Re: Re: Do Architects have any power?
I think architects could have an enormous amount of influence, whatever about power. Which brings me to one of my bugbears, for which I may be pilloried, but hey…
It is truly astonishing how little architects appear to actively engage with the built environment around them on the basis of personal interest alone. For a profession that demands an over-arching, all-consuming passion for its subject, above that of many other disciplines, it is remarkable how few architects seem to: a) be interested in the world around them, and b) seek to pro-actively use their insight, skills and practical resources to influence change.
One of course appreciates that like everyone else, architects have a day job, and lives to which they wish to retire come evenings and weekends. But just how few seem to engage in extracurricular design activity, whether it be voluntary, self-promoting, wishful thinking, lobbying, provoking, or simply thinking aloud, with the tools, skills and ideas at their disposal that one would imagine to generate immense satisfaction, is really quite surprising.
As such, questions one might ask are:
How many architects do you know have drafted simple design proposals for a problem or derelict site near where they live, and submitted it to the local planning authority as a possible way forward should an application come in, a CPO be enacted, or the authority force works to be carried out?
How many architects have sketched a quick redesign of an horrendous planning application as part of a submission on the case as to how it should be dealt with?
How many architects guide their local parish in the right direction over church, community centre or public realm proposals?
How many architects give an input on Tidy Towns committees?
How many architects speak out of poor work on the part of their colleagues, or national trends in planning and design issues?
When was the last time the RIAI ever took action on one of their members being involved in scandalously poor design and planning â€“ of which there must be many hundreds over the course of the boom years? How can decent members accept this?
So few architects appear to engage with their profession in any of these, or other, ways. I suppose this was brought home to me by seeing the work of two or three architects who work their socks off in their spare time putting their skills to productive, valuable use for the benefit of society. It is baffling that so few architects appear be animated by everyday planning and design, or legacy problem sites and buildings they pass every day, or feel sufficiently engaged to want to take these on as personal exercises, in whatever small way that may be. Perhaps they do and we donâ€™t hear of them, but that seems somewhat unlikely.
I think now more than ever, architects have to demonstrate their value to society by whatever means they can. Maybe I am wrong, and many are more engaged than what they let on, in which case, in these horrendously challenging times – and with more time on their hands – they need to show us what theyâ€™ve got.
I don’t have time to reply in full to this right now but I will say that it is safely the most irritating post I have read in a long long time