People Innovation Excellence

Architects and Usefulness


Today’s post is part New Year’s resolution, part criticism, and part call to action. With a fresh, new year rolled out before us, it’s a good time to review the direction of design and discuss some opportunities to adjust the rudder of the architectural profession.

We noticed some undesirable patterns in the architectural world last year and it seems appropriate to have a conversation about the profession as a whole. To be blunt, architects, in their theoretical and esoteric pursuits, are at risk of becoming useless to society. We see this most clearly in the documents produced. Useful drawings that can actually be built from seem to be disappearing, with a growing reliance on secondary drawings, shop drawings, consultant drawings, and drawing services by the builder. In a nutshell, architects appear less capable at producing technical drawings that get a project done. The reasons behind this deficiency all too often involve a shortage of technical understanding, lack of accountability, and the avoidance of liability. The starchitect complex may also be at work, where artistic, film-inspiring (yet technically useless) sketches hold greater value than practical, legible architectural drawings.

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