The Eye of the Fish

October 12, 2009

From Right House to Drawing Board.

Hmm – yes I know the order doesn’t seem right – houses before drawing – but no this isn’t a lesson on architectural conservation documentation. Rather it’s an observation that new groups, organisations, and commercial companies are entering a territory once confined to that of professional institutes, and providing so-called disinterested, impartial advice.
Perhaps it all started a bit earlier? Those of you frequenting Wellington’s architectural dens of iniquities will remember Wellington Architectural Week 2005. The highlight was the debate where Mitre 10 Dream Home defenders (appropriately garbed) won the day and the moot that “Mitre 10 Dream Home does more for architecture than the N.Z.I.A. Architectural Profession.”  Their conclusion suggested that powers were afoot which surpassed the more conventionally legitimised versions of architectural practice.

Yeap – the architectural-cringe-factor had emerged as a winner.  DIY, TV ads with large hairy men mistaking purple-painted interiors for Corb’s signature “look”, decoration with a capital D, and an invasion of flamboyant style gurus all appeared, TV cameras following closely …

But those times are over. The easy to dismiss Reality TV “home decorating” programmes have been surpassed with more earnest, helpful and frequently sustainable, web-fomation with all the steps to needed to design and build a house.

Current starters include: Right House, Consumer Build, and the more recently advertised DrawingBoard – all spouting independent advice – the kind of advice that traditionally architects are supposed to render. So yes – this is the proverbial elephant in the room.

Well actually there are a couple. The first might be: Why aren’t the NZIA filling this gap? – or must their independent advice always come at a price? and secondly: If this kind of web-formative advice is reliable, independent, and good – doesn’t this somewhat diminish the traditional role architects are argued to play in society? or put it another way … perhaps it’s time architects and their institute caught up with the twenty-first century …

Super Enacto Man
12 - 10 - 09

Well, if they don’t, then they will just be a byline in history.
see this:

“What is a business architect?”
“An ENACT Business Architect is a person who is able to create a vision for business owners. They engage the people of the small business to understand the opportunity that exists through working with ENACT. They utilise their skill, experience and qualifications to “make a difference” in the outcomes that can be achieved by implementing structure, systems and measurement as the core foundation of business growth.

“An ENACT Business Architect takes a step back, looks at the way work is being directed and accomplished, and identifies, designs and oversees the implementation of improvements that are harmonious with the nature and strategy of the existing business or organization.

“ENACT Business Architecture is a combination of coaching, consulting, and analysing taken to a new level, with a proven model developed over many years with a track record of success. Just as a building Architect pulls together different ideas within the organisation, utilises the existing resources and produces a blue print for the future, so too does ENACT business architects.

“ENACT New Zealand proudly supports a team of Business Architects who are highly trained and competent in the area of business systems, planning, structure and measurement.”

14 - 10 - 09

You perhaps overlook the fact that many of these supposedly well meaning web site are either well sponsered by or in fact greated by the likes of Mr James Hardie and his ilke. The so called future proff building gang do indeed give excellent advice for reducing energy cost etc – all the while toting their product as the perfect (only) solution.
If you suggest this is to play some role in surpassign the position of the architect then you need to look up the definition of both architec and architecture (there are several so take your pick).

These website providers have either an agendha of their own – or follow the party line of the generous and knowledgable sponsors (Drawing board web site – check top right corner & the entire footer of that 1st page) and who are there so called experts – a very pc femaile designer in trend design steriotpyical glasses.
What are there qualification to impart such advice.

Bottom Line architects are impartial, highly trained, critical, analitical and treat each and every project as unique (which it is) such information can not be plastered on a website with a big NZIA stamp to “brand our architectural product”.

14 - 10 - 09

… and my apologies on the unique spelling

14 - 10 - 09

I was enjoying that odd spelling, thinking of the “femaile” as a new word worthy of exploration. But yes: The Drawing Board is evidently just another advert for James Hardies in disguise (and not a very subtle disguise).

I think a way to test them out would be to fire them a question for which the only logical answer would be ” a Winstone Gib product” and then see if they still persist in nominating Hardies.

60 MPa
14 - 10 - 09

There are also the energy efficiency agencies trying to get in on the design stage (BRANZ)
and the Negawatt crowd
Architects are needed more than ever, I reckon

Completely off-topic, there is currently up on the Granny Herald site a rather good slideshow of the Auckers architectural award winners

Dunno about you lot but some of this I find rather drool-inducing

14 - 10 - 09

60 – you’re not wrong at all – the old Granny Herald indeed does have a fab new set of web clothes on – but more to the point, they actually have an interest in showing decent design up on their website in the first place!

When was the last time that the Dom Post had any interest in showing architecture ? They need a rocket up them to get off their butts and show an interest in “the mother of all arts”.

Time for a bet, me thinks, that I would like to be losing. Hats off to the Dom Post if they get to print more than one obligatory photo when they run the Wellington NZIA Award winners. But I’ll wager a chocolate Fish that we get a maximus of 1 pic published (not counting NZIA adverts). And I’ll go further: I bet we get nothing at all on the DomPost website. I’ll happily wager an entire box of chocolate Fish to anyone who can convince the Dom to run them on their website.

15 - 10 - 09

“Bottom Line architects are impartial, highly trained, critical, analitical …”
Are things this straight forward? I’m sure I’ve read a history of professions somewhere that argues they were all set up to protect their own financial/market interests – certainly the NZIA’s been very patch protective in recent years – not that impartial?
… and do you think that every registered architect lives up to your “highly trained, critical, analitical” list? No guarantee me thinks …

15 - 10 - 09

… and how can the NZIA be impartial when they are sponsored by places like Resenes?

15 - 10 - 09

Have you seen Stuff this morning?

The Nelson Architecture Awards.
A slideshow no less.
About 10 photos – mostly from Irving Jack the best practice down that way.

So there we go.
Choc fishies all round!
We can do pick ups…..

15 - 10 - 09

Nelson Arch Awards – great ! See the influence this blog has?! The whole of the South Island is reading it too.

Meanwhile, my original bet was re the Dom Post, and the Wellington Awards. I’ll not shirk on the Chocolate fish if they come up trumps on that!

14 - 11 - 09

Chocolate fish time??

14 - 11 - 09

Indeed it is. No less than 3 photos in the paper, although only one photo in the Online thing. They’re still hopeless in my eyes, although they have a revamp on Monday and we’ll see what happens then.

I wonder how we do this chocolate fish thing. Must go and buy some first I guess…

14 - 11 - 09

How about this from the Herald re the Western Architecture Awards –
Sure makes the DomPost’s one photo on the website for over thirty awards look weak.

16 - 11 - 09

Herald outdoes Dompost yet again!!!