I’m writing in response to this Article by ArchDaily. I think throughout these 2 years and the recent internship experience have made me think what is the impression of Architects really is in the industry today. Especially in Malaysia, I think most people generalize Architect as Rich and Famous but I think sometimes I think they generalize it with the same category of Developer. So yes as much as how highly an Architect is, we are still defined by our boundaries, in some situations.
1. Architects are not leaders
Yes we are not leaders but we follow, we service because of this profession as much as we are the leader in design but the very fact is the whole implementation process we are never the majority of it but our client. Money speaks because the client wants us only because of our license that shows our value, and we wait for instructions, we present ideas but most of the time got changed based on client’s economy mindset rather than our design approach that resembles much.
2. Architects are not relevant
Agreed, it’s not relevant, very obvious today as you have new courses coming in like Interior Architecture and Urban Designers to fit the description of Architecture into a wider scope for Architects to diverse and survive by segregating the competition. I mean ask anyone on what an Architect does and how much do they really understand besides knowing we design buildings. And the very fact of today is that most buildings do not need Architect to design but anyone with CAD skills can just duplicate another plan! Who cares about Aesthetic as much as last time does?
3. We don’t need any more buildings
So yeah that’s the issue of it. Or to say, Buildings can be duplicated by themselves. We see Architects mightily last time when we are at the time of developing the country and really needed all these workforce. The ratio of Architects and passing rate today shows it. Malaysia is one of the lowest. Why this is happening because again Aesthetic and Expertise is looked aside, Developers can design with their contractors and all they need is to bribe an Architect to sign it.
Ratio architect to population : 1 to 1,860
2 HONG KONG.
Ratio architect to population : 1 to 3,230
Ratio architect to population : 1 to 2,330
4 NEW ZEALAND.
Ratio architect to population : 1 to 2,490
Ratio architect to population : 1 to 16,650
4. Architects are not in charge.
Architects are just a small part of the team required to realize a complex building. This is very obvious when in my internship I realize how Architect has often put aside because we know everything but just part of it, and at times architects in the developer team just take hold of everything with the others in the team. Each with their own set of expertise to bring to the table; and, each with their own agenda. Architects hold onto the belief that we are the “master builder” in this relationship. We organize the team and lead to effort and set the tone for the project. We’re in charge, right? Sure we are. But, take a minute and look at the fees on a job. The Architectural fee is less than the water and sewer tap fees on most projects. If the client has to pay more money to the city to connect the building to the infrastructure than they’re paying the Architect, how can the Architect REALLY expect to be in charge?
5. Architects Value Design
Architects value design above everything else. And sometimes this is too idealistic, not to our eyes but to those who sits through the project with you and learning your intention. The world is real today, money, don’t talk about design, we want fast money fast return. The idea of Architect and our approach is always good in humanity and environmental, but the other way around on the other side. We are creative and talented to predict but not able to persuade others.
6. Architecture is not a business
We create beauty and purity. But, we have no idea how to run a company. We do not analyze the market to find out what’s popular; what will “sell”; what’s most marketable; what the community wants; what gets people excited; what touches a nerve; what we can do to help; how can we serve a need. Is it any wonder our profession is floundering? We might need a new business model.
7. Architects want to be different
We are obsessed with the newest, most creative, most innovative and far-flung version of awesomeness the latest firm du jour is building somewhere overseas. We stare at the magazines and refresh the browser on ArchDaily.com until something catches our eye and our jaws drop. But, what we consider to be a “wow” moment tends to confuse most people. Architects have begun to compete for a primary position in irrelevance.
8. Architects are behind
That’s always true that’s why I’ve been doing what I am trying to do all these whiles. We are behind in terms of technology or anything, most of the time being to busy to dream and draw. Or I think there are just too many things for us to update with.
9. Architects haven’t told our story
Architects are almost universally admired. But, this admiration has almost nothing to do with our efforts. We have allowed our profession to be defined by others. Sure, we have a good reputation, but is it accurate? And, more importantly, is it personal. Spend 5 minutes looking at Architectural websites, can you really tell them apart? Every firm is “design oriented” every firm is “creative”. Every firm is “innovative”. We all have “expertise” in every building type. In other words, we all have a lot of experience making buildings with rooms in them. How can our clients decide who to choose for a project if we all blend together in a mass of black sweaters and angst? Is there a difference between us? Are we individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses and passions? How long can we coast on our popular image? Architects better start telling our own story soon, or we’ll become a commodity, instead of creative and inspirational individuals.
10. Architects don’t believe we can fix it
A relation of lack of relevance and realistic thoughts often draw us to this, we don’t believe we can fix it. The economic crash and anything else that sometimes appears to be outside of our radius of understanding made us pessimist of able to draw a line across the problem. This is real. A lot of us as Architects really need to know everything and pulling the knowledge back into relations with Architecture. That’s a fact why most of us can’t succeed because we are lacking reality view and how to make other people understand us.