Who and what is an architect?

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Daniel Libeskind Is No Architect – thoughtful post about the use of the title ‘architect’, what it means to be an architect, and whether only licensed and registered practitioners should be called architects of buildings.

There’s a debate within architectural circles (building architecture) about who can legitimately be identified as an architect.  The concern is whether all the hard work, time, and expertise that goes into becoming a licensed, registered architect is being devalued by a freer use of the title.  At its rather bewildering extreme, this argument leads to highly regarded practitioners like Daniel Libeskind and Renzo Piano being denied that title in print, at least in the UK.

The authors of the above post don’t mince words:

The effort to criminalize alternate uses of the word, and to chastise those designers who use it, is a desperate grasp to retain relevance. And it utterly fails, conveying instead a false sense of superiority that only matters to other architects. And the world is not listening. In fact, the negative tone of the conversation likely alienates any supporters who might ordinarily agree with the overall point that legal licensure is necessary for public safety when it comes to designing buildings.

The presumed erosion of the stature of the word “architect” is, at its root, pure paranoia. Architects (of buildings) are now struggling to hold onto their identity as the words “designer” and “architect” become more expansive and more accepted in new uses. If this doomed fight continues, architects (of buildings) will likely sentence themselves to a reduced role in the development of the built environment and the future of design. An insular, closed community that fails to adapt to outside influences can find itself in dangerous territory.

They end with a plea for an attitude of inclusion within the architectural profession, for broader thinking, and for exposure to creative ideas across disciplines.

Fact is, it doesn’t matter much what we are called. What matters is the truth of what we are doing, building, and creating for our world.

What do you think?

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