March 27, 2013
A Transition in Architecture

In times where the top 1% of Americans garnishes 40% of the country’s wealth, and the bottom 80% of Americans split 7% of that wealth, stratification of political social and economic power has built to a point where only two kinds of people exist: Bosses, those who have an agenda and who, to the best of their ability, gather the people and resources necessary to see their will be done; and employees, those whom among other resources are gathered together to work towards a boss’s agenda. 

For far too long now, Architecture has been a profession of employees –professionals who serve the highest bidder.  In this, three groups have characteristically initiated projects in the built environment: developers, businesses, and governments.  Almost always, one or more of these groups approaches an architect with an issue, dream, desire, or obstacle.  Upon which the architect goes to work designing a solution.  Without intrinsic concern for the development of the built environment these same three groups have become its leaders.  However, why must architects wait for an invitation from these three? Do we not see problems in our own neighborhoods?

In regards to the built environment, the time has come when the architect must walk a different path and transition from employee –problem solver, to boss –problem identifier.  Our challenge becomes cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit necessary to develop a new business model and organize the social political and economic stakeholders needed to see our visions become reality.  When we are finally liberated from service to the big three, architects can begin to ask their own questions, pursue their own agendas, and regain sway over development of the built environment.