Thanks for making those points, Brenda -- too true.
I think a lot of this lack of communication about what we do is because we're in a field where a great deal of background is needed to begin to understand what we know about. I find many people don't even believe that some of the things we've been trained to know about even exist. For example, many think "design" is just personal opinion about what looks nice; no awareness that design is a disciplined process of seeing and understanding the order of a place, discovering or even inventing options, thinking them through, and then synthesizing (oh,oh, there's a big word !) these into how we should best plan to construct a physical building or space to embody and house these solutions.
I would never tell an attorney, dentist or CPA that his/her recommendation to me is "just his/her opinion" and if I would I'll bet any one of them would be able to cite chapter and verse as to why their recommendation is valid and not just a matter of opinion. But I hear this in community discussions about the design and appearances of architecture quite often, even from professional planners, who should know better. there's an assumption that our knowledge is somehow prejudiced and not objective, based on known rules and procedures, and I think that makes the general public skeptical about our observations. Along with the general mistrust of professionals and experts of any sort today, this makes our public communications challenging.
The public also seems to want to hear just how simple everything is, and can be, and marketing orgs feed them that message all day long, whether it's for phone service, insurance, or legal advice -- it's all quick and easy -- and a lot of it is supposedly "for free" (but not really).
What we're doing is process-oriented to start with, and that means it's experiential -- a client has to (to some degree) want to go through a process with us, if we're going to do our work well. Much of the public has been trained over the last 30 years by retailers and marketing campaigns that all they should have to do is fill out a short checklist, answer three questions, or hit a button and they'll have exactly what they want and need, and at minimum cost - do it yourself !
Design and decision-making is about thoughtfulness, and making best choices, so it's necessarily going to take some tie and inquiry. In this instant gratification climate, how do we "sell" people on the value of taking some time to think things through to be sure to do what's best ? We even need them to take some time to hear and understand what we know about, and what makes our knowledge valuable to them.
A puzzle !
Eugene Aleci AIA
Architect / President
Community Heritage Partners
Show Original Message