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Topic: What should I do? 

1.  What should I do?

Posted 05-12-2017 20:01

Hello fellow architects and intern architects,

 

My name is Santiago Ortiz. I am an intern architect living and working in Venice, CA.

 

I recently came across an article on a lifestyle magazine (online) where a former client of mine is showcased on her life, work, and the home she lives in with her family. Half way through the article it says her husband designed and built her home. Her husband, a general contractor, did build their home but was not the designer. I was hired by them to design and permit a two story addition and an extensive alteration of the existing home built in 1921. I believe it is always a group effort when working with clients; however, I am the project designer on all my projects. I immediately called them after reading the article to express how flabbergasted I was about them not giving me proper credit for my work (visible on photographs throughout the article) and misrepresenting his position as the designer of this home.

 

I wanted to find out if any of you have experienced a situation like this before. Also, is there anything I can do in order to get proper credit for my work when it is visible on print or online?

 

Greatly appreciate it.

 

Santiago Ortiz

 



2.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-15-2017 19:10
Sometimes it is not the client but the reporter who wrote the story. Your client might have not gone into much detail, but even if they did, they might have found it more interesting to make the builder/owner responsible for the whole thing. You might contact the writer and find out what they were told, or ask them for a correction. You said you contacted the owner…what was their response.




3.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 16:06
Peter, I appreciate your suggestion, Thank you. I will contact online magazine about this. The owner response was he said, she said, but mentioned they would get in touch with online magazine but months later nothing has been corrected.



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Santiago Ortiz Assoc. AIA
Ortiz Mexia Projects, Inc.
Venice CA
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4.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 17:21

I'm more interested in what the client said in response to your flabbergastedness and his misrepresenting himself!

 

Greg McMenamin, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Principal/Owner

 

Email Logo

 






5.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-17-2017 11:31
Gregory, My client said he had nothing to do with the article online and said his wife was the only one who had interface with the online magazine. He also said he would talk to his wife about getting in touch with the online magazine to have them correct the information, which has not happened yet.

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Santiago Ortiz, Assoc. AIA
Ortiz Mexia Projects, Inc.
Venice, CA
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6.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-17-2017 08:33
Agreed that it could be the author or publisher who omitted your name.  We have a couple of home and design magazines serving our market, and they tend to be advertorials that focus project credit on their advertisers.  It you don't advertise with them, there will be little to no mention in the "editorial" content.  This may not be the case here, but just a suggestion.


Tyler Smyth, AIA

Registered Architect in SC & VA
LEED Accredited Professional



Tyler A. Smyth Architects
990 Morrison Drive  Suite B
Charleston, SC 29403
843-724-7787










7.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-17-2017 16:42
Tyler, Greatly appreciate your reply.

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Santiago Ortiz, Assoc. AIA
Ortiz Mexia Projects, Inc.
Venice, CA
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8.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-22-2017 10:38
Good for you for contacting the client to say that your name was omitted from the article about the project you designed. As others have mentioned, I would follow up with the writer, and I also agree that you might not win this particular battle, especially if you are at the bridge-burning phase of the conversation.

In publications not specifically for architects, it seems to me that a General Contractor's information is boldly stated, while the architect's is buried in prose, if present at all.  Not unrelated, on job sites, GCs display a company sign. Most architects don't do this unless it is a large project. I think it's a good idea, but don't do it, either.

Claiming our work keeps us accountable, is authentic advertising, more accurately tells the story of a project, prevents us from becoming so hidden that no one knows what we do and what we can offer the broader community. Moreover, our good name has been taken over by IT (maybe because enough of us didn't use it honestly.) 

Good luck to all of us who are making a living as architects and thanks to our intern for bringing it up.


Barbara Richter, AIA
http://RichterNortonArchitect.com





9.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-23-2017 18:04
In my early days, I found myself getting offended when I would come across articles showing projects I designed with no mention of me. Let's face it, how exciting is it to ask the builder if the concrete guy showed up on time or if they slipped something by the inspector? Everyone loves to hear a project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Most of these articles tend to talk about the design and I think this is the real sticking point, as it leads the reader to assume the person being mentioned must be responsible for the design.

Articles that have mentioned me made me feel great, it lasted a month and the next issue is on the stands. The reality is that your work itself is your greatest advertisement. After a couple hundred built projects with many different builders, I started to find that people do begin to find out who you are and why you're important. Builders like building exciting, beautiful projects and they will be very excited to recommend you just to get another opportunity to partner up on another success. Without us they don't attract attention. Without good builders, our ideas would only be ideas. We need them to create the reality, the everlasting billboard. Leaving behind something that outlives you is the real reason we punish ourselves. It's the price we pay for a little slice of immortality.

Eric Rawlings, AIA, LEED AP




10.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-24-2017 10:34

Architects have the endless task of reminding the media, the public, and clients of their presence. I have found the press and clients mostly embarrassed when the omission is brought to their attention. Nevertheless, it continues to happen. I am often impressed how in other places in the world, architects are more typically front and center in the reporting of building projects.

 

This is beginning to change here, too. In the Washington (DC) Business Journal, for example, architects are routinely cited, and often featured, in an otherwise real estate newspaper.

 

But we are tasked with to remind hosts to place a setting for us at the table.....I would conclude by suggesting you should not get used to it, contain the anger, and gently remind them that "it couldn't happen without the architect" and remember your manners at the table.  

 

ALLEN E NEYMAN, AIA     O 301-251-1412   C 301-351-7264   

FOOTER_EMAIL

 

 






11.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-31-2017 16:19
Hello, Folks ---
 
Since Barbara Richter AIA mentioned job-signs in this forum last week, I've been chewin'-on that idea.  Long, long ago, I'd discussed this with a G.C. friend of mine, then lost track of it...
 
A few thoughts:
1.    Great idea:
Why don't we do this?!  Yes, the G.C.s on my jobs (small, mostly residential) occasionally put-out signs, but of course the well-marked truck is sittin'-right-there most of the day, so why bother with a separate sign?  And, in residential work, some Owners are indeed concerned about "stuff in the yard", and/or "looking commercial"...
Then again ---
For "commercial--institutional" Architects, some jobs --- especially government --- have their names already on those big project signs.  But if not, then having your own big sign sounds great, yes?
2.    Sign type, location, etc.:
For my purposes, I'm guessing that the legal lawn-sign-size around here would probably be limited to the size of a political-campaign sign, about 2-ft. x 3-ft., which is small.  Naturally, I'd check on that, if I get serious.  If it's that small, I'd guess that name-title-phone # would be-about-it for content.  Even then, it would need to be relatively close to the street, and, out-of-the-way of the G.C. and its Subs, and, in a spot easily visible to folks driving-by.  But, on a "fast", or curved, street, where drivers don't dare slow-down to read that little thing, maybe it's not worth it.
3.    Possible Cautions?:
From the "No-Free-Lunch" Department...I hate to be a spoil-sport, but one caveat does occur to me.  Is it possible that some of us are cautious regarding bragging-to-the-public on an office-building, strip-retail job, or apartment-house sign, that, "HEY!  Here's a good target for you, the slip-&-fall artist!" to "get ideas"?  To me, it's almost a keep-your-head-down deal, in conflict with our desire for exposure...
Maybe ---
Check with your liability insurer before trying a sign?
4.    How I'd install my little sign:
For ground-anchoring, I'd get 2 of those screw-into-the-ground pet-line anchors.  The pair would be installed together and padlocked together, to prevent screwing-out.  On the wood sign, I'd have 2 eye-hooks locked-together, with a cable-type bicycle-lock to tie-it-all together.  The plywood sign would have 2 legs, for wind-resistance to keep its orientation, etc.
 
For starters...
 
Thanks ---
Bill
william j. devlin aia, inc.,
ARCHITECT
Springfield, MA





12.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 08:56
As has been stated, the only recourse is to contact the writer of the article and ask for a correction.  Sadly, nobody will see the correction, if it's ever actually posted.  Make sure to order multiple copies of the magazine so that you have them for your own portfolio and office.I had a similar situation, but with a weird twist.  I was meeting a potential client for a home renovation/addition and the person was going through their list of wants and desires and then proceeded to pull out a magazine with a cover photo of a project that she loved.  I'm looking at the cover of the magazine and the space they showed looked very familiar.  I opened the magazine and read the article about my project, however it was all about the interior decorating.  There was no mention of who designed the actual space these designers had decorated.  Funny thing though, even after telling the potential client that I was the Architect for the project she loved so much, she never ended up hiring me.  At least I found out that my work was published somewhere and that someone really liked it.

------------------------------
John Brower AIA
Principal Partner
Dugasz & Brower Architects, PC
Woodbridge NJ
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13.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 16:16
John, Thank you!

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Santiago Ortiz, Assoc. AIA
Ortiz Mexia Projects, Inc.
Venice, CA
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14.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 11:02
I wonder if you had an AIA Owner-Architect agreement with this client ?  It may have contained language stating "The Owner shall provide professional credit for the Architect in the Owner's promotional materials for this project" which might give you some leverage here.

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Robert Larsen AIA
Principal
Robert R. Larsen, A.I.A.
Denver CO
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15.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 16:22
Robert, I do not have an AIA Owner-Architect agreement with this client. I have a Owner-Designer agreement, and my agreement excludes any professional credit request. I will have to include this on my design agreement for future clients. Thank you for your participation on my post.

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Santiago Ortiz, Assoc. AIA
Ortiz Mexia Projects, Inc.
Venice, CA
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16.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 15:10
Dear Santiago,

Alas, by the time the job is done, a lot of clients feel that they "really designed it themselves" and you just " drew it up".  Many contractors (though not the smart ones) consider themselves to be excellent designers.

It will happen again-not much to do but grin and bear it.  Hopefully you got paid, and probably more people than you realize know that the husband didn't design it.  

Publications are generally very casual about assigning credit where it is due.

But keep going-once you get licensed you might have a bit more leverage, but not much on residential stuff.

Say hi to So Cal ,  where I once lived, for me.

All the best

Bob Knight
Robert Knight AIA, Principal | Knight Architect LLC
bob@knightarchitect.com | 207-326-9345






17.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 16:23
Thank you Bob!

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Santiago Ortiz, Assoc. AIA
Ortiz Mexia Projects, Inc.
Venice, CA
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18.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 15:17
Mr. Ortiz ---
 
Oooh, don't get me started, on everything from groundbreakings to grand openings, on my small projects, where everyone on the job is mentioned...except the Architect!  I now "prep" the Owners to include me...
 
But, your case is even worse; it's willful lying ! 
A few thoughts:
1.    Discuss with Client?
You didn't say what their response was when you challenged them.  Did they apologize?  Tell you to go do something ##5***$@@?  Someplace in between?
2.    Legal?:
Check with your attorney, for any possible actions?
3.    Building Permit Application:
If an Architect is not required for Design of a house in your area, you might be, or might not be, mentioned on the Building Permit application (that's one of my stories, yours in reverse).  But ---
4.    Construction Documents:
Surely, your name is on the C.D.s, and that's a Public Record, in the Building Department!  Plus, of course, you have your original Files / Drawings / Specs, etc.
5.    Lifestyle Magazine:
Once your "ammo" as above is sorted-out, talk with the Magazine folks.  [If true], you understand they had no way of knowing there was an Architect on that house when they published that story.  But -- you'd appreciate it if they could help you out / "make it up to me"...  If you're lucky, they'll feature that house as an example of what Architect Ortiz does. 
If they're really nice folks, they could do a retrospective of your career-to-date, with examples of many of your projects (we can dream, yes?).  If not offered, ASK!  We "hafta" get-up the nerve to seek basic exposure...  (I'm ticked-off all over again, just from writing about this stuff.)
6.    Future:
Consider including clause/s in your Contract regarding crediting, public exposure, etc...
 
For starters...
Peace, and good....luck!
Bill
william j. devlin aia, inc.,
ARCHITECT
Springfield, MA
 





19.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-16-2017 16:47
Bill, Wow, amazing feedback. Very helpful. Thank you.

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Santiago Ortiz, Assoc. AIA
Ortiz Mexia Projects, Inc.
Venice, CA
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20.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-17-2017 08:58
I have never known a situation where alienating the client makes it better. You have to let it roll off your back like a duck sheds water and understand that their ego may be a factor... and recognize yours may be, too.

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Kevin M. Shertz, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Chestertown, Maryland
http://www.shertzarch.com
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21.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-23-2017 17:29
Great answers from all. Rather than rehash these suggestions, you might also want to contact the author and pitch an idea for a new article that features this problem where architects aren't given the credit due. Authors are always looking for good content and this seems like a good angle for an article which would also elevate the role of the architect in the process and not just provide a slight mention which will be typically glossed over by most readers.

Let's educate the public on the role architects bring to even the smallest projects. You can help stir the pot.

Steve

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Steven Burns FAIA
Chief Creative Officer
BQE Software Inc.
Torrance CA
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22.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-24-2017 17:36
As the Co-Chair of the AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee, we have confronted this issue directly for years. First, individual members such as myself will respond to an article that omits the name of the architect. We email the author directly, we comment on the article, then point out the essential relationship of the Owner, Architect and Contractor, and request that the online version of the story be updated to include the name of the architect (which we supply the name when we can find it - and we usually can quite easily). We then ask that the author include the name of the architect in future articles and reinforce why it is important. We are not always successful, but it works more times then not.

In NJ we also have a paid consultant assisting with our Public Awareness campaign. One of the responsibilities of that person is to develop a relationship with the press and to get those persons to appreciate the need to include the name of the architect, even if only in the caption showing the image of their work. That relationship building has also paid off for us.

Finally, we produced a "working with the media" series on our blog and published in our newsletter explaining to our members how they can do the same for themselves. It is an ongoing effort, but in my opinion it is well worth the effort. And, while we can't be everywhere all the time, I think our impartiality as an independent third party helps when we are delivering the message.

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Bruce Turner AIA
Principal
Bruce D. Turner, Architect
Vineland NJ
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23.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-26-2017 19:13
Pertinent to this discussion, I would highly recommend using the excellent Message Book - a tool that has been developed by AIA, and available free to all members from the Institute (download the PDF here).

For those of you who were at Grassroots in DC or at the A'17 Conference in Orlando, there were opportunities to be trained with the Message Book - it's a very effective tool for communication and, by extension, for PR.  If anyone is interested in getting the training, I'm certain that you could arrange it for your components - Caitlin Regan (Manager of Public Affairs) on AIA staff can assist you with this.  Or feel free to be in touch with me, and I can start the ball rolling.
There's a brief introduction here, though I do recommend getting the training.  I believe you'll feel very equipped to communicate the value you bring to your clients and communities once armed with the strategies in the Book.

It has made an impact in my practice.

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Peter Exley FAIA RIBA
Architecture Is Fun, Inc.
Chicago IL
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24.  RE: What should I do?

Posted 05-29-2017 17:29
Peter,

Thanks for sharing The Architect's Voice. I hadn't seen this document and it's really thoughtful.

And... Thanks for all you do at the AIA for the rest of us!

Steve

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Steven Burns FAIA
Chief Creative Officer
BQE Software Inc.
Torrance CA
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