Rubbish on TV? “Nothing new there!” And what’s that all got to do with Architecture and Design in Wellington? I hear you whisper from the back row of the cheap seats.
Well, there’s an advert on TV that has sure got the local (and national) architects riled. Amongst others, to be sure: but this one takes a cake. NZ house building company GJ Gardner has been prominently featuring a TV ad where the provocative line “What do you do if your architect keeps blowing your budget?” is answered by an effete little man saying “Get another one – or tear your hair out!” – presumably he is meant to be a designery-type employee of GJ Gardner. Apart from his baldy head, silly spectacles, flowery shirt, and sneery grimace, there is nothing to give it away that he might be an architect – but he does fulfill many of the stereotypes.
Architects do come in other shapes, sexes, sizes, and shirt colour you know! It’s always interesting when TV tries to depict an “artitet” – heat pumps have either a boring ex-cricketer or an architecty looking bald dude speaking very, very, quietly while stroking a cat – but it is seldom that an advert takes a direct broadside at the architects and even says they have their own architects. And that is the bit that has really got the Architects to boiling point. You see: GJ Gardner don’t employ any architects, and in NZ, it is illegal to call yourself an architect unless you actually are one. So why doesn’t anyone do anything about it? Slap them? Prosecute them? Boil them alive in cat soup?

Back in the UK, where it is also illegal to call yourself an architect unless you actually are one, the ARB there actively pursues and prosecutes people who naughtily call themselves architects – investigated 180 cases, with 3 successful prosecutions in the last year, but also helping remove 865 people in the Yellow Pages who were wrongly categorising themselves as architects. Seems that they have some teeth, and like to use them. Back here, the RAB seems weak and ineffectual by comparison, and the NZIA even more so. Probably nothing will happen. Probably, and I’m going out on a limb here, probably no one who was in line for an architect designed home would bother with a bunch like GJ Gardner. But really, who would ever know the RAB or the NZIA exist, unless they are already a member of one or the other organisation. They have virtually no public presence, and with no teeth, they are next to useless.

I’m more annoyed by continual advertising like the moronic yelling on Noel Leeming adverts, the thumping screaming on the Harvey Norman adverts, of the nutty woman on Big Save furniture, the whining high pitch of Briscoes, and the stupidity of drunken youths crashing their car and talking about how “That Shelley, she really likes you, you should ask her out” when clearly we all wish that he would just hurry up and die for drink-driving so stupidly. Most of all though I get annoyed when the Dom Post proudly strings up on the front page that Robert McNamara “the Architect of the Vietnam War” has died. He’s not an architect! Never was! He is a War Criminal!

There is a difference.

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