Message - Re: Where did architects go wrong?

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Posted by  Manuel Oliveros on November 06, 2002 at 10:12:38:

In Reply to:  Where did architects go wrong? posted by Disgruntled on November 05, 2002 at 22:27:03:

Frankly, I see people in disgust every time is dependent on hiring a professional for something, doctors included ... in fact I think the architects I know have scarce a thing to learn on professional behaviour from them, not because the trainings are in both cases as high, but because they are as scarcely professionals as the practicalities of being a professional demand of them.

Of course I agree in that popular homes/houses have not been designed in general by architects. In this light the architect becomes an agent of ordinances preventing owners of wanting what they want to do. They feel the assurance of quality of the constructor is enough (in what they may be wrong, al enlightened architects hope). In any case the perception is for these people (most surely more than half of those that develop own houses) the architect being obstacle and cost more than help.

I frankly gladly leave all these people follow their wishes ... experience may be for them satisfactory or not, and so they may be another time be considering if it is worth to use our services.

Some of the realities described in the discussion are local. Spanish architects are -as well- trained as structural engineers and held responsible of the structures. Those well trained don't see a structural engineer in their life except if coming with the project under the owner umbrella.

I frankly think that what has caused much damage to architects are some architects and other people with conflicting interests. I am not thinking on architects having had failures due to poor training and ability (these being proportionally few respect big failures), but those of poor professional morality. It is a world problem the corruption of the councilmen and staff, and developers are too willing to pay what to them are just small bribes (and there are corrupt architects in council’s staffs, in my last work as a consultant to another architect I have been said by him one architect of the council is taking more of what I will be paid -and with preference- by just not obstructing the development of a small supermarket shop, where such practice is of course illegal).

I for example am friend to some young developers. This could be an interesting opportunity to maybe work ... except their projects go to a team known for decades be in collusion with people and architects within the council.

Majors themselves make covert-bribe works/developments outside their areas, for amounts staggering to everyone but maybe the bigger developers. Big moneys love between them so much there's always the likelihood the big works go to someone not likely to do the work well, but one wanting to stay mute in front of every aberration passing in front of his/her eyes.

In this frame, and it is astoundingly global -I have been told the same or akin things happen in NY, and read of other important US towns to be the case- the more professional architects have but the possibility of working for others less able and far less moral.

So, the practicalities of getting works developed make that managers know who is to be bribed, and owners be willing to do so at once. The architect is left as one to just obey and take the liability.

Then, the big developers are quite likely at least second generation, and in these times they have an architect in the family. I bet they are not the more competent, but in any case are likely to employ staff to cover their lacks… at the more miserable wage they can afford. A dream repeteadly portraited the last decade in the ads for architect’s work is the search for architects wanting to sign works for a wage maybe in the order of the cost of the mere liability insurance they would be wanting to sign to soundly cover their risks. In other cases they want not even the sign … only that you work for entirely incompetent colleagues that sign everything and since you are to perceive miserable wages they are able to cover liability and make a profit.

As a conclusion I would say that what architects have done badly over the years is not having prevented the things that above I have described.

However, this is not at all surprising, for every kind of injustice I see is rampant, and all seem to act as if such things are not happening. A small drug trafficker is more likely to earn more money that an architect whose actual professional training exceeds 20 years. In this light, people are maybe getting even worthier buildings than they are paying for ... except because debts one way or another come to be paid.

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