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Ties in with the thread of discussion of the post by Stepienybarno “Las fortalezas del arquitecto”

2

On architect training we refer to the discussion sparked by serie #Eduarq10

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On the Public Services Act, we refer the discussions begun in this organization by José María Echarte and Alberto Alonso

Put an Architect in your life

Benidorm

Benidorm. Source: Wikipedia

As author Antonio Muñoz Molina said in a radio interview a few years ago referring to the architectural and urban design legacy of the developmentalism era, “Spain is getting ugly”. It is certainly true that, the past fifty years have borne witness to a deterioration of the urban landscape and the environmental quality of open spaces and landscape areas, both coastal and inland. Although it may seem incredible, during the long years of rampant development there were no architects in many small town governments, and this remains true even to this day.

Not seeking to lapse into simplistic generalization, we could say that there are some characteristics that can be attributed the average architect which would align him or her with a number of the different occupational profiles in demand by society. A inclination towards beauty is one. And this, one should note –however elementary it may seem at first – is a markedly differentiating feature. The concern with achieving an aesthetic appearance, with proportionality and harmony, attention to detail and its relation to the whole, an obsession with texture, form, and colour … all make the architect the ideal professional to advise, orient, and guide design decisions. The quest for excellence is another key characteristic of the ordinary architect. Schools of Architecture, in the discipline of competitions (when it was studied), in education through the reading lists, promoted continuous study and comparison with high quality models and  benchmarks, and standards were high for concepts, graphics and briefs. Architects research, explore and develop solutions seeking to provide originality and surprise without relinquishing efficiency, economy, or functionality. Capacity for hard work and sacrifice1 is another virtue needed in a profession where the basic university education is renoun for its rigour, owing not only to the difficulty and the length of the subjects and curricula but also to their unique combination of disparate areas of study.  This requires students’ to multi-task, which builds character and leaves a mark that all of us in the profession understand.2

These capabilities are part of our professional DNA, but they are not easy to explain to outsiders because they are so much our own, so inherent, that we lack the perspective to clearly and dispassionately explain them.

Unfortunately, they do not seem to be included in the stereotypes that society uses to identify us. There is nothing more distressing than a mismatch between the image one projects and what one really is. And this seems to be a serious problem suffered by the architectural profession: people do not really understand what we do or what we are all about, and a very limited image of what we do is being perpetuated. Society does not dream along with us, it just trains a tribe of dreamers, purportedly to create beauty from excellence and effort. However, ultimately, only a very small percentage of the work involves this. To top it all off, a large amount of potential areas of activity pass us by to the benefit of other degree-holding professionals, all without any help from the Public Services Act…3

Today, more than ever in the history of our profession, it seems that we need arguments to defend what we do, to have a recognizable identity that sets us apart from others. We need collective marketing to project our identity onto society through all types of communications platforms,4 done with professional rigour, imagination and, why not, a sense of humour and self-criticism. We have so little charisma that television series or films are not even interested in us (unlike doctors and lawyers).  Other than fleeting mentions, the image that people have of what we do and who we are is quite blurry.

¿What reasons can we offer potential clients for them to choose to use our services? Beyond organizing ministerial meetings and endogamous conventions, what can we do to enhance the image of our profession in society?


Text translated by Beth Gelb
Notas de página
1

Ties in with the thread of discussion of the post by Stepienybarno “Las fortalezas del arquitecto”

2

On architect training we refer to the discussion sparked by serie #Eduarq10

3

On the Public Services Act, we refer the discussions begun in this organization by José María Echarte and Alberto Alonso

Autor:
- Luis Llopis i Eva Chacón - @luisbonsai, arquitecto ETSAM 1992: Tengo varios másteres y bla, bla. Me apasiona la arquitectura de Fallingwater, viajar tomando apuntes en mi cuaderno de dibujo, y desconectar sumergiéndome en el mundo submarino. @evabonsai, arquitecta ETSAG, 2006: Yo también tengo másteres, doctorado, etc. Soy curiosa por naturaleza, amante de la 'cocina' arquitectónica y la buena música. Si no me encuentras, búscame subida a alguna cubierta, árbol o montaña con buenas vistas. Nos vemos en las redes y en www.bonsaiarquitectos.es

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