Friday, January 9, 2015

A Harsh Assessment of Architecture




I've been pleading with my architect clients for years to pay attention to the emergence of new virtual planning and design tools and, more importantly, the way those tools are being used to increase efficiency and productivity in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of facilities and infrastructure over time.  Too many of those clients continue to ignore the impact of these new tools and processes and too many of them are ceding their seat at the table with the owners to general contractors.  Why architects refuse to embrace these new tools and processes has vexed me, but I continue to work with stakeholders in the built industry - including architects - who are prepared to move forward and improve the built industry as a whole.

The article excerpted and linked below addresses the insular mindset of modern architecture and provides insights into the angst felt in the profession. The clash between the architect's vision, the owners needs and the contractors ability to build what the architect designs speaks to the need for additional collaboration on the front end of projects. Anyone interested in forming an integrated team to pursue their next project should give me a call.  Meanwhile, the article excerpted and linked below may be of interest to stakeholders in the built industry who wonder why architects continue to resist the practical nuts and bolts effect of virtual planning, design, construction, costing, scheduling, operations and maintenance empowered by the effective use of BIM tools in an integrated project delivery (IPD) environment.

Architecture is suffering a crisis of confidence. More and more mainstream figures in the field are admitting that the profession has lost its way. As I previously mentioned, Frank Gehry, the world’s most famous architect, recently said that “98% of everything that is built and designed today is pure sh*t. There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else.” Architectural thought-leaders seconded and thirded him. And he’s since been fourthed by another. 
Last year, recognizing general public’s low opinion of architects, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the trade organization for the profession, launched aneffort to “reposition” the industry by hiring marketing and brand-identity firms. (You can find a PDF of one of the Institute’s public opinion polls here.) 
And now The New York Times, the ultimate arbiter of elite opinion, recentlypublished an op-ed that declared, “For too long, our profession [architecture] has flatly dismissed the general public’s take on our work, even as we talk about making that work more relevant with worthy ideas like sustainability, smart growth and ‘resilience planning.’” The authors are not kooks on the fringe but architect Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen, former executive editor of Metropolis magazine, both of them very much in the establishment.




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James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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