Posted by Peter B on March 08, 2003 at 11:05:20:
In Reply to: Architect who...? My contractor does it better posted by Sunaabh on March 07, 2003 at 10:04:21:
I am interested in your comments "blackmailed...from within" and "hardly differentiate between Archeology and Architecture" Please elaborate.
As for the rest, let me say:
Your experience does not sound like ours. Our firms helps find economical and efficient solutions from commercial buildings to custom homes to affordable homes; for clients from developers to non-profits to individuals, to contractors. Contractors around here generally do not want to produce plans. They often don't even want to talk about costs until someone shows them a plan. There is a good place in the business for design/build and "spec" builders. The quality of the design will depend on their experience.
We do like to work along with contractors if they are in the process early. We can find solutions together that everyone is happy with. Contractors do not have the training, perspective, or experience that architects do. The experience of builders is valued greatly, don't misunderstand me; but they do not always come from a "design" point of view. They are successful in putting a building project together and making it a reality. Yes, they work with the costs of construction on an intimate, daily basis and we always listen to their ideas.
There is also a place for the residential designer. Still, I believe that there is a misconception that architects are only for the flights of fancy and that a residential designer is only for the basics. The opposite is often very evident in both cases. Architects are called upon to find low-cost, straight-forward solutions all the time. Expensive or affordable, their designs should work and feel better.
Of course our practice is a small one in a small community; but I think you will also find large firms deal with cost and time realities as stringently as any builder, especially when called upon to build low cost housing and similar projects. Architects also do pro-bono work and research in all areas of housing from green building to grass-roots local solutions in poorer areas of the world; and other architects learn from these efforts on an ongoing basis--perhaps to apply it in their practice on someone's humble single family home.
I would think the AIA would be charged with getting the message out-that there is more to architects than cosmetics and high fees. Is it all "Architecture"? I don't know, but "architects" are doing a lot of different things. Some even bang on nails.
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