It's complicated. Architects offer valuable services, but few are able to appreciate that value. If someone has $x to spend on shelter say, in a free market they won't necessarily go looking for an architect. For many people 'top-of-mind' is something else entirely. Maybe something like a little cape with a picket fence and a green lawn. When the buyer sees that, they'll seek the best choice in their eyes and buy it if they can.
There's a big problem here. Do you see it? The global media engine for this image is so successful that now an increasing fraction of 6 billion people have something like it in mind, and all that comes with it. 'A car in every garage, and a chicken in every pot' Does anyone understand the risks associated with this situation? Does anyone care? How about the insurance industry? Umm... They think they see dollar signs. Banks? Builders? Fugeddaboudit. The energy industry? LOL! Clean coal? I don't think so. A few scientists and economists see very clearly where this train is going. Right over a cliff. It's happened before.
We are having a train wreck. We need new dreams.
Corbu, Mies, Wright, the modernists, postmodernists, all of em. Irrelevant. Do you get it?
If you want to succeed as an architect, help your community come up with a better way of life. A vision that helps avoid catastrophic endings to the human drama where you live. A vision that offers hope and reassurance.
You might eke out a living for another year or two by living in the past and misguided politicians might manage to create another temporary mirage that everything's fine and no change is necessary.
A better world is possible. It could be harder work than anything you've ever done. It will cost a lot of money and could feel very unrewarding. It could take a very long time - generations, lifetimes. More are aligning with long-term visions like Architecture 2030.
If you don't buy that vision, try thinking shorter term. Let's coin a term: 'Architecture NOW'. You can do a lot with recycled cardboard and that could actually be a step in a useful direction.
What does all this mean for residential architecture? Let's start with long-term thinking. Where are the clients? Abu Dhabi, India, and China? Are there any in the US? Who wants to make a difference?
Did someone say 'back to the drawing board'?
Randall Anway AIA
New Tapestry, LLC
Old Lyme CT
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