a responsibility to advise clients and to persuade them to follow sensible design advice, but if the folks with the money don’t see the value in a cutting edge state of the art building when all they need is a factory or an inexpensive building to accommodate their activities or the activities of their clients (meta Clients) then it all falls to the architect to sell design and to pry that money out of the clients hands and spend it on what we think is best for them.  


The reason many buildings are kind of sad to look at is we had clients who did not care or architects who could not persuade their clients, or some combination.


And so we find ourselves faced with a problem, Architecture has licenses, each state can remove a professional for being a scoundrel and they often do. We architects and Intern architects aspire to be design professionals held in a high level of esteem.  I think architects and Engineers are highly regarded to folks outside of the construction profession. Stamping drawings may be a way to undermine that esteem and puts at risk the profession not just the person sealing and signing their name. 


There are huge risk, so you have to be prepared to pay for those risk, but as a designer or intern architect you can still design things that could change the built environment, and until you earn the right and privilege to be an architect, you will have to find a firm or two who is willing to work with you when you land a client and have work to do.  But let me warn you all do not promise what is not yours to give, and do not start work on projects that are beyond your legal abilities for which you intend to get paid. Just don’t do it you are setting yourself up for lawsuits fines and you may never get a license if you go too far.


I hope we all had a safe and happy thanksgiving and that all of us on this blog can find meaningful and gainful employment in the coming year, and or keep their employment in one fantastic and challenging profession.


Peter Normand

Nov 22, 12 11:44 pm

there is no such thing as an "unlicensed architect" or an "unregistered architect" or any variation of the term.  Your'e either an architect (licensed) or youre nothing.  Pretty sure this is the case in most jurisdictions, know it is in NYS.  Its sad that so many people dont know this.

Dec 4, 12 9:55 pm

Not only can licensed architects not sign other peoples drawings, but most jurisdictions they have a title act which restricts any sense of the word architect being used to hold one's self out as licensed in that jurisdiction. Many state even consider verbal advise as the practice of architecture, (CA). i am licensed in 20+ states. In most states it is a misdemeanor to practice architecture subject to fines as much as $5000 and 1 year in jail. Most board are not shy about fining and penalizing individuals that practice without a license, or seal other peoples drawings, simply look on their web pages sometimes as many as hundreds of people fined for doing so. In fact whenever you email someone and have architect in your title block, you should list at the bottom of your email which states you are licensed in, and caveat any communication with a potential client in a state you may not be with an affirmation that you are NOT a licensed in. Some states define responsible charge as producing the instruments of service (IE California) as practice, that means sketches, models, drafting, etc, and even advice. One must be very careful.

Some non registrants have asked me to sign and seal, and I must tell them that I have to redraw the entire set, Boards of architecture are very serious about this. If you have a degree, and are an intern architect, you should check your state boards rules as to even calling yourself and architect intern, as you may be required to be active in the IDP program in order to do so.

There is no such thing as an unregistered architect, it would be an intern, or a designer. Use of the word architect is heavily restricted in the A/E field (as opposed to software design). We had to hire an attorney to spell out not only how you get licensed via reciprocity, but also how you practice. Most states require a firm to be registered with their Secretary of States office, their corporation commission and to obtain a certificate of authorization to practice. Designers should be wary that the practice of architecture is heavily regulated by many state governmental agencies. It a serious matter to practice without a license or sign and seal drawings that your were not in responsible charge during their preparation. Canada is also very strict, even with NCARB reciprocity.

Peter Lagomarsino RA *

*Licensed Architect in AZ | CO | FL |  ID | IL| NC | NJ | NM | NV | NY | OR | PA | TN | TX | UT | VA |WA | WI | WY | NCARB

Jul 28, 13 3:27 pm

The reason many buildings are kind of sad to look at is we had clients who did not care or architects who could not persuade their clients, or some combination

... or architects who aren't worth a shit, or have a titanic ego, or both. I see l a lot of those.

Jul 28, 13 3:44 pm

Architecture is a balance of poesis, technos and polis all greek for art, technical and politics. One must convince their paying client the best way to use their funds for society as a whole. This in itself is a fine art, but without the regulation of our trade, there would be no standards for safety. Its unfortunate that people with money have no taste or visions for how society should look, they just throw their money around without direction.

Jul 28, 13 3:52 pm
( o Y o )

J'ai eu poesis. Le médecin prescrit des antibiotiques et il s'en alla.

Jul 28, 13 10:51 pm

Mr. Nouvel, if you are the same Jean Nouvel, Once in France I did a research trip back in my graduate school days, on a public housing project that you did, I think in Marseille. I thought your work to be fantastic. Not sure of the cynicism here though funny, because I would think solving architectural design problems would involve the artistic, the technical and the political finesse? And your work at least to me, shows that. My professor the late Michele Pillet, studied at the Ecole de Beux arts. He would probably support the balance in design as well as a need for appropriate regulation of our trade.

Jul 29, 13 6:20 pm

Architecture is a balance of poesis, technos and polis all greek for art, technical and politics. One must convince their paying client the best way to use their funds for society as a whole. This in itself is a fine art, but without the regulation of our trade, there would be no standards for safety. Its unfortunate that people with money have no taste or visions for how society should look, they just throw their money around without direction.

It would be horrible and dangerous like northern Europe.  A deadly slum full of evil non architects constructing death building.  The leading cause of death would become architecture.  Licensed architects would become enslaved by "architects" and they would be forced into prostitution, drug smuggling, and endless hours of revit drafting.  It will become so bad that eventually people will just stop having children because of the high probability that they would likely die a horrible death from architecture anyway....smh

Jul 29, 13 7:00 pm

there is no such thing as an "unlicensed architect" or an "unregistered architect" or any variation of the term.  Your'e either an architect (licensed) or youre nothing.  Pretty sure this is the case in most jurisdictions, know it is in NYS.  Its sad that so many people dont know

LOL just LOL . . .

Jul 29, 13 7:05 pm

yes that is the law, but in reality if you make architecture you are an architect.

There were actually some half ass architects complaining about zumthor using the title architect in the UK.   

Jul 29, 13 7:08 pm

While I agree about the title of architect is becoming devalued based on its' synonym being used in the IT world, I think there is less usefulness in the criticism of the establishment of a line created with which we collectively designate as the threshold for being competent to practice architecture without supervision. When I was an intern, at the beginning of the IDP program, I was just as skeptical of a system that would be used as an authority to determine my competence. It seemed arbitrary. But as I progressed with the due diligence necessary to overtake that threshold, I realized there was a reward for attempting to realize that rite of passage to become real. My Uncle a retired VP of civil engineer told me when I passed, that I was now "real". In his office he he would congratulate newly licensed engineer upon passing their PE calling them real.

Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, intern or "real", as it were, our society must have some means with which to establish a standard of knowledge one must know in order to be defined legally as real. There is nothing wrong with this rite of passage. I too felt as though it was unfair, and in my own way felt jealous as well. But I took up the yoke of pain to study and pass all 9 sections of the ARE. What ever that standard is, it should be representative of what is found in the field.

While the content of the IDP may seem arbitrary, there are many things we do in our field every day that have nothing to do with foo foo design. Many are technical and many as well are political. Some of the design schools like ASU which is no longer accredited focus only on very liberal arts approach to pure design. This frankly does a disservice to those spending good money to get out of school and then not being employable because they only know design. Our field is so much more than that. Architects have never been good businessmen or good with money simply because they are mostly right brain and creative. Its the left  brain analytical and logical that we need in order to produce well informed forms, the kind with both left and right brain, a sort of technical and poetic. With out this balance you have soulless forms, or forms that look good but don't function at all.

While a person may be the greatest designer like a Picasso of architecture, they also do not exist in a vacuum. One must practice within the ever present polis. I recently interviewed Paolo Soleri for my book "Confessions in a Crown Vic", actually his last interview before he died. His comment was that the difference between and architect and a politician is that the architect can react to design needs in his own unlimited terms, (hence a design only approach), while a politician has a four year term within the bounds of what can be accomplished in that period of time. He is judged a success or failure for the results in that period of time. An architect has his vision built much quicker.

The thing that makes architects and building designers the higher artists is that they must have the finesse to balance function, aesthetic, politic, and also to deal effectively with regulations and law. We are responsible for for our societies creation of habitable sculpture. Real architects needn't be defined only by passing IDP, but by balancing all these things within the parameters set forth by the society which we exist in like all of our competition. If you design solely in a vacuum without each of these things, you circumvent reasonable established parameters that quantify our process. You may not like IDP of NCARB or any big government intervention imposed to define or regulate an Architect, but without a limit or a threshold, you have no way to legally afford a person the right to provide that service. Whether we like it or not, rules are there to create boundaries. Before we push the envelope, we should learn what the boundaries of the envelope are.

I recently missed my Califorinia Supplemental Exam CSE by one questions. I have to wait 6 months and retake it. I have been practicing for 20 years. I fetl really ticked off. I brush myself off again and study more. Then next time I will pass it. I think that many younger people think just like I did, "what right do they have to judge my knowledge of architecture?" I even think that with the CSE. It takes wisdom and time to realize that we have boundaries as a means to help us compare our skills with others in terms of reasonable acceptable knowledge. Once you pass you can then do as you would, except now you are sanctioned. Its somewhat of a game as well as it is a guide. You will never find a place on earth that does not have such a phenomenon. There are always going to be comparisons. These help define the semantics of industries.

My professor once told me, there is no such thing as a young conservative nor an old liberal. He was French and this probably has much profundity. We simply must understand that if we push away rules to be progressive, there will no longer be a measure with which to define our attractive radicalism. Rules and rites of passage help illuminate the beauty of progressivism, without which there is no comprehension of wow to be seen anywhere!

Jul 29, 13 8:00 pm

Nonsense.  There are many countries without title Protectionism they are fine. Architects have been around before this dumb system and they will be here long after.  You are looking at this from a very narrow perspective.  

The only thing that makes Some one  an architect is the ability to create architecture   Most licensed archs cannot do this. Most of them are hiding behind their badge. This badge creates a "safe haven for the mediocre" as flw said.  The license does not make some one an architect any more than an art degree makes some one an artist.  the license simply allows one to design for the public. Whether or not they design architecture is completely based upon talent and rigor. Nothing more.  If they obtain a license and never produce architecture then they are not an architect.  If they create architecture and never get a license then they are an architect.  How can people accept the states definition of architect and architecture when the state is the most anti creative force. 

Jul 29, 13 9:53 pm

Establishing a system that includes a rational threshold with which to determine a legal definition does not diminish the power of the creative energies necessary to be an architect. It simply gives a measure with which to determine a minimum cognizance of the principles needed to provide for public safety. I personally think that it is a cop out to diminish ones accomplishments of achieving a license simply with broad generalization that state "most architects can't design. While the ability to be an architect may not be predicated on the states granting one a certificate to practice, the counter is also true in any profession in any state that regulates that profession. Just because you might think yourself an architect does not make you legal to practice as defined by the state. Political sanctioning of a profession can be a bad thing, like the way doctors are required to practice only western medicine and insurance companies wont pay for things like acupuncture. But the difference in architecture, is that architects stand to do the most damage to human assembly, as they gather inside those creations. If lives have been lost in the past because of poor decisions, those error should justifiably be codified into the requirements of designers actions. If that is too much regulation than the public interest is not really protected.

I  hardly think that calling for a balance of the artistic and the technical in a building is a narrow view, on the contrary, the lack of inclusion of function by letting design run rough shod over function is a narrow libelous view, for that amplifies the arrogance of even unlicensed designers against the objectives of their clients with money to pay for the design. That why we need to steer our clients to a balance that fulfills their program as well as exhibits beauty.

Ego is what drives someone that is not licensed, Like FLW who only had an honorary degree and no real training to believe they are better than others. Architecture is a solution for a primitive need for shelter combined with the intent to imitate life in art. That's why beautiful buildings come from the art that mimics our own lives, but they also do not ignore function. As for Frank Lloyd Wright he is not as glamorous as one would think. Perhaps a great artist, but as far as a planner, Paolo Soleri, FLW's last living student, stated in my interview with him, that FLW became counter-evolutionary in the 1930's when he proposed Broad acre City. And in truth, his Usonian house was the catalyst for the great damages that Urban Sprawl has caused in America. An acre for every family is preposterous and frankly what caused the down fall of our economy with its hyper-consumerism. Time will show that FLW's influence at least on the mass appeal of housing was way more damaging than recent historians will admit too. (see "Confessions in a Crown Vic" for more.)

Great architecture may not come from regulation and certification, but neither should great artists be hindered from producing quality buildings. But if those ideas and technical solutions cannot be proven with the current science, they will always be regulated by the law that progresses behind the liberal arts. Without some form of governance of the field we simple exude subjectivity and let our objective engineering counterparts become the designers. In Texas, the AIA has been fighting the engineers because engineers can design houses. With more objective standards we allow the left brain and more business savvy career fields take over our responsibility while we argue about the semantics of who can be an architect. Subjective is fine in moderation, but we must have objective means with which to determine who can practice architecture, if not the least to protect our field from being diluted and given to the engineers....

Jul 29, 13 10:24 pm

... And when engineers can design commercial buildings as well, we have marginalized ourselves right out of business...

Jul 29, 13 10:34 pm

So Wright is to blame for hyper-consumerism?

LOL Tell that to Thorstein Veblen. And forget about the industrial revolution or Corbu designing around the automobile. Or Croesus and thousands of years of human history.

Architects are largely obsolete, except of course as tailors for those with huge egos and the financial resources to waste on self-glorification or speculative development.

++jla-x (architects good and bad, as in "the architect of disaster")

Jul 29, 13 10:46 pm

Not in so many words, but he was definitely a catalyst to the idea of expansionism, and the American colonialism certainly was fueled by his clean cost saving designs, perhaps not isolated from the international style, but very much of the American style of arrogant individualism... I can't convey the entire concept in this blog, its 540+ pages and on Amazon. The book tells it all. And the interview alone with Soleri is worth the investigation.

All I am saying is things are not as they seem with regulation. Controls are not only by those licensed, as you say to monopolize a practice, but also its there to keep the engineers from taking over our field that is so inept at self governance because of egotistical infighting and failures within to acknowledge the need for objectivity with regards to rules, without which we wither away and have no function. Search engineers practicing architect in Texas to see what I mean.

Jul 29, 13 10:56 pm

American colonialism? Manifest destiny (American style) started about 50 years before Wright was born.

No major building today could be produced without engineers. Starchitects are simply decorators on steroids.

Jul 29, 13 11:11 pm

Manifest destiny is the precise impetus for American colonialism. It is this attitude and lack of the American culture's inability to realistically comprehend needs versus wants that caused our hyper consumerism, and what was copied by the rest of the world as they watched our flagrant indulgence in self. We are ostentatious and frankly have become if not now but soon to be insignificant.

If Engineers design all buildings, you will find, as an unlicensed architect your position much less amenable. To preserve building design for architects is a good thing. Much like your comment on the fact that many architects can't design buildings, I would hate to see a world designed solely by left brain engineers. How seriously boring would that be? This is why Calatrava is so wonderful, he has both left and right, technical and poetic. Balance.

Jul 29, 13 11:22 pm

It's a toss-up whether the spread of American culture was based primarily on self-indulgence or market expansion for corporate profit.

Developers design buildings. Architects and engineers just administrate the code and detail the structure.

Jul 29, 13 11:41 pm

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