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Thoughts on Architecture and suggestions to Owners and young Architects.
Think of a profession where someone comes to you with an idea and some money, you take both and create a set of instructions that is passed on to a group of people who may have never worked with each other or you; and from this collective effort a building is born. If the architect's job is done well, everyone is amiable the end of the project.
Many people place very little value on the work of the Architect, this is in part our fault. Every time we show ignorance of our own work, shirk or sidestep our responsibilities, produce incomplete or erroneous drawings, the respect and value of our profession diminishes in the eyes of those we work for and with.
Technology has allowed the small firm to compete against the larger. It has also allowed increases in productivity that have been essential for the survival of the profession. However, to some this very technology has become "architecture" as opposed to the tool that it is. The ability to communicate graphically and spontaneously is still the most important element to being an Architect - that's still done with paper and pencil.
If you "screw up" solve the problem first, don't look to shift responsibility or "pass the buck" the first duty is to the project, admit the mistake, solve the problem. There will be plenty of time later to sort things out.
Emphasize to potential clients that the professional services offered do not include paying for their projects, neither should Architects contract for work that cannot be performed for the fee offered. Trust your instincts, if you feel you cannot do the work well, either because the fee's too low or you lack the experience - don't take the project.
When evaluating workmanship, look at the work and ask yourself: "Given the same amount of time could I have done a better job?" If the answer is yes, reject the work. Those performing the work are, like yourself, professionals - expect professional quality work.
The next time an Owner complains about their building during the "shakedown" period, ask how many times they took their mass-produced automobile back to the dealer after it was first purchased, then remind them their building is a one-of-a-kind, hand made creation consisting of innumerable parts and pieces.
Whenever you think that there is too little art in architecture remember that a realtor can "flip" the project you've designed annually and collect more commission with each sale, than you made in fee. The same as an art dealer selling a painting or sculpture.
If you visit one of your projects either under construction or after completion and don't feel that indescribable sensation that's associated with creativity, then it's time to look for a different profession.
Without a doubt the best site for Architecture is Architecture. COM a site sponsored by the Royal Institute of British Architects. This site has numerous links to other sites European as well as American; if it relates to architecture past or present it's here.
The refdesk.COM site has a wealth of links to various websites and assorted information.
This is the reed-associates ftp site for use by consultants, a password is required. ftp:\\reed-associates. COM