standard american strip mall
When looking at history, even briefly, it is readily apparent that the arts play a critical role in creating and upholding the stories of culture and humanity. Without them, we have little basis from which to understand where we come from or who we are. Currently, one of my foremost concerns is the state of American architecture in this context of history building. With the devastating blow to housing and construction during this global recession, and the majority of architecture lending itself to being a business venture, what we are left with is a design culture that cannot be trusted to be a vital contributor; by the people who work in it or the people who invest in it.
In my limited years of practice, I have been continually frustrated with the tremendous challenges that arise when trying to get a project built which has the foremost goal of contributing to our cultural fabric. Innovative designs are difficult to get permitted, funded by banks, and are generally more expensive to build due to standards in construction. Therefore, what has become the norm are practices that subscribe to standards established by city officials, banks, and developers. By surrendering such authority, architecture has let itself become a slave to outside forces; forces that have completely failed.
It is my hope that Architecture can pull itself out of this quagmire with the understanding that we must think of ourselves as more than just an assembly of skills and business deals. We will need to have faith in the value of our profession, educate our clients, and fight for poetic integrity. Otherwise, what are we doing this for?