I mean, after all the drawing is done, all the papers are signed and all of the part-threes are got?
The argument of architects not being able to deal with all the issues now, in my view has distracted people from an important fact. Architects are experts in what they do rightly enough. Dealing with an extremely confused, messy, tangled birdâ€™s nest of problems each and everyday of their lifes.
But sometimes, like going to a church or a mosque to pray, a part of us wants to leave all that outside for a while. A part of us needs to remember once every so often, something which is intangible, but nonetheless real and also very straightforward.
Getting back to first principles of Architecture.
The Trinity spatial analysis projects done in colleges are a classic example. You rarely hear terms like motion, dynamism, walking, time â€“ those words are lost to the architects vocabulary and have been adopted by urbanists.
It is because urbanists use this terms, that architects arenâ€™t allowed to use them? In some odd kind of turf-war over vocabulary.
When in college I was told to make â€˜a sequenceâ€™ of pencil drawings. Notice the feebleness of the terms used. In ten years experience of attending architectural college, there was never any mention of what the â€˜sequenceâ€™ of pencil drawings were meant to capture â€“ the notion of the human body experiencing motion through time and space, through the behaviour of walking.
What is this obsession with â€˜drawingâ€™ all about â€“ what are we drawing? What is the real subject matter, that the act of drawing by the architect has to deal with? I am very familiar, with many discussions, about how wonderful an experience drawing is... and all of that lark.
No we are not landscape artists â€“ what we are drawing cannot be communicated on paper and pencil â€“ it is fluid, dynamic and perceptual â€“ not anecdotal, not representational - but it is the movment of the body through both space and time.
To understand the impossibility of conveying this experience on paper is central to what an architect does. He/she must accept, and embrace the futility of 'act' of drawing, in order to draw anything.
To describe a place like UCD College campus, requires one to accept the physical negotiation of an environment designed around pedestrians. With this architectural college emphasis upon the act of drawing, rather than the act of walking â€“ we have perhaps understand the sandwich, but neglected to put in the meat.
Architects should ask the question, why do the urbanists talk about pedestrians, cyclists and movement of people nowadays. Yet we talk about building construction, building contractors, building sites and building information models (BIM)?
The supposition that the architectural workforce has become specialised or fragmented into urbanists and architects â€“ is that okay? If losing a keystone of what architecture should be all about, if losing a part of the vocabulary and the impoverishment of the language of architecture is better?
In a housing project for instance, an architect should have a basic understanding of notions about density of people living. The full spectrum of things referred to as density, includes urban sprawl, new urbanism, smart growth and so on.
http://www.greenbelt.org for instance being a good source of material for such as discussion - you will not hear about it, or even be encouraged to investigate things like that in colleges.
This issues need to be discussed openly in public by professors and students. Urbanism needs to be included in the debate, as opposed to being excluded. Otherwise we are fumbling around in the darkness.
That subject in architectural school called â€˜Urbanismâ€™ could become a very useful subject, if it was revitalised, freshened-up and focussed properly. To allow young undergraduates to consider the tenets of new urbanism, smarth growth and a thousand other â€˜urbanistâ€™ references.
But it isnâ€™t â€“ it is just a big long boring tripe about surveys of populations. Its intended purposefully to give an impression that urbanism is just too long winded, too boring and irrelevant.
Urbanists are presented as complete losers in the great game of life. To reduce urbanism to this level of boredom is just tragic really.
Especially considering so much easily to digest knowledge wealth exists all over the place, even in sites like Archiseek, Cyburbia or Planetizen â€“ which give a proper exciting view of urbanism.
All you really have to do with young people is present it in the correct fashion â€“ their brains generally do the remainder. Archiseek fills a gap in the training of young architects i believe.
The argument that young architects cannot grasp the language of urbanism and pedestrians, as well as the language of architects and building construction, doesnâ€™t wash.
Bear in mind, that most of these young people have undergone a tough syllabus in secondary school â€“ one that is in fact so wide, that nothing in architecture could possibly be any wider. So this idea of narrowing in the focus of the syllabus in third level architectural schools simply doesnâ€™t make any sense.
Short of saying that the profession of architecture is engaged in an all-out turf war with its neighbours â€“ the planners, the conservationists and the environmentalists. A war that it is not gaining either side a thing.
An worse, simply protecting young graduate architects from anything to do with urbanism, new urbanism, smart growth. Making things completely unavailable, off limits to younger undergraduate architects, and even graduates for the better part of their young lives?
I give up, if this profession wants their youth to grow up all stunted, full of prejudice and hatred for neighbouring professionals, despite being perfectly â€˜courteousâ€™ amongst themselves, in some kind of â€˜golden isolationâ€™ then I give up. A bit like Hitler's retreat back into Germany in the 1940s. Using the Hitler youth to man the battle stations.
All i am trying to say really, is that Archiseek is concerned alot with issues to do with the immediate environment, it can help anyone alot to learn more, become alot more aware of what is going on all around you now.
This act of exploration, through a combination of reading message boards about the city of Dublin, and actively exploring the city on foot, bicycle or car, fills a real need, that the mere sacred act of the architect using his/her pencil on a piece of paper doesn't fill.
Planning and urbanism 'types' tend not to have this problem nearly as much - since their whole day revolves around speaking/discussing/gather experience with issues pertaining to real life, in real-life situations out in the real world. What does the average young graduate architect have to look forward to for the next 10 years?
I pile of information/papers on his/her desk which never gets cleared - and the only possible release from this, is a boozy couple of hours spent each Friday evening getting plastered down at the local. Or a trip over to see Mum and Dad, squeezed in between shopping and the cinema or some such other activity.
Forums like this one, tend to remind us all as architectural professionals, how we are concerned with a real environment and real people. Which are just a little bit more than lines on a page.
If you really want to know something about the mess of information that architects gotten themselves into, by placing themselves right at the vortex of all this s****, read a few paragraphs here.
My advice to younger architects, is do not waste any more time, becoming information managers for architects, since you will probably get as much show of thanks for it, as i got from trying to untangle the mess, in writing up alot of that thread.
If indeed, as Doozer has pointed out, that the work force has become divided and specialised moreso. Why hasnâ€™t the architectural institute any recognition for architects who have invested so much time in the information technology side of things. Why has this training and learning in IT, to be done â€˜after-hoursâ€™. When young architects, could in fact be reading more Archiseek threads, and becoming familiar with the broader environment.
If the profession really wanted to remain faithful to its younger people, why doesnâ€™t it allow someone who has spent 3 years in architecture â€“ to branch into the IT side of dealing with information etc. Instead of merely saying â€“ â€œOh the technicians deal with the IT side of it, but architects donâ€™t?â€ Why are Architects familiar with IT, deemed unsavoury, unemployable losers â€“ a liability as opposed to an asset? These are questions the profession still has not recognised fully, never mind dealt with.
If you are into Planning, I have heard similar arguments from planners on the brink of learning GIS software, like ARCView and so on.
Just another one of my crazy, misguided suggestions. . .