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What do architects do?

A short philosophy by Kevin Korpela (© 2005 observatorydrive.com)

Architects and the things they do are sometimes not fully understood or recognized. However, in April 2005 (1) Douglas L.Steidl FAIA, 2005 President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), described quite clearly one role of architects in our world: architect as a community organizer. Douglas said:

"Our most formidable skill is our ability to capture abstract goals and turn them into tangible form. We also integrate multidisciplinary teams to work efficiently for a common goal. Bricks and mortar are the physical results of our work. But architects do more than create buildings.

We create communities.

Through our understanding of people and how they interact with their physical environment we add vision and value to the lives of our citizens."
An architect is an interesting type of design professional because an architect does not necessarily make only pretty pictures, although it is often thought that that is all we do. Rather, an architect gathers, organizes, designs and presents information with words and "pretty pictures" in a method that is clear, honest and straightforward, and offers lofty goals and reasonable options for clients, users and communities.


(1) The April 14, 2005 issue of the Internet newsletter The Angle, www.aia.org, summarized Dougles Steidl's testifimony in front of a subcommittee at the 109th Congress in Washington, D.C., in April 2005 to call upon Congress to expand incentives for brownfield revitalization this year because "more rapid progress is both possible and necessary on a vital national need."

Steidl said that, "We have long had an interest in finding imaginative and constructive uses for urban land that now lies fallow because of the residual contamination that is part of its industrial hertiage."

He continued, "...at a time when our nation is searching for solutions to sprawl these sites are the new frontier, bursting with commmunity potenital and economic hope...Brownfield reuse will increase the local tax base, create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, link city services, and extend environmental protection for all citizens. The most creative way to address this massive national need is to harness the power of private capital."

In his testimony to Congress, Steidl also described the role of an architect to help marshall efforts towards innovative uses for our new frontier.

© Kevin Korpela, www.observatorydrive.comô