You probably don’t want to hear this, but it is time we stopped talking about architecture. We need to get out of the gilded box we built ourselves into. We should be thinking about educating, training and celebrating developers. The challenges of the future are so much more complex and systems-based than the object culture architecture currently embraces. We need a new culture of responsibility and comprehensive engagement with long-term implications that can only come from broadening the base of architecture to include the design of the business models that generate most of the qualities we live with in our cities. So long as architects self-marginalise by purposely excluding the business of development and its real burden of complexity and decision making from their education, from their business, architecture will remain a gentleman’s weekend culture, unwilling or unable to take on the heavy lifting and big problems, happy to polish fancy baubles for our urban entertainment.
The business model for architecture is singularly unsuccessful. One in a thousand architects can afford to enjoy the pleasures that they are capable of producing for others. Architects accept enormous risks without the commensurate rewards. It is time, in this new millennium, to get dirty, to take on more of the scope of urban projects, to contribute more to a sustainable future and to participate in more of the wealth architects create. The world would be a better place if more of what we built in our cities was determined by people educated and trained with culture, civic awareness, aesthetic sensitivity and historical knowledge. I look forward to the first school of architectural development!
Originally published in ICON magazine
Issue 404 | 2007