If you have ever looked at an architect’s website, you might be tempted to chuckle. Or perhaps you would like to scream. I mean, I love architects, and I want to scream.
you’ll find that you – the buyer – don’t even feature on most architect’s websites.
Of course, you are searching the web because you need an architect, but you quickly find that you – the buyer – don’t even feature on most architect’s websites. Usually, what you get is a bunch of pictures accompanied by inane text. Here is a random example: “Our clients have recently moved in at the Point Nepean Residence and are enjoying the perfectly framed views over the Portsea foreshore. This house captures some of the best vistas that the area has to offer.” So what?
Does the average architecture practice address you and your problems on their website? Do they tell you clearly how you can buy their services, and what you will get if you do? Do you even know if they provide services to residents, or renovators, or global conglomerates? Who knows!
But there are even more important issues at stake
Even more important than their lack of commercial nous is the absence of architects’ voices in the most important debates of our times: climate change, traffic congestion, agglomeration (lovely word, isn’t it. It means high populations densities). Here in Melbourne, we are in the middle of a scorching summer and there is a fierce debate about the future of energy. The Bureau of Meteorology has determined that the temperatures are hotter and hot spells longer than any on record and, officially, caused by man-made climate change.
Where is the debate about the design of houses, suburbs and cities …?
Everyone is talking about the energy required to run our air conditioners. Where is the debate about the design of houses, suburbs and cities that mean air-conditioning is the only way to cool ourselves?
Nowhere. Or, in the magazines that are read by architects. Architecture & Design has done a good series of articles recently, such as Suburbs suffering the most from heat. But their market, according to their website? “For more than 50 years, Architecture & Design has been an invaluable resource for the Australian builder, commercial architect, and design professional.”
It’s up to us “dreamers” to get the architects talking
Dream Planet is not for architects to showcase their projects; it’s for us, the active citizens of cities everywhere, to hold architects and urban designers to account. To coax, plead and demand that they step up and take their place as city-changers. So if you know an architect, tell them to speak up. Give them this story.
Beg them to tell the world that they have a solution to hot, energy-guzzling buildings by:
- changing the BBQ conversation so that the debate isn’t about the source of energy but in reducing demand for it
- ringing the radio talkback shows when the politicians are claiming it’s all about more energy
- writing to the papers and websites and telling us what we need to know
- pushing back on their clients’ briefs so they can design for the planet’s future
And if they are too busy?
And if that is all too hard because they are working long hours getting their work done, tell them to give me a call and tell me what they think, and I will write it and publish it here on Dream Planet. That way, I won’t have to scream: “Hey, architects! Please stop talking to yourselves and start talking to the rest of the planet.”