Architects annoy me

Architects go through a lot of training. Tons. Typically a truly intense 5 year program, occasionally followed by graduate school. They need to have a flair for aesthetics as well as engineering. It requires a lot of skill. And then they frequently run their own businesses, which is a whole area that I know even less about.

Architects do a lot of great things, and are creative individuals. But they annoy the crap out of me.

For centuries, architects were the closest thing civilization had to planners. The architect would deal with site access and community spaces outside of the building. They would do the landscaping too. These days there are specific landscape architects and planners to do these things. Yet architects still think they run the world. Coyly, behind the scenes. They snicker to themselves knowing how large of an impact they have on society, going mostly unknown (exemption: starchitect Frank Ghery, among others), but wielding huge influence on how humans behave. They are “in the know,” and the rest of the world is not.

My design prof at grad school was a grad of the U’s arch school when Ralph Rapson was dean (I admit, this is a genuinely big deal). His class started with 97 students — only 3 graduated. Problem is, this is how he introduces himself, thirty years later, and pretty much sums up his attitude towards “other” people. “You aren’t as cool as I am.”

Today I had hosted an event for work, based on a design competition that we submitted to the architecture community. It was a huge success. I was making small talk with one of the entrants, who didn’t even know planning was a separate degree. Or why you’d really need it at all since, “architects do most planning anyways.” So. Offensive. Of course, this kid was in his mid20s, had a super think Range accent, and likely only did a 4 year arch degree from UND or Duluth or something. All of the arrogance, none of the skills. Unfortunately, established architects with full credentials likely feel the same way.



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