10 reasons Architects can fix it



1. Architects broke it

It’s probably our fault to begin with. I don’t really know the exact numbers, but buildings use more fossil fuels than cars, construction debris makes up the highest percentage of our landfills, building roofs and parking lots account for the majority of storm water run-out issues, and Market driven greed for greater and greater return on investment fueled a decade of speculative office and housing developments at a scale never seen before. And, now entire communities sit vacant and waiting for a recovery that may never happen. Can Architects be trusted to come up with solutions for problems we played a major role in causing in the first place?

2. Architects solve

Architects are some of the only professionals that are educated and trained to find, explore, consider, analysis, and obsess over solutions for complex problems. These are skills that can be applied to create opportunities for community enrichment, or simply arrange toilet partitions. The trick is setting your priorities.

3. Architects create

All Architecture begins with a blank sheet of paper. We begin with nothing but a need, or a desire. And, Architects are able (or willing) to draw the first line on that blank page. That is a powerful position to be in.

4. Architects are current

Architects are obsessed with “now”. We are always looking for the next thing.  We are drawn to innovations and new solutions. We are restless; always seeking a better solution; a stronger image; and a more elegant representation of our collective aspirations. Architects reinvent ourselves with each and every project.

5. Architects are right

Architects have consistently and persistently believed in the right things.  We were designing buildings that were environmentally sensitive years before “green” design became a fashionable buzz-word. Architects believe in efficiency; water conservation, recycling, using our resources wisely. We believe in urbanity. We believe in communities. We believe in cities.

6. Architects hope

Architecture embodies the collective passion of mankind. Architecture asks us to be better than we are. What other profession can make that claim?

7. Architecture is in our DNA

The built environment creates the parameters of our life. We are born, live our lives, and die within the walls of Architecture. From hospitals, to daycares, to schools, to offices, to homes, to parks, to restaurants, to funeral homes, to cemeteries. Architecture stands beside us (consistently and patiently) as we define our very existence in the world.

8. Architects collaborate

Architects no longer “design” we “negotiate”. The art of creating buildings lies in the choreography of complex systems and diverse interests and forces. The Architect can act as leader, facilitator, counselor, our collective conscience, a touch-stone, inspiration, and lynch-pin. Architects are fuel for creation.

9. Architects are indestructible

In 2009, 40% of all Architects were laid-off. We are ALL still here. ALL of us started our own company. Architects continue to work because we see a continued need for our service and skills and efforts and talents and passion. Architects will continue to work for the needs of our community, with or without bank financing.

10. Architects are storytellers

No one is excited about the program of a building. No one cares about the materiality of the forms. No one thinks about the building systems. No one really loses sleep over the cost of a building. No one remembers the difficulty we traversed during the process of design. Everyone forgot the 2 week delay, No one is interested in the references we made, and no one remembers the speech you made about balance and harmony at the city council meeting. But, everyone remembers the folding chair they sat in to watch their son or daughter graduate kindergarten and middle school and high school and college. Everyone remembers their first job interview; their wedding day; or the 10 days in ICU after the birth of their 3rd son; or the first time they noticed their Grandmother’s fading memory; or looking into your future wife’s eyes at 2am and slowly brushing her hair out of her eyes and seeing a path that leads to the rest of your life. Architecture is not a form; Architecture houses a life.

Architects can tell that story.


Ok, now go align something { Coffee with an Architect }




photos are from Tathi Sobroza’s photostream on Flickr (used under the creative commons license)


If you’re feeling angsty, check out “10 Reasons Architects probably won’t fix it