Originally written on July 23, 2013, here are some thoughts just as relevant today.
I am saddened by the gullibility of persons in accepting the skills and abilities of “established” professionals, merely because they have either been in the profession for a long time or because of their “notoriety.” The fact is, most of us fail to question the real merits of a person’s skill and capabilities. We think what we read must be true and assume that the “critics” should know better than we. And when we actually see the work of a “celebrated” personality, we think they must be good because they are talked about; even though, in our heart and mind, we find the work atrocious and meaningless. But since the critics say it’s marvelous and “innovative”, they MUST be right, for they must know more than we. Or do they…?
Are we so trite and ignorant of our own capacity to judge, that we accept campus buildings, that look like a trash heap of moldy boxes (Facebook Campus) or a maze of stiff clotheslines and jewelry cartons (Google Campus) or a sterile, oversized wedding band (Apple Computer,) all, at the insidious cost of billions of dollars, that could be better used to uplift our quality of education, economically strengthen our creative individual initiative, and mitigate our state of increasing social alienation?
The time has come, where we must no longer design for enclosing white-collarites and avid computer automatons by the thousands but design for the freedom to be unfettered by a labyrinth of team secrecy and exclusivity (Apple Computer, et al) design, to usher in a new era of self-independence, unbridled imagination, and daring.
I am disappointed, not merely in the lack of real design skill in notable architects and designers, but, also, in the narrow-mindedness and lack of self-initiative, to dare to create an entirely new language of design that truly engages every human being’s latent individuality, that speaks to our collective social dilemma, our fragile state of health and social integrity, and our sad and frightening path to the future, fraught, soon, with probable environmental and economic collapse.
Architects are prostitutes to egotistic image-making and the public pays the cost, in meaningless and dysfunctional places of living, work, education and worship. The client is foolishly convinced by social acceptability and published notoriety; and so, the continuous charade marches forth, with its fanfare of critical hyperbole and circus-like machinery of publicity.
Where is the architect that addresses the human condition? Where is the artifex that speaks of human feeling and emotional integrity? Where is the fighter of human dignity? Where is the individual of courage who dares to give a voice to the silent, to life’s diverse organisms that are extinguished without rights, to the meek who dare not express their human insights, for fear of retribution?
If ever there was a time for an individual, an architect, who can re-shape the world, with a new language of honesty, insight, compassion, and interdisciplinary understanding, and whose imagination can ignite the ambivalent mediocrity of the world, whose multi-dimensional insights create a beacon of hope for all, now, is the time for that individual to stand, and deliver!