THE PRESIDENTS CORNER

June 11, 2012

THE VALUE OF THE ARCHITECT – DESIGN MATTERS – or does it?

What is it when we talk about design; I mean what the hell does it mean when we say Design Matters? This is a broad term; it can mean anything from the design of a textile pattern to the Piazza San Marco. Design is in everything we see, use, taste, feel and smell. When architects talk about design I believe they relate to not only the aesthetic qualities of a structure or space but additionally, if not more importantly, the quality of the function of the use it serves. There is absolute beauty in a clean construction detail that works. This may be becoming a lost art if we don’t stop cutting and pasting details. I remember someone saying, “God is in the Detail” I do believe that to be true! And why is it that computer software writers consider themselves architects, are they kidding me? How has the term architect become such a widely used adjective for most anything related to an invention or inventor? Was Edison the architect for the light bulb? No way!

Are we all functioning on the realm of the “less is more” or “less is a bore” influences in design? Is it more important to “make no little plans? Do we think on a grand scale or have we succumbed to the restrains of building codes and ridiculous zoning ordinances? In my opinion architects should be writing the codes and be the professionals defining land use for zoning. We must be more involved with authoring these standards as we are the creators of the built environment. At the very least we should attend and participate in the ICC hearings on code development. In 2013 they will be held in Atlantic City, look up the scheduling and the details and make a point to attend and contribute. Why do architects leave these things to engineers? So they can tell us what height a riser should be. We are architects, we design buildings where people live, work, play and pray and we should be writing the code based on a legacy of architectural design throughout the millennia.

Are you a good architect if you are considered a good designer? Not if all your buildings fall down. Do you design for the sake of whimsical shapes and make them out of stainless steel? This made someone very rich and famous. Are my opinions of aesthetic qualities better than yours? I don’t think so, but this is what makes the world go around.

My design opinions are that of an architect, trained, educated as an architect, experienced for years in the workforce under the guidance of an architect to finally be eligible to sit and take one of the most grueling professional exams to be licensed as an architect. This is what makes my opinion and your opinion on design valid in society. This is what makes design matter. We didn’t just decide to call ourselves architects we earned the title. Be proud of who you are and know that you earned and deserve the highest respect in the construction industry. We think differently than engineers, contractors and interior designers. Do interior designers have more of a flare for design? I believe interior designers have a vital place in the overall embellishment of architectural designs. From the creation of man, there has been a need for secure shelter and Architectural Design does Matter. This is our profession, let’s keep it strong and let’s keep it ours.

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