Cultivating the field for design
Genius, Flash of Inspiration, Masterstroke - these are rarely the routes to great architecture, but are persistent notions. They harken to an imagined narrative, Starchitects of the past and present, and embody for us what it means to be creative. Yet they do nothing to nurture creativity or harness its potential.
How it is
The term 'Architect' has been co-opted to describe everyone from a software designer to an evil mastermind. Common complaints among Architects are that people do not understand what we do, people do not value what we do, and we are unable to do our best work because of the realities of practice.
How it was
Master builder, trusted advisor, licensed design professional, paid consultant - gradually the regard for Architects and the Architect’s work has eroded. Yet study the history of the world and we may understand the built environment as a record of the development of civilization, the most direct translation of our values into physical form.
From ancient times to modern day, we designate special places with important sites and build them from sturdy materials. We preserve places of historical significance or cultural meaning for our posterity and ourselves. We attempt to capture the spirit of our times and our hopes for the future. There is tremendous legacy and meaning in Architecture.
How it could be
The culture around design can be positive, engaging and meaningful; inclusive rather than exclusive. We need a professional community in which we readily exchange knowledge, and instinctively collaborate; where we mentor, challenge, and encourage each other to be better practitioners. We need to seek out more opportunities to share our experiences, creative process and thinking so that we may make what we do more transparent to more people. We need to apply ourselves to traditional and non-traditional 'projects' alike so that, instead of a shrinking definition of Architecture and the Architect's work, we would have increasing relevance and demand.