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 …