Terminology Legit: (unlicensed [information/interior] ARCHITECT{ural} interns)

This is kind of an omnibus for a topic that has come up in several threads (that I'm too lazy to hunt down and link to right now): who gets to call themselves an architect?

The state boards say that no one may call themselves an architect unless they have a license to practice architecture. In my state, this is the relevant law: link. As has been noted elsewhere, this is state law and the states enforce it, but NCARB, the national council of state boards, has tended to bring all the diverse laws in line with one another, keeping the laws and terms consistent. NCARB suggests, with no little authority, that the proper term for an unlicensed architect is 'intern', see, for example, the note at the bottom of this page.

There are a number of problems with this: there's the difference between party style 'what do you do?' chatter and professional representation, there's the difference between popular perception of a term's meaning and the legal reality, and there are a number of edge cases that are steadily eroding the sense of all of this.

1) Interns are peons. An 'intern' in the minds of many people, is a person who is underskilled and underpaid, maybe even still in school and working part time for free. The legal use of this term for entry level professionals with (in many cases) graduate degrees only contributes to consistent complaints about low pay and exploitation that plague the discipline. If the state says you can call me an intern, then you're going to treat me like one. I've heard some people say 'Junior Architect' instead, but that makes it sound like you're in the Boy Scouts. Should NCARB change this designation to something less pejorative?

2) Unlicensed Starchitects. There are many, look it up, you'd be surprised. A dead giveaway is often the lack of the term 'architects' or 'architecture' in their office name, another hint is the lack of any license listing on their CV. When people are licensed, they usually put it on their resume. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but on the one hand, it contributes to the perception/reality split when these people are often repesented in the media as architects when they're legally not. On the other hand, it's contributing to a split between academia and practice, unlicensed starchitects often teach, and they've often spent their youth working for other unlicensed starchitects, creating a perpetual parallel universe in the practice that often corresponds to the Designer/Architect of Record split. Should NCARB help set the record straight on who is, and who isn't, and architect?

3) Unequal enforcement. There was that case in Colorado where the guy was running for public office, and he called himself an architect in response to reporter's question, his state board went after him when he lost the election and there were hints that the prosecution was political retribution. (once again, can't be bothered to google the details) Wherever there exists a law that is underenforced and widely ignored, there's the possibility for abuse of power through selective enforcement. In many states, it's illegal for anyone under 18 to drive a car that has only other (non family member) kids in it, in practice this just gives the cops the power to stop and maybe search any teenager whose looks they don't like. If the law is widely ignored in casual speech, should it just be thrown out or rewritten?

4) (x) Architects. Where (x) is Product, or Software, or Information, or Interior ... This makes and Craigslist almost completely unusable when you're on the job hunt, the results are so polluted by these jokers. This is the crumbling edge of the erosion of meaning in popular perception. Karl Rove is not the architect of the Iraq War and my profession is not a metaphor. If we're really going to enforce the limits of the term's use, aren't these people worth targeting?

I remember on another thread (that I'm too lazy to look for right now) liberty bell had an insightful set of criteria for who should, and shouldn't be allowed to use the term, lb, can you repost? Here's my idea about it (disagree and/or add to it below, and I think maybe we could assemble some of this into an open letter to NCARB sometime in the future):

NCARB should let the law stand as written, but refine enforcement. Throw out the word 'intern' for anyone with a professional degree and replace it with 'Unlicensed Architect' This would cover the cocktail party talk issue, just say 'I'm an unlicensed architect', and leave it at that. NCARB should write a letter to Dwell or Metropolis everytime they call so-and-so an architect when they're not licensed (especially if they're not even degreed), and make them issue a retraction. If the stars are caught misrepresenting [/i]themselves[/i] without the 'unlicensed' qualifier, prosecute 'em.

No mercy should be shown to the Software and Information Architects.

Dec 30, 07 5:29 pm

The guy in Colorado was sued, he counter sued and won. If memory serves me, he was not working in the field of architecture and had an architecture degree.

I still think its all ridiculous. If you have a professional degree, you should be able to call yourself an architect. If you are licensed, then call yourself a licensed architect.

Nice and simple and adds more prestige to someone with the license, but doesn't diminish the fact that many of us have no intention of getting licensed, but will design buildings.

There is no way to prosecute other professions. Therefore, the only (and easy) target are those within this profession.

Think of it like this, if a stararchitect designs an award winning building, but is not licensed, how would it look if they were to say "yeah, I designed that building, saw if from conception through completion, but I can't call myself an architect".
That would drive the credibility of an architect straight into the ground. The public could care less about the silly technicalities that exist, they just want to know who designed the architecture (which, imho, should define that person as the 'architect').

Dec 30, 07 8:38 pm  · 

Personally (humbly being an "Unlicensed Architect") I have always wondered why I cannot find a suitable liability policy...for my pre-licensure,...uh "drafting business"...yeah, thats it! I am just a free lance contractor drafter, but they still don't make Drafter's Insurance.

Dec 30, 07 11:59 pm  · 

I'd like to amend Trace's proposal and suggest we just make those that are non-licensed add that term to the title.

I think there may be something just about Philip R. Nixon, Unlicensed Architect

Dec 31, 07 12:34 am  · 

...which is what sevensixfive just proposed. I'm going to start reading entire paragraphs.

Dec 31, 07 12:35 am  · 
HoleInTheW ll

Unlicensed Architect- yeah, it has a certain.. precarious sound to it. I like. :)

Dec 31, 07 4:30 am  · 
won and done williams

i think i've probably written this on multiple threads, but i have no problem with the term "intern." it's accurate. we are interns until we become licensed. i don't find any shame in that. if anything it should be incentive for that 45 year old intern to hurry up and finish taking the ARE.


in normal cocktail party conversation with non-architects, i'm going to call myself an architect. why bore them the technicalities of the profession? no one wants to be that guy.

Dec 31, 07 8:50 am  · 
HoleInTheW ll

... kind of like Unliscenced Pilot...

Dec 31, 07 9:01 am  · 
some person

Here in DC, the term "intern" takes on a whole new meaning. Although - come to think of it - the young college students who work on The Hill are called "staffers"... so I guess it's only the Monica Lewinsky-types that anyone would compare us to.

Dec 31, 07 9:31 am  · 

there is no limitation on the term 'starchitect' and it hasn't been appropriated (yet) by other fields. so lets all start calling ourselves starchitects and forget the intern versus __________ discussion.

Happy new year my fellow starchitects!

Dec 31, 07 10:05 am  · 

Happy new year, tk!

Yeah, HoleInTheW ll is right, I'm using 'Unlicensed Architect' here at least partly for the precarity implications. Like 'Guerilla Gardener', it implies a commitment to action in the street vs. beauracracy and talk.

jafidler - I'll sometimes give people the whole degree/accreditation/licensing explanation at a party, if it's a boring one. There's a great moment to watch for where their eyes actually glaze over and lose focus, right after that they start scanning the room for someone more interesting to talk to, good times.

tk - If everybody's special, that really means no one is, right? Maybe we should go the other way and regulate 'starchitect', too. You can't call yourself one unless you've had lunch with Ourossoff first.

Dec 31, 07 12:37 pm  · 
liberty bell

I'm in complete agreement with jafidler. Call yourself an architect socially, because no one wants to hear the whole technical issue at a party. If after meeting you they ask you to do some work for them, then you can (and actually have to) go into the whole explanation of terminology.

I'm also in agreement with treekiller. We don't hear "Information Starchitect" anywhere yet, and I rather like the idea of calling myself a star in 2008.

liberty bell, starchitect. I must order new business cards today.

Dec 31, 07 12:43 pm  · 
some person

That would be so...starchitectonic

Is it too late to submit for the 2007 Word of the Year?

Dec 31, 07 12:46 pm  · 
liberty bell

DCA, starchitect. I like it.

Of course, you also know (and revealed) the secrets of previewing on page 2, so you really needs a stronger handle - maybe DCA, Starchterrificitect.

Dec 31, 07 12:57 pm  · 

I'll go with "unlicensed architect" but at the risk of increased complexity, I think we should also have a term for those on the path to licensure. looking to the field of engineering, Architect-in-Training (or AIT) would seem to make sense.

Dec 31, 07 12:59 pm  · 

I prefer 'architectural designer' when pressed for legal names. Simple, legal, and doesn't diminish your credibility like 'UNLICENSED' does.


Dec 31, 07 1:16 pm  · 
some person

you're too kind, liberty bell.

I'm with manamana - 'AIT' would be appropriate and understood in the AEC industry.

Dec 31, 07 1:22 pm  · 

As I understand it you may only call yourself an "architect" in the state you are licensed in.

If you have a license, say from North Carolina, and the move to California you may not call yourself an architect there. You need to register in California first. (I wonder if that makes you an "intern" again.)

Spinning on this insanity, what do you do when you are traveling? "I am an NC architect, you can call me an intern in California though."

I rarely see people referring to themselves as architects (Bob Jones, Architect). Many seem to prefer the AIA title (Bob Jones, AIA). Most people I know would never know that AIA has anything to do with architecture. It would be almost as complicated to explain as the intern/architecture thing. (You can be a licensed architect but not AIA, but AIA ... and ... architecture ...).

Must be too many architects with to little to do pouring over producing regulation.
From the California Architects Practice Act, "An architect who associates with a person who is not a California licensed architect... " Better watch out whom you associate with.

Have any of you seen those AIA TV commercials?

Jan 2, 08 11:29 am  · 

i agree that the whole terminology ambiguity should be solved by the powers to be...but until then:

within arch. circles, i am a "designer"
at work, i am a "project designer"
within a social circle, i am an "architect", sometimes with the "but i am not licensed yet"

Jan 2, 08 11:46 am  · 

I think "unlicensed architects" would have an unfair advantage in that the Licensed ones would have much higher liability than unlicensed, so it would degrade the value of architects as a whole. Remember - design as asthetic has no weight in professional licensure acts

Jan 2, 08 12:03 pm  · 

Here's a good trick question: What architect designed the Hearst Tower?

Jan 2, 08 10:22 pm  · 
miss chief

I mentioned this elsewhere to sevensixfive -- before I started studying architecture (I am doing a PhD and do not have a M.Arch), I spent 12 years working in digital and web strategy. I've held the job title "information architect" and "customer experience architect," later shortened to "experience architect." More appalling: I've written for a magazine called "New Architect" that supported these fields.

Obviously, these jobs have nothing whatsoever to do with what architects do. They're not even design-oriented -- they're about organizing information. Then, there was the big debate in the field about "big information architecture" (strategy) and "little information architecture" (making site maps and wireframes for websites). People took this discussion very, very seriously. The weird thing about it is, it seems people in that field needed to differentiate themselves from designers, which is the sexier job anyway.

The licensing issue plays out in interesting ways for the starchitects of yore, leading to partnerships for signing authority or for navigating the intricacies of local code. When Phyllis Lambert recommended Mies for the Seagram's Building, he didn't have a license, nor the required high school education, and he also refused to take the exam. An exception was made and he got the New York license, but worked closely with Philip Johnson for dealing with code. Later, Johnson himself fought to get a license for Florida -- the state restricted licensure for out-of-state architects. (I wish I could find the citations -- this would've been in the mid-70s -- but my notes aren't on this computer). And Cedric Price would've partnered with William Cannady (on the Rice faculty) on his proposed Generator project for licensure purposes, had it been built.

Jan 3, 08 11:16 am  · 

i think we should be able to say we're architects if we have finished a professional degree. if we're licensed, then licensed architect gives you an additional official tone. take into account i'm a registered architect in my country but not in the us... so technically if any of you come here, would you be architects or not?

was mies licensed in berlin? because he had done plenty of building there before coming to the us [i have no idea, maybe a license was not required in berlin]. it's fine that a registered local architect should be needed in these cases, to comply with local code [although hilarious to think about philip johnson as someone to help with code, history is funny that way], but i'm sure we all agree that mies was an architect in berlin and also in the states, before getting a new york license.

as for other professions using the name- i can't help completely disagreeing, although there's nothing i can do about it.

Jan 3, 08 12:03 pm  · 
won and done williams

i like the idea of pj being the code guy in the office.

"how many lavs we need, pj?"

Jan 3, 08 12:07 pm  · 

actually [thanks, wikipedia] mies didn't have a formal architecture education, although he did apprentice with peter behrens. neither did several other famous architects. are they not architects then?

should someone that knows their state code inside and out be able to call themselves an architect in that state while say renzo piano should be called an intern if he visits? of course not. piano is an architect. if you're registered, you're a registered architect. well, at least to me i guess.

Jan 3, 08 12:10 pm  · 
vado retro

hi aml :)

Jan 3, 08 12:11 pm  · 
liberty bell

miss chief, I had not heard of New Architect. I have to admit your post also made me somewhat appalled - these information organizers are fighting over the proper application of the word architect, when in fact it really isn't in their right to use it?

I guess it points to the reality: the built world is becoming less and less meaningful, less important in living a fulfilling life.

I'm such a sensualist that I can't imagine *not* always demanding to live in a fully physical, haptically rich surrounding, but to most of the world and even some architects the physical world is simply less engaging than the world of the mind, and our society is becoming more and more ready to separate those worlds. Seriously, who among us hasn't fearfully pondered becoming full-body paralyzed and thinking that as long as we had access to the Internet we'd be OK? Remember the video guy in Slacker (no, not Slackers, young one, Slacker: the Richard Linklater film), who said, presciently: "A video image is much more powerful and useful than an actual event."

We are dinosaurs, no? We spend our energies making physical space in which people can joyfully experience actual events. It is so frustrating to feel like what is so important to me actually isn't. Jeepers...I can't wait for The City Is Here For You To Use to be published - maybe Adam Greenfield will make it all better...

Jan 3, 08 12:30 pm  · 

well lb, actually i think designing virtual spaces can also be part of architecture... but virtual spaces, like, second life or myst. not the information technology stuff.

miss chief, you get points for bravery. it sounds like you're sort of used to it by now, though, and furthermore, you've crossed on to the "right" architecture side [evil laughter] muahaha! [/evil laughter].

hi vado!

Jan 3, 08 12:38 pm  · 

I kind of like "Journeyman" or to be politically-correct-yet-awkward-sounding "Journeyperson" - for those between internship and licensure.

Jan 3, 08 12:52 pm  · 

Hi miss chief.

Maybe this is part of the problem: the word has at least three types of meaning: a casual one, a cultural one, and a legal one. Casually an architect is a building designer, culturally, the word is used as a metaphor, signifying anyone who is the final authority on organization and structure (I'm thinking here of the old Freemason abbreviation for God: Grand Architect of the Universe, or GAotU), and legally of course, an architect is the person ultimately responsible for the Health, Safety and Welfare of the building's users. My old Pro-Practice teacher used to say an architect is defined, in the legal sphere as anyone who is engaged in 'doing the things that architects do', which I think is kind of neat.

I always thought one of the origins of the term 'Software Architect' was a desire to differentiate the people who are more concerned with the overall structure of a thing from the people who deal with the more gritty, mathematic aspects of implementation: the 'Software Engineers'. Since buildings have both engineers and architects, so do complex software and information design projects. but yeah, you're right miss chief, the user interface is really where the fun stuff happens here.

I kinda like this passage from the link:

"While the primary application of the word "architecture" pertains to the built environment, by extension, the term has come to denote the art and discipline of creating an actual, or inferring an implied or apparent plan of any complex object or system. The term can be used to connote the implied architecture of abstract things such as music or mathematics, the apparent architecture of natural things, such as geological formations or the structure of biological cells, or explicitly planned architectures of human-made things such as software, computers, enterprises, and databases, in addition to buildings. In every usage, an architecture may be seen as a subjective mapping from a human perspective (that of the user in the case of abstract or physical artifacts) to the elements or components of some kind of structure or system, which preserves the relationships among the elements or components."

Jan 3, 08 1:28 pm  · 

@Lb 'A video image is much more powerful and useful than an actual event.'

back in my days of making sitcoms with live audiences, most of the audience would watch the tv monitors 10' above their head versus watch the actors 20' in front of them. I could never figure out why...

Jan 3, 08 1:43 pm  · 

: I recognize that I tend to be somewhat "old school" ... but, I really don't get all this angst over using the title of "intern" ...

entry level doctors are called "interns" until they earn a full license and are allowed by the state to practice medicine unsupervised - and they don't seem to get all hot-under-the-collar about that ...

entry level lawyers are called "associates" (just like all those folks who work at Wal-Mart) until they have a full license and are allowed by the state to practice law unsupervised - and they don't seem to make an issue of that ...

people trained in accounting cannot call themselves CPA's until they pass the exam for that profession ... and they have to work under the supervision of a CPA for a number of years before they are allowed to take their exam.

the practice of a profession is just that - practice. much of what we know as professionals comes through supervised work on the job. it seems to be a time honored tradition that reflects the way professional skills and a professional body-of-knowledge are learned

I don't happen to look down my nose at people who have yet to complete the ARE ... I don't know many (if any) people who do.

where is this angst coming from, please? I'd really like to know.

Jan 3, 08 1:46 pm  · 
miss chief

Liberty Bell, being in an architecture school and hearing how IA (information architecture) uses the word cracks me up. But I have to admit, I'll still do "information architecture" for cash. It pays better than interning (or in my case, working in the library...). How ridiculous is that?

In the world of web and mobile design I came from, there is a lot of fascination with architecture and urbanism. There are a number of people with (traditional) architectural educations practicing in that field -- maybe that's part of the metaphor. When I went to Ubicomp, one of the conferences on embedded, ubiquitous computing, there were only 5 architects and 2 industrial designers in a throng of 600. Yet so many projects were about cities and buildings -- how to make buildings and cities more responsive, interactive.

As far as terminology goes, the Oxford English Dictionary defines the term in ways that connote "one who builds" -- not in the professional sense.

1a. A master-builder. spec. A skilled professor of the art of building, whose business it is to prepare the plans of edifices, and exercise a general superintendence over the course of their erection [first use: 1563; this definition names naval architects as ship-builders]

1b. loosely, A builder. [first use: 1665-9]

2a. One who designs and frames any complex structure; esp. the Creator; one who arranges elementary materials on a comprehensive plan. [first use: 1659]

3. One who so plans, devises, contrives, or constructs, as to achieve a desired result (especially when the result may be viewed figuratively as an edifice); a builder-up.

So I dunno. Maybe the information architects are sound in their use of the term, even though I think it's silly. It doesn't help the matter at hand -- which is that interns are paid dirt and the title doesn't reflect the complexity of what one does, or the education one has.

Jan 3, 08 1:49 pm  · 
miss chief

765: the user interface is fun stuff, on one hand -- but there's a lot of fun in designing a complex system that works in an elegant manner, regardless of the interface. that's why i appreciate what good technical architects (software, infrastructure, whatever) do.

Jan 3, 08 1:50 pm  · 

liberty , thanks for the have written , what i have a been feeling lately

Jan 3, 08 2:03 pm  · 
liberty bell

miss chief, I think part of my angst comes from agreeing that what Information Architects do *is* in many ways what (physical) architects do. They are "sound in the use of the term" as you so elegantly put it. and even in my sentimental world view I can see that what info architects do is in most ways far more important to the future than what physical architects do. The fact that you get paid so much more to do it certainly can be said to prove the point!

I'll go to my grave arguing that art - physical art - is critical to our evolution and well-being as a society - but the nihilistic part of me could also argue that we don't seem to be evolving very well, anyway, so why bother with pretty buildings?

f33, I love reading Adam Greenfield because he is completely immersed in informatics - he was titled Chief Information Architect himself, for awhile, I believe - but is at least as passionate as I when it comes to the lusciousness of the material world.

It just frustrates me that while we architects - all of us, everyone here, unlicensed or not - fret so about the use of the title, other fields so easily co-opt it, and all we do is fret some more.

Jan 3, 08 2:14 pm  · 

tekton - carpenter or builder
architekton - the master builder

my anguish comes from a different front. specifically, from the fact that this registration battle is so far centered on the definition in the united states, and excludes the rest of the world. hence my examples on mies and piano.

Jan 3, 08 3:32 pm  · 

This all reminds of some William Mitchell book.

I always crack a smirk at how those that wax opposition to trends like generative systems, scripting, computation etc...want you to realize hoe "unreal" it is...or they promote the practical or historical.

then you take an "Info-Arch- i- Tect" who works solely in the medium of circuitry,..the current chatter about digital controveries intices all of us to 'weigh-in'

,..and I tend to see both dinosaurs and data-heads as looking for common goals, despite their persuasion.

Jan 3, 08 4:42 pm  · 

quiz - my angst stems from the fact that I do not plan to get licensure, but will build (my talents are in design, and, somewhat, on business). I have 2 degrees in architecture from top schools. I see no reason why I can't call myself an architect.

For your comparisons, look at the average time it takes to get licensure in those professions compared with architecture. Also look at the pay increases when you get those licenses. That settles it for me.

Jan 3, 08 5:26 pm  · 

im a motherfuckin' spatial specialist

Jan 3, 08 5:34 pm  · 

ff33, your smirk misses my point. we're not talking about generative systems, scripting or computation. not talking about real vs. digital architecture. we're talking about [let's call it] space- related architecture versus this. ...information architecture.

that said, i think common goals are a given - i didn't mean to imply they weren't. i do find it fascinating that people in the web business and the mobile world are fascinated with architecture and urbanism. i just think i should not have to add, "you know, 'building' architecture, not the other kinds" to that sentence. i think the areas of overlap are filled with potential- and it's not a unique or radical position either... i would guess we all more or less agree on that.

and i find it insulting that inside the united states, it is technically illegal to call, say, zaha hadid or renzo piano, architects, only because they are not registered in the us. in other words, architects in the united states are only architects licensed within the united states. this is very provincial and close minded. that is one of the reasons i believe you can call yourselves [i've decided] licensed architects, when you are licensed, or registered architects, or whatever. i have a 6 year professional degree, and i'll call myself an architect, thanks.

Jan 3, 08 5:51 pm  · 
liberty bell

trace, aml: the question isn't whether you or we feel you can call yourself an architect. The question is: if you choose to practice within a legal entity that regulates the use of the word "architect", can you call yourself one if you have not met that entity's requirements to do so?

Similarly, someone who is a dcotor in another country can still come to the US and call themselves a doctor, socially, even to some extent professionally - in terms of writing articles and research. But that person cannot *practice* as a doctor, that is, see patients in a legally sanctified arrangement i.e. getting liability insurance, being covered by laws protecting their practice, etc, unless they meet the requirements of the country (state, whatever) to do so.

This isn't to say that I think Zaha should not be allowed to call herself an architect in the US, in social terms: "May I introduce the architect of the CAC" or in written articles, by reputation, etc. I think that kind of restriction is just silly. But if she enters into a legal arrangement to provide architectural services to someone in the US they are *both* bound by the laws of their place, which in most of the US requires a license to practice architecture, which means being licensed. Or working as a design consultant with an architect of record, which is more probably how such arrangements are made.

Jan 3, 08 6:19 pm  · 
Ms Beary

we did it to ourselves. no one forced it on us.

I love how other "professions" pump up titles to make themselves sound more important (not talking about software architects here, but you probably know what I mean.) Senior Management Consultant for someone who enters data in a spreadsheet type of thing, and Head of Verbal Communications for the receptionist or the numerous VP's that seem to be everywhere.

quizzical, associate is a title I will have to earn, and I have a ways to go yet. The folks at wal-mart have me beat in title.

Jan 3, 08 6:31 pm  · 

i'm completely fine with that- only the ability of not being 'considered' an architect is annoying. the legal binding part is completely understandable.

it's just the shock of studying for 6 years in south america, working for 2, then doing a post prof masters in the states, and then being told, you know what? you are not an architect. i am fine with not being a registered architect in the states... it's just the 'taking away of the name' that bothers me.

Jan 3, 08 6:32 pm  · 

my travel agent cousin in germany kept booking me air tickets as a dr. with great seats until the time steward came to me in one flight and asked me if i could help a passenger with some breathing problems. i had to say, quickly, i was not a dr. of medicine but a dr. of air travel technology in, get this, 'Cousins University' in united states. she didn't get it but said "oh i am sorry." and moved on to the next dr. a real one. i was a little emberassed but plane landed soon enough.

when i got my license after many years, i got a little territorial for few months due to beginners pride, but i am back to my normal self of calling anybody who wants to be called architect, architect without any further question.

but i really recommend you to get your license. it definitely well worth it to get. i also noticed more and more people are asking than before whether or not i am licensed. i guess people are getting more informed about the building trade liabilities.
it would be comical to not call mr. piano architect. or zaha, for that matter.

Jan 3, 08 7:01 pm  · 

oa, i would definitely get my license [if only to 'reclaim' the name] but there are obstacles there that are not relevant to this thread. i appreciate the advice though.

Jan 3, 08 7:19 pm  · 
vado retro

flight attendant: excuse me doctor, we have a passenger who is having trouble with their floorplan.

architect: stand back give him some room. i'll have his circulation problems fixed before the pilot can land this bird.

other passengers (in unison) hooray for architects!

Jan 3, 08 7:42 pm  · 

@quizzical - no disrespect to the old school implied at all, I love reading the various old school weigh-ins, always makes me see things in a different way.

I'm 30, I've got two degrees in this field and a lot of diverse experience over almost four years of working (2 after undergrad, and almost two after grad) if I went and opened up an NCARB file right now, I'd probably close it again right away after a few phone calls, with all my credits logged (planning on doing LEED, first, though). I love my job, I get to do all kinds of stuff and work with some great people in an awesome city. I'm the most angst-free bastard you know.

It's not about angst, it's about the confusion and silliness, and the semi-shadiness that goes along with it. I recently went through a protracted job search that opened my eyes to a lot of this stuff, this profession is fracturing, and I think that the terminology issues are really the wedges in the cracks here. You've got your Interns, your Starchitects, and your 'Real Architects' (RA), and the overlaps are few and getting fewer.

@aml - thanks for foregrounding the international issues, I hadn't thought of that angle.

@lb and miss chief - re: Information Architects, I agree there's definitely some legitimacy to the title, especially when you have writers like Greenfield, Matt Webb, Anne Galloway, and tons of others thinking about this stuff in really abstract spatial/social ways. It really does seem like this will be the important field of the 21st century.

I like how this group is kind of sneaking up on architecture, picking up our underused metaphors and tools while we're busy distracted by big shiny instant icons with holes (sorry, vado). But so far, I've yet to see Information Architecture, in theory or in practice, transcend its debt that it owes to our profession, and to the profession of urbanism. To be blunt, I haven't seen anybody yet come up with an idea in Information Architecture that hadn't already been beat to death by some architect or theorist from the '60s. If anything, Informatics is bigger than Architecture, potentially, but it ain't gonna get there until they stop wishing they were architects (and/or urbanists). Hey, isn't there SXSW panel about this ? :D

@ mdler - I can't decide which is better: 'spatial specialist' or 'special spatialist'?

Jan 3, 08 7:47 pm  · 
liberty bell

vado, you are a comic genius (and an architect).

aml, if you ever came to Indy, I would introduce you as "aml, my friend, she's an architect". Likewise if you were giving a lecture somewhere, even - especially - at an architecture school, you should be introduced as "aml, architect". Likewise for Zaha, Zumthor, etc.

765, I tend to agree that the terminology is the "wedges in the cracks" of the bigger issue, which is our inability to make our profession appear/be relevent, even important, to society at large. How can we get all huffy and make information architects "stop" using our name without looking even less relevant and more pitiful than we already are? What we need to do is impress the world with amaziing, society-improving work, then let the market tell the info guys that what they do isn't really up to the level of our title.

Jan 3, 08 8:40 pm  · 

problem is, they are making a ton more cash. In almost everyone's eyes, someone making more money is worth more attention.

I honestly think people lose a decent amount of respect for architects once they learn that they don't make much money.

We get our pay higher and it'll clear everything up - more talent retention (not many go into web, graphics and 3D because they like it more, I certainly didn't, although I love anything design), more sway with any issue and more respect, from the "intern" up.

Money isn't everything, but it does make the world go round.

Jan 4, 08 7:50 am  · 

thanks lb!

Jan 4, 08 9:07 am  · 

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