It has been a tough time for the profession. Projects have been put on hold, layoffs have been unrelenting and a stagnant industry has put us all on edge. Putting aside the data you’ll realize that regardless of the economy we work in the one industry that continues to be admired the world over. Strangely, admired by almost everyone except by the very people that create it. This Valentine’s Day it is time for us to fall in love again.
Put down the coffee for a moment and spend minutes reminding yourself why you love architecture and, if you feel so bold, let the world know. It could be a building you worked on, a client who made you think differently or a community you’ve helped to transform. It could be the work of a fellow practitioner or perhaps a great space that inspired you to become the person you are today.
I knew when I was six years old. As a kid I used to wander off from the bleak concrete confines of South London, even occasionally ditch school to discover well thought out structures and public spaces that brought life to a community. A decade later while interning for my first firm, I became enamored with the process and the huge hurdles it took to turn a dream to reality. In the late Nineties my career took a left turn and for the past thirteen years I’ve been part of a movement focused on engaging the expertise and experience of the industry for those less fortunate and in communities similar to the one I was brought up in. Every day I get to see architects, engineers and builders working together shaping the environment for the betterment of others. Despite what some in our profession say it is not easy work but it is easy to tell why my architects love architecture. They see it every day and thanks to them, so do I.
In the profession of architecture very few of us get to pierce the skies with our creations or get the opportunity to galvanize a community after tragedy or strife. The majority work in the places we live and spend the better part of our careers trying to shape that environment. We care less about inches and more about impact. A true professional know when they have done a great job and continues to push themselves to new levels of achievement. On the rare occasion we get to be apart of a building that stirs desire and wonderment in the hearts and minds of our fellow man. That is the essence of the architect.
So today, take a step back to realize what an incredible job we have. An architect is not an artist but an optimistic realist. Working with a diverse number of stakeholders, the architect extracts need, concern, and dreams, to create a beautiful yet tangible solution that is loved by the users and the community at large. Our work has the ability to effect the lives of billions and rather than cynically fighting with each other for the 1% lets work together to restore the pride of the profession and find ways to bring great design for the seven billion people that long for great spaces to live, work and play.
For the next 4 months we are running an “I Love Architecture” Campaign and I hope you can join us. My name is Cameron and I love architecture.
Co-Founder and Chief Eternal Optimist, Architecture for Humanity.
What Can You Do?
1. Tell us why you love architecture?
Send me a couple of sentences that start ‘I Love Architecture Because…’
Upload a 45 second online video to youtube or vimeo explaining why you love either a piece of architecture or being an architect.
2. Let ’em know you love them.
Send us a love letter to your favorite architect OR building, we’ll help get it to them. You can even be anonymous.
3. Make a playlist for architects
Got Spotify? make a playlist and we’ll link it. Here is one I made while writing Design Like You Give A Damn 2, we will post one for architects.
4. Spend a night in with Architecture.
Send us your list of best films about architecture. minus points for The Fountainhead.
5. Spend a night out with Architecture.
Send us a list of the most romantic places to take a date to. Grand Central at the stroke of midnight anyone?
6. Become an Ambassador of Love (for Architecture)
We can’t do this alone. If you really care about architecture then help elevate the conversation and join a growing roster of ambassadors. Sign up by emailing with Kristen Schlott, our Project Ambassador and Curatorial Cupid.
Frontline/The World June 2008