Our Built Environment in the Hands of Mediocrity, Media

The theoretic exploits of a few brilliant architects [mentioned in “The Futures of Architecture”] seem to ultimately serve a small constituency. Considering the overall condition of the planet, and the horrific direction so much of the built environment is heading towards, it’s more than unfortunate that designers continue to play games to entertain themselves, their clients, and their peers with physical expressions of abstract “artistic” musings. Contributions from these projects last as long as any art gallery exhibit in Chelsea.

Even more frightening, the majority of construction is at the mercy of architects and their clients, who occupy the bulging midsection of the bell curve known as “mediocrity.” They cannot see beyond nostalgia or a quick buck, much less design competent, sustainable solutions for individuals, communities, and the natural world.

The genius at the far end of the curve should courageously steward an evolution of the very mechanisms that produce our built environment, rather than toy with aesthetic flirtation and indulgence with their high-profile, high-budget commissions.

Many in the profession and academia might adopt an architectural version of the Hippocratic Oath, and truly commit to serve humanity with their tremendous insight and talent.

More architects should understand their power, and become peaceful (but vigilant) warriors.

Angela Marie Benson
Burnt Ranch, California

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