Posted by Charles on September 16, 2003 at 04:33:21:
In Reply to: Marketing the Profession to the Public posted by Elizabeth Geary-Archer on September 14, 2003 at 17:59:03:
We, as architects, need to realize and understand that the general public does not know what we do, or why. In the late '50s the profession "lost", gave-up or abdicated the one major tie to the general public-- single-family housing. The fees were too high [based on making a minimal profit] for the intimate and long arduous process of really designing for real family. The profession needs to express and show that its works touch the public in many ways, every day-- schools, churches, stores, offices, hospitals, parks, etc. in ways not readily realized by the public. We need to show that "architecture" is not wholly contained in Gehry, Eiseman, Johnson, Graves, or even Wright. Neither is it represtnted totally in the published profession mags, or even Architectural Digest [who buys that at the supermarket for "fun" reading?] The profession needs to re-connect and reach out to the public, and the very lame ads run on some TV stations are useless and meaningless-- not informative and attracting [we ain't gettin' jobs through them!]. The public needs to see that there is true value in the services available from the profession. So turn your presentation inside out-- i.e., approach your topics from a genuine public point of view, and NOT from the profession's view. We are in trouble and have been for years because we have allowed ourselves to become not a needed or required profession [like medicine and law] but a profession of the odd, the bizarre, the unusual, the not-understandable, and something far removed from the every day life of the general public. In some way we need to "intervene" in every elementary school crurriculum to show the kids and future "publicers" what we can do for them, and indeed, are doing for them. Wow! what a challenge! Let's begin by understanding that the current situation was our creation and not that of someone else. We need, from the national AIA on down, to distance ourselves from our own haughty, elitist, know-it-all attitude, and become helpers in the road to better lives. We, withothers contribute to very little when we take commissions for houses in "home shows" that approach $500,000-- what portion of the public an afford, understand or properly use these? Why not help with houses under 2,000 sq.ft.? Why not active and truly helpful booths at shows to address and help people with their projects? Why not good, understandable and very informative literature about the profession, what it does, and how you can be helped by it-- all from the viewpoint of the public, and NOT us!
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