I think I’ve detected a change over the last few years. One of the most unexpected, but most welcome, parts of being an architect seems to be happening less and less. You know the type of thing – when you tell someone new that you’re an architect and they think that’s really cool. I seem to be getting a lot less of that. It hurts a bit.
There seem to me to be 3 possible explanations:
We are getting less cool
We were not cool in the first place, and people are gradually realising it
We’re cool. People are wrong
Like me, most architects are going to want to discard number 1 as nonsense (although fewer architects on motorbikes and more on BIM says otherwise).
So it comes down to 2 and 3.
The answer must be 3 right? Somehow the public are not being presented with the right image of an architect anymore. Maybe the image of an architect in popular culture has shifted – is it fair for architects to have been stripped of their artistry and reduced to technical draw-bots? (Don’t answer!) So it’s popular culture’s fault, it’s home renovation and property show’s fault, Sarah Beeny’s fault, and Grand Design’s fault – yes that’s it, it feels good to blame other people, we’ll blame Kevin McCloud. They never show architects in a positive light on that show. Problem solved.
Except it’s not. There’s something about point 2 that keeps drawing me back. I can hardly bear to read it. ‘We were not cool in the first place, and people are gradually realising it.’
Oh shit. It’s 2 isn’t it. People are figuring it out.
How did they ever overlook the CAD keyboard shortcuts, the OCD attention to detail, the long hours chained to a drawing board figuring out car park layouts, the unhealthily detailed knowledge of toilet sizes, or timber wear layers, or RAL colour references, (It’s Like Ice Cream) and Part L of the building regs, and the low pay anyway? Especially the low pay. How did anyone ever think we were cool?!
I need to do something about it, so I’m going to do what all architects do when they feel overwhelmed with a bout of un-coolness. – I’m going to do a competition. And I’ve picked a cool one! Right slap bang in the middle of Casablanca. You can’t get cooler than that.