Custom Residential Architects Network

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  Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 11, 2012 12:02 PMPerry C. Cofield AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 12, 2012 9:13 AMEdward J. Shannon AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 12, 2012 9:25 AMDavid S.R. Andreozzi AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 13, 2012 7:26 AMRand J. Soellner
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 14, 2012 3:02 PMLori Schneider AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 15, 2012 8:06 AMRand J. Soellner
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 16, 2012 7:44 AMRand J. Soellner
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 16, 2012 4:13 PMSean Catherall AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 13, 2012 10:25 AMEdward J. Shannon AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 13, 2012 12:16 PMDavid S.R. Andreozzi AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 13, 2012 8:34 AMEric Andrew Rawlings AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 13, 2012 12:35 PMThomas W. Streicher AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 13, 2012 12:39 PMThomas W. Streicher AIA
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 14, 2012 11:58 AMRand J. Soellner
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 15, 2012 8:10 AMGregory La Vardera
  RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interestNov 16, 2012 10:49 AMThomas W. Streicher AIA
 

1.
Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Perry C. Cofield AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 11, 2012 12:02 PM
Subject: Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
This message has been cross posted to the following Discussion Forums: Housing Knowledge Community and Custom Residential Architects Network .
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Perry Cofield AIA
Design Ways & Means Architects
Arlington VA
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Let me begin by explaining how our political system differs from democracy in Belguim:   This country, the size of a US state, has at least seven valid political parties, who all must state their platforms in writing.  The candidates are all on the ballot in an election, and EVERY PERSON OF VOTING AGE MUST VOTE, OR FACE A FINE.  The relevance of this will follow. 

Thanks to Ed, Eric, David, Greg and Rand for glimmers of concern beyond your own agendas in the discussion of November 2-8.  Does the public care about all this "retribution without a cause"?  We all know that unless the Architect or designer has a contract with a client, we are defacto sub to the builder.  Many builders truly regard us as a sub.  And Greg fully knows how unlicensed designers revel in their role as free agents- howsabout some spit in your eye, architect?  In all of this, the public is shortchanged. 

These disputes may go on until we perish as a species- because of nothing in sight to end the disputes. The loser in all this?  The public.  Why?  Because no standard exists for training a house designer.   SO LETS LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD ONCE AND FOR ALL WITH ONE SET OF RULES.

When I interviewed for the Director of Education post at NCARB several years ago, I suggested ideally Residential Architecture would be licensed as discipline separate from Architecture.  This would be supported by a somewhat shorter collegiate curriculum focusing on the technics of residential structures of less than 5 stories, combined with master planning exercises for residential and mixed use areas.  With my idea akin to leaving a large turd behind in a church pew, I did not get the job.

But NCARB is blind to the fact that in the US we have AIA, AIBD, cadfolk, designers, decorators, and of course homeowners at work in this field- our version of Belgium, but with few rules.  Our rulers are nominally the code officials, who do not actually design buildings, but instead "chaperone" health, safety and welfare, and write the code. The result?  Our homes have a modicum of safety, but so many of our recent environments are less life-enhancing than 19th century company towns.

 In my scenario Architects would practice as always. But many talented individuals with no interest in large commercial commissions would now have state credentials. This idea DEMANDS our two leading organizations, AIA and NAHB, to come to terms with what a house designer/land planner should know to practice.  Each guild would have to find some common ground.  The discussion between Eric and Rand really highlights the need for uniform standards for all house plan submissions above say 500 sf.  Note these standards were discussed between two architects, not designers-at-large- the real core of the problem.  With a new license category for a Residential Architects, we could close down the larger anomalies that fuel this intercine bickering. 

I fully realize our guilds, demi-guilds, and free agents may find this idea repellent- because it has some logic? Or is unwieldy?  Much work?  Where to start?  Needs to be phased in? Ultimately a state issue, etc.  But as someone said, WITHOUT STATING AN END GAME, THERE IS NO GOAL.  We will default any autonomy we may have back to the code drafters, who are more than slightly driven by the material producers- our industry equal of Big Pharma.  AIA and NCARB must realize that failing to fuse our interests will continue chaos for our industry, and foster bland environment in the long run.  As we lose more control to the "package deal" folk in the financial sector, we all count for less. 

As to the AIA, do not mourn the loss of a hegemony we never had.  We may be loved more for consigning the closed loop of modernists and academics that manage  ARCHITECTURAL OFFICIALDOM mostly to the commercial sector.  The public, being composed of sentimental fools that mostly love houses that refer to their culture and locale, would be just as happy.  And well-designed homes in a smart-growth setting WILL doubtless gain more popularity over time, especially in the crucially dense parts or the US. 

ALL OF US THAT LOVE RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE SHOULD HAVE THE SAME EDUCATION AND STANDARDS.  ANY OF YOU THAT FIND THIS A WORTHY GOAL SHOULD START THINKING OF HOW WE COULD SLOWLY IMPLEMENT THE ONLY INTENTIONAL SOLUTION IN SIGHT.  ANY OTHER SOLUTION LEADS TO MORE DISSOLUTION AND FRAGMENTATION OF INTERESTS.  WITHIN 20 YEARS, RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTS WOULD COMPETE AMONG PEERS, IN A MARKET FREE OF BOTH THE MARGINALLY COMPETENT AND THE RENT-SEEKING.  

WE MIGHT IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT AND HELP SAVE THE PLANET, TOO.

 

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2.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Edward J. Shannon AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 12, 2012 9:13 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:

Residential Architects have a huge identity problem.

 

Friday I was in Des Moines and had lunch with an old friend from college.  He had told me about their experience in building their home some ten years ago.  They ended up using a stock plan service from an AIBD designer owned company in Cedar Rapids (not a bad option, in my opinion - and their house seems to have been competently designed).  He told me that before he and his wife went that route, they had worked with an "architect".  When I asked the name of the architect he told me it was Alvin S. - whom I have met (at AIBD functions) and happen to know is not a licensed architect, but an AIBD designer - a very successful one at that. 

 

When I tried to explain to my friend, Rick, that Alvin was not a licensed architect.  He said, "Well, we thought he was one".   I know Alvin, and I doubt he would hold himself out to be an architect.  Yet, in the public's eye he IS an architect. And while I can speculate that he didn't tell my friends he was an architect, he might not have told them he wasn't!  In other words, let them think he is an architect as it's too hard to explain to clients that he's not - and might kill a project. 

 

This is the problem I face and, in realty, our own dilemma.  It is that anyone with a CAD program is perceived by the public as an architect.  John & Judy Sixpack aren't going to check state credentials when getting their home designed.  In fact, they could probably care less.  In their eyes, their guy at the lumberyard is just as much of an "architect" as anyone on this forum. 

 

When I do come up against someone who knows that architect's need to have credentials, i.e. NAHB builders, I am thought of as an unnecessary expense - and (Now this is important) someone who is going to mess with "their" design

 

The AIA has done a very poor job in previous efforts at marketing residential architects.  Indeed, they have done a disservice to the majority of residential architects in using case studies that are typically highly custom, avant-garde, object homes.  Just look at Residential Architects Mag's latest design awards!  Flat roofed Euro-boxes that are in remote sites (so much for sustainability)!  As a residential architect who is not among the culturally elite, I can no longer trust the AIA to work in my best interest!



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Edward Shannon
Waterloo IA
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3.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: David S.R. Andreozzi AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 12, 2012 9:25 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:

The AIA has done a very poor job in previous efforts at marketing residential architects.  Indeed, they have done a disservice to the majority of residential architects in using case studies that are typically highly custom, avant-garde, object homes.  Just look at Residential Architects Mag's latest design awards!  Flat roofed Euro-boxes that are in remote sites (so much for sustainability)!  As a residential architect who is not among the culturally elite, I can no longer trust the AIA to work in my best interest! Edward Shannon


Ed,

There in lies the entire problem.  The inability of the AIA (which is reality is me, you, and our brethren that make up the AIA) to celebrate the importance good architectural process (over celebrity and sculpture) to society for decades and decades.

So yes, we need to start the process, of educating, but there is no AIA company structure and philosophy to rewrite, it is simply volunteers like me and you that need to rebuild our society's awareness over the next 5 decades. Seems simple enough, right?



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David Andreozzi AIA
Owner
Andreozzi Architects
Barrington RI
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4.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Rand J. Soellner
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 13, 2012 7:26 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
Edward and David,
I agree with everything you both said, except...I hope not over the next 5 decades.  How about right now?  Why not form a subcommittee right now, starting with us 3, to become the Public Awareness team, tasked with forming methods of making the public aware that we exist and why they might want to consider our brothers and sisters to design their homes.  I'm willing, if you are.  Time to DO something about this, instead of just complaining.  And I certainly have complained my share's worth.

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Rand Soellner AIA
Architect/Owner/Principal
Home Architects
Cashiers NC
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5.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Lori Schneider AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 14, 2012 3:02 PM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
I'm very interested in this topic and would like to get involved to further our cause!
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Lori Schneider AIA
Studio Blue Design, LLC
Boulder CO
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6.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Rand J. Soellner
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 15, 2012 8:06 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
Hi Lori,
God bless you!  Another volunteer!  Our cause in this particular vein is this:
2 things:

MAIN GOAL:
1.  Making the general public aware that REAL architects exist that can & will design their homes.
2.  That there are good reasons why anyone would want to engage an architect to design their home.

That's it. 

IT'S TRUE:
I know for a fact that the public at large is not aware that architects are available to design their homes.  Some people, sure, but certainly not everyone.  I used to be married to a lady, a long time ago, who thought (before meeting me) that homes and buildings were just built and it was a happy accident when it turned out looking nice and functioning well. 

SOCIAL MEDIA APPROACH
My guess is that in this effort to educate the public, that social media will likely be our main conduit to social enlightenment.  This is because it is free and has the ability to touch millions or billions of people, if we organize our efforts effectively.  There are some among us who poo-poo this approach and would rather beat their own drum about their individual practice and I think that's fine for them, but I would encourage the rest of us to band together to actually DO SOMETHING, instead of merely complaining.

TV ADS:
I believe that advertizing on TV would be very effective, but the rates for an individual commercial there, running perhaps 30 seconds can run as high as $64,000 and this will vary from station to station and whether you are in prime time or what day of the week and what event (Super Bowl ads will be more). UNFORTUNATELY, so far, there have been no forthcoming cashflow streams from AIA National to fund such ads.  And yes, there are those who believe that we, as residential architects, should produce our own House Impossible show on HGTV, to "put the architect back in house."  Once again: who among us has the finances to accomplish this?  Perhaps some day.

YOUTUBE:
Until then, what we can do, is create our own videos, using our own digital camcorders and post these on YouTube, under titles that can perhaps grab the attention of people seeking architects' help to design their homes.  I happen to know a lot about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and realize that doing things like this will require careful coordination among us to time such releases and then post these links on major social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  If ALL of us, here in the CRAN coordinate together, and blast our messages to all these media sites, timed each hour, on giving days, across the time zones in the USA, hopefully millions of social media-using public will begin to notice our messages and perhaps be curious enough to click on the links and watch what we have to say about the good reasons to have architects designing their homes.

ZERO COST:
That's what I'm imagining at this point, anyway.  I believe this is something that won't cost any of us anything in terms of cash, assuming we already have some basic equipment (even an iPhone can shoot video and I have seen music videos of reasonable quality shot on nothing but iPhones).  And we all know how to post things to social media (if you don't, get in touch with me and I'll do what I can to show you how). 

MAIN INGREDIENT: ABILITY TO AGREE:
So, the main ingredient to making this happen is unfortunately something us architects here seem to have in short supply:

The ability to agree on something.

My guess is that my suggestion above will be met with all sorts of objections and tangential thoughts.  This will, unfortunately mean, that still one more good idea will be lost amid the inability of us architects to focus on a given social agenda and get it done, rather like our US Congress and Senate.

ONWARD
However: perhaps I am mistaken and there are those of us with whom such a suggestion will resonate and more of us will be willing to participate.  Thank you, Lori, for your willingness to actually start doing something.
You and others interested in actually Doing Something, rather than bickering, are welcome to contact me, so that we can start organizing ourselves:  Rand@HomeArchitects.com
I have Skype Premium, which will allow me to link together up to 10 of us in video conference mode, assuming you have Skype accounts.  I will need your Skype name and e-mails to schedule such conferences between us.

And everyone: please have a nice day! 


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Rand Soellner AIA
Architect/Owner/Principal
Home Architects
Cashiers NC
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7.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Rand J. Soellner
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 16, 2012 7:44 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
Hello Greg, Dave and others, Uhhhhh... my post here was about advocating a social media PR campaign in the best interests of all of us folks in CRAN-AIA and the public.  Not sure where what you were talking about came from.  Perhaps a previous thread?

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Rand Soellner AIA
Architect/Owner/Principal
Home Architects
Cashiers NC
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8.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Sean Catherall AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 16, 2012 4:13 PM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
All worthy goals.

I do think that there is a cost for this. I think the cost is mostly time--time to coordinate a unified message, time to understand the target audience, time to craft and deliver messages.

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Sean Catherall AIA
Integrated Property Services
Bluffdale UT
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9.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Edward J. Shannon AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 13, 2012 10:25 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:

Sorry Dave, I don't think it's that simple.  I think it's more of an uphill battle and an endless money pit. 

I gave financially (over 20 years as a member) and sacrificed to serve my chapter (two terms on Board of Directors, chaired 3 different committees, served on many more) and I still don't feel I have a professional organization that advocates for me!  I can only give for so long.  Right now, I am tapped, squoze like a lemon with no juice left!

NCARB reports 104, 301 US Registered Architects.  According to the stats I could get from the AIA (their last survey being 2009!! - ridiculous) they counted 56,295 US Registered Architect members.  (The AIA uses a much higher figure of members on their website, which includes internationals and professional affiliates)  I sense this number has fallen since 2009, but even at that, this means 54% of US licensed architects are members of the professions foremost professional organization!  Not good!

I venture to guess that many of the 46% of architects who are not members are engaged in residential practice of the vein of working with builders and middle income families who do not appreciate or want an avant-garde statement.  The AIA should be focused on capturing this demographic, not in the next 5 decades, but the next 5 years!  Show these architects (like me) that the AIA can provide some real value.  Create a dues structure that is more reasonable for the sole practitioner.  Create materials that advocate for the NORMAL residential architect.  Work with the NAHB to regulate residential design.  But, please don't ask us to give now, so that the next generation of architects can enjoy the results.

 

Side note - I attended a building science seminar last weekend which focused on moisture protection.  With all the potential problems out there, I cannot see how residential design cannot be regulated!



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Edward Shannon
Waterloo IA
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10.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: David S.R. Andreozzi AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 13, 2012 12:16 PM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
The past is the past, is it was a complete disaster on behalf of most architects and the AIA in whole.

Recognize it, and learn from it.

We are trying to change that paradigm.

Peace

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David Andreozzi AIA
Owner
Andreozzi Architects
Barrington RI
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11.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Eric Andrew Rawlings AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 13, 2012 8:34 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
I think our biggest problem isn't about how we market ourselves. It's our refusal to insert ourselves in to everyday Joe's life. We're running scared over liability, professionalism, lack of being respected, and being bested by an amateur. Many Architects I know are apprehensive to design a project in their own neighborhood out of fear of having to face the neighbors if they do a bad job. An agoraphobic person talks themselves out of walking across the threshold of their front door because of all these irrational fears like being hit by a car, having to engage in a conversation with a stranger, being mugged, being hit by lightning, or what ever their hang up is. I feel we have become agoraphobic and are afraid to cross the threshold of our own front doors. For the life of me I really don't understand all the push back I get when suggesting we can lower our fees by reducing some services. Many seem to feel that the real Architecture isn't about the superiority of the design solution itself, but in the numbers of drawings, specs, and schedules we can create that sets us apart from designers and plan books.

We have made our professional requirements more difficult than it's worth considering pay scale. Our numbers have not been increasing, yet the population has. The jig is up, the myth that Architects are wealthy people has been exposed. The plan book has dominated the market for the most numerous buildings in America and these designs are fairly simple, the number of drawings minimal, the availability abundant, and the price is affordable. This is a job killer! This is why we have so few boots on the ground. We need a grass roots effort of each and everyone of us reaching out to folks in our neighborhoods and offering them services they can afford without lowering our worth. We can design simple renovations for people at low cost by giving them the broad brush strokes. A good idea and a permit is all they need, yet we convince ourselves that the Architecture Police will arrest us if we don't load them up on unnecessary fluff that we think is there for our protection. What are we really protecting ourselves from, getting work? 

There are plenty of good builders out there that want to offer something better than the same old cookie cutter. We need to team up with spec builders and help them compete on a different level. We can't beat them, so we should join them and change them. There will always be low end design and construction, but it all doesn't have to be. When you get into a rhythm working with a builder, you learn each other's strengths and weaknesses, which streamlines the process, lowers your time spent per project, and ultimately you can create many unique houses with a builder who would have just built one...over and over and over again. An individual Architect can easily design 30-40 houses a year like this and each one gets better and better as you and your builder learn to trust one another. We have a simple trust issue here, which is a lot like dating. You can't expect to fall in love and get married on the first date, nor is it likely that you'll be hitting home runs the first time every time. A good healthy relationship can offer a fulfilling lifetime of wonderful experiences.

The underlying theme that I keep reading into in this and other similar threads is that we feel disrespected and how do we force people to respect us. We have to earn our respect one client at a time. If we choose to ignore regular people, then they simply won't respect us and they will find someone else to date. The simple answer to our problem is to get out there and figure out how to offer our services to anyone. This week I'm working on a new 3000sf home for a physician that is well versed in sustainability and very enthusiastic about green building AND I'm volunteering to design 3 wheelchair ramps for poor, elderly folks that can barely afford their healthcare for our annual Martin Luther King community service project. I'm working for 1%ers from both sides of the spectrum in the same week. EVERYONE in my neighborhood knows me as the Architect because I figure out a way into EVERYONE's lives. My work speaks for itself and that's why designers have a hard time competing with me on my turf. My spec builders are doing fine competing with the cookie cutter competition, as we have created the alternative to the cookie cutter house in my area. It turns out that not everyone wants to live in the same house as their neighbor and we can prove this with our sales results. How do you prove such a wild claim in a country like this? You have to provide the options! You can't demand change, you have to get out there and make change happen! It' not the AIA's job to do this. They have limited resources and tools, like this blog, that help us exchange ideas. This is probably the best thing the AIA has done in decades! The AIA is only as strong as we are and we all know where we stand right now, so let's dust ourselves off and fight our way to the top! This crisis has provided the Building Industry with a wonderful opportunity for us to reinvent how it works. Clearly the last model didn't work, so why return to that insanity? If many someones don't step up, we're heading right back into the same old same old.

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Eric Rawlings AIA
Owner
Rawlings Design, Inc.
Decatur GA
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12.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Thomas W. Streicher AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 13, 2012 12:35 PM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:

I just skimmed this post so forgive me if I am repeating someone. I have a comment on one of Perry's ideas. He says "I suggested ideally Residential Architecture would be licensed as discipline separate from Architecture.  This would be supported by a somewhat shorter collegiate curriculum focusing on the technics of residential structures of less than 5 stories, combined with master planning exercises for residential and mixed use areas".   

An architectural license indicates one has the mandated required minimum understanding to practice architecture. It does not say the individual has a mastery of architecture and as such doesn't have a mastery of one building type. It is up to the license holder to further devolve their skills and most wind up developing an expertise in one, two or perhaps three types of projects. If one of those types of projects a person becomes an expert on is residential then so be it. I don't think it does anyone any good to grant a residential design license separate from an architecture license. If you want to be licensed to design "only" houses then become an architect.

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Thomas Streicher AIA
Thomas Streicher, Architect
Monroe NY
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13.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Thomas W. Streicher AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 13, 2012 12:39 PM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:


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Thomas Streicher AIA
Thomas Streicher, Architect
Monroe NY
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14.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Rand J. Soellner
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 14, 2012 11:58 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
I agree with you, Thomas.  It would be a slippery slope to advocate for licensing people and educating them to design houses with the idea that this would entail any shorter or less detailed curriculum that the normal architectural degree path.

The AIA has historically published comments that indicate that the design of a residence is among the most complex activities in which an architect can engage.  I should know, I have designed large world class theme park venues, NASA laboratories, high schools, elementary schools, VA medical center ICUs, ICNs, Water Treatment Plants, Sewage Treatment Plants, State office buildings, restaurants, and various other complex industrial and commercial facilities and have chosen to mainly focus on the design of homes.  I can say, without equivocation, that the design of homes has more going on per square foot than any other building type.

To interpret it as requiring any less of any education or experience would be a disservice to the profession and the public.

-------------------------------------------
Rand Soellner AIA
Architect/Owner/Principal
Home Architects
Cashiers NC
-------------------------------------------






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15.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Gregory La Vardera
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 15, 2012 8:10 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:
Rand, and other's following this,

I have seen these discussions among architects play out in several forums, and David Andreozzi has seen it to because I've been there with him. At this point I can say with some confidence that it seems to reach the same predictable conclusions.

- Architects should be designing houses, and all permits for houses should require a seal.

- There should not be a secondary class of architects for the residential market, no tiered license structure, no residential architect license.

- There should not be any relaxing of the standards or requirements for becoming an architect. 

There is much bluster around this, and much moral and architectural superiority is felt surrounding the upholding of these principals. But the reality is that holding strictly to these beliefs in fact does more harm to the profession than good, simply because it keeps us locked in our current status quo, which is a circle of diminishing influence and power within the housing industry. 

To execute these principals would entail the disenfranchisement of thousands of unlicensed designers from productive livelihoods and careers. It would also further impact thousands and thousands of home builders saddling them with greater expense, less profit, and a wide scarcity of suddenly mandatory architects. I am not saying that is good or bad, and I am certainly not pitching for non-licensed designers here, in case my colleague from NJ misunderstands again. I'm just saying that its not going to happen. The interests in these issues are far too great, and far too many. They are much better funded than the AIA or architects, and basically much more powerful than the AIA or the profession. Its time to stop kidding yourself.

The housing industry is not going to give this over to you, and the politicians that they support, the ones that vote on the legislation that would come up from the various State Architects Boards to change these rules will not support the changes. They will explain how it will hurt the economy, it will hurt the industry, and it will "KILL JOBS". True or not, it will not pass the State legislatures.

Instead of blustering over these issues, why not consider and strategize an alternate that may actually have a chance of happening. 

I too would like to see all houses require an architect, and unlicensed designers to go away, and everybody live up to the same standards of testing and professionalism. 

But I am willing to facilitate the best non-licensed designers to become architects, if it is well structured, limited in time, and bundled with the end of single-family exemptions in places that require a permit.

My experience is that the best non-licensed designers regard the worst in much the same ways we do. Rather than delude yourself that you will crush the entire non-licensed world, rather divide and conquer. Bring the best on board as architects, and let the rest go down with the ship.

I agree with you that I also think that anybody who becomes an architect should pass the ARE, but I am perfectly willing to negotiate on what qualifications and experience allow you to sit for the exam. Most of what keeps un-licensed designers from becoming architects is the experience and education requirements. Some states like NY still have a path for un-degreed candidates to take the exam, Arizona may be another, but there are not many. I am willing to consider a well managed qualification review to advance the best unlicensed designers to take the ARE, again,  so long as it is limited in time, and bundled with the end of single-family exemptions in places that require a permit.

I don't see this as a great compromise, nor a lessening of standards. All would have to pass the same test. We would not be allowing less experience, but simply recognizing diverse experience that we have come to discount entirely. Frankly the test is not that hard, even if your concentration is in houses. We already have broad specialization under the uniform architect license. We don't have skyscraper licenses, nor hospital licenses, nor residential licenses. Formerly non-licensed designers would be held responsible to practice within the bounds of their competency just as we all do. We would have compromised little to reach the goals you outline.

But at least we might stand a chance of reaching them.

Compromise a little bit. 

Don't set out to defeat them, set out to absorb them.


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Gregory La Vardera
Architect
Gregory La Vardera Architect
Merchantville NJ
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16.
RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
From: Thomas W. Streicher AIA
To: Custom Residential Architects Network
Posted: Nov 16, 2012 10:49 AM
Subject: RE:Guildhood, free agents, and the public interest
Message:

Just to clarify my comments on a "residential license". I was not saying I think everyone that designs a house needs to become an architect and I was not saying every house needs to be sealed by an architect. I don't know exactly where I stand on that issue and am not going to start yet another discussion on that, it's been done. I was saying I don't think it does any good to license residential designers separately from architects. I don't think there is much (if anything) that could be trimmed from the current education and experience requirements to be an architect to make a shorter path to become a "licensed residential designer" or "residential architect" or whatever it may be called. I think that would lead to a diminished perception of our profession and "licensed residential designers ...." would be perceived as "Jr. architects". I think it would lead to the enlightened clients that want to seek out a professional designer to skip a "regular" architect and go for a licensed residential designer on the assumption it would be cheaper and I know I am not for that.   It could also lead to further fragmentation of the architectural profession requiring a license for other building types. "Sorry Dr. Jones, I can design your office building but I am not licensed to design the parking garage to go with it".   

Just to get a job these days we need to spend lots of time to get certified and accredited in all sorts of things, and pay for the privilege. I thought it was a joke the first time I heard about "Revit 2011 certification" but it's real and expensive. Do we want to cut up our license into little bits and have to pay for each one? Again, specialize in any type of building you want once you met the min requirements of a license. If you are a non-licensed designer and it is legal where you are, keep going.

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Thomas Streicher AIA
Thomas Streicher, Architect
Monroe NY
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