we are the people who have chosen to design the built environment for others and have a duty to understand the issues and deal with them to the best of our knowledge and ability.
That is where you are wrong, we are a profession that has chosen to specialise on behalf of the client, to accept responsibility for the guarantee of timely and economical completion of a building works project. That is foremost. We havenâ€™t chosen to DESIGN
the built environment but we have chosen to HELP BUILD
the built environment. The part about designing is really only something you wrote into the agreement yourself, and doesn't carry that much weight generally speaking. Only that as a result of (A) Competitions and (B) Pretencious Architectural School College professors, believing themselves to be really important in the real world - you have this mis-conception that the Architect is doing anything else other than supervising/overseeing/coordinating a building fabrication proceedure/activity.
I mean, why does the Architect get paid at all. The only place where the Architect might get any brownie points at all for decent design, is where deeply insightful clients notice the work, of a certain Architect Master Builder. And like discovering a new up and coming painter or fashion designer, commission them to do works. The established Architect 'Names' don't have to worry, and quite regularly lend 'weight' to very dodgy developer activities, by putting their professional name on the building sign. That doesn't necessarily MEAN
for a minute, they every 'sweated' it out with the eventual client/user.
Well at least follow that link i gave to Frank, and compare how Mies van der Rohe treated/related to his clients. To how Louis Kahn worked with them. Louis Kahn wouldn't slash a budget/design down to fit into a budget. He made out that was the Architects duty - to hold off, in order to make sure that Architecture was introduced into peoples lives.
Mies built great buildings, but he didn't care what the client/user thought of them. He did expect the client/user to come up to his level of classical excelence, in order to appreciate his designs. And they are wonderful, if you are into oriental Zen space etc. I think Steven Siegal who be in his element in the Farnsworth temple of meditation. But Louis Kahn designed little houses that were 'home' to people.
I guess Van Eyck, Hertzberger etc are like that today. I remember one story of Kahn designing a dorm for girls in a private school in the states. Kahn thought about this design problem and decided that girls on their own together was a bit unnatural. So to combat that sterile situation he put a fireplace at the corner of the main social rooms. Indicating that young women associated a fireplace, with their Dads at home. So you need to define very carefully, in precedent how different architects have tried/refuse to accept the eventual client/user.
But all the traditional building agreement between the client, architect and builder stipulates is that the Architect should be responsible for whatever is BUILT
. While Architecture is very responsible to building/construction - its relationship to client/user has been upheld and sullied by equally talented design minds - van der Rohe or Kahn. I have tried to discuss that notion of UNBUILT
projects as a way to alleviate the often severed 'relationship' between the Architect/client/user, in modern day practice.
Think about it.
Brian O' Hanlon.
We are a profession that has chosen to specialise on behalf of the client, to accept responsibility for the guarantee of timely and economical completion of a building works project. That is foremost. Architect specialises in one specific task â€“ (s)he is not a generalist in this sense. The Architect as generalist is just some urban legend that professors in colleges invented for their own purposes. With little better to do than think up really interesting thoughts of how Architecture can be more than it is.
Think of a DELL computer, it is a mish-mash of many different products, brand names, devices, components â€“ all gathered together under one warrantee or agreement/contract between buyer/DELL corp, instead of dozens, if you were to â€˜makeâ€™ that system by yourself. A client/Architect agreement is something similar. The fact that some Architects managed to take the client/architect relationship to a new level, is simply beyond the whole point to begin with.
Louis Kahn I think was the original â€˜bastardâ€™ professor in Philadelphia Architectural School. He even had a â€˜bash-upâ€™ with Rudolph and pissed off to Yale instead. Apparently Rudolph without consulting Kahn, enacted a design brief in the Studio to design a â€˜Roadside Frozen Custard Standâ€™. And Kahn later went crazy over this, preferring his students to do stuff like â€˜Re-design Chandigarhâ€™ better than how Le Corbusier would have done it.
Kahn was perhaps your normal everyday dangerous Architectural college professor. But Kahnâ€™s legacy to the profession around the world, was to bring it out of a period of â€˜Miesian Grids and Master Buildersâ€™, into an era that was at least somewhat sympathetic to clients/users needs and dignity as human beings. For that, I am prepared to â€˜put up withâ€™ an awful lot of waffling and material from professors in college, or Architects in the AAI, who are dealing with issues that are important.
Someone like Merrit Bucholtz today is a masterly builder of buildings. And I suppose to be fair, Mies van der Rohe did turn the Architectural professions attention back to its origins â€“ to when Architects were out on the Parthenon supervising and cutting blocks of stone, or the great Gothic nameless Architects of Northern Europe in the Middle Ages. So I guess, you cannot really be too judgemental of either camp.