Architecture is suffering a crisis of confidence. More and more mainstream figures in the field are admitting that the profession has lost its way. As I previously mentioned, Frank Gehry, the world’s most famous architect, recently said that “98% of everything that is built and designed today is pure sh*t. There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else.” Architectural thought-leaders seconded and thirded him. And he’s since been fourthed by another.
Last year, recognizing general public’s low opinion of architects, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the trade organization for the profession, launched an effort to “reposition” the industry by hiring marketing and brand-identity firms. (You can find a PDF of one of the Institute’s public opinion polls here.)
And now The New York Times, the ultimate arbiter of elite opinion, recently published an op-ed that declared, “For too long, our profession [architecture] has flatly dismissed the general public’s take on our work, even as we talk about making that work more relevant with worthy ideas like sustainability, smart growth and ‘resilience planning.’” The authors are not kooks on the fringe but architect Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen, former executive editor of Metropolis magazine, both of them very much in the establishment.