I recently became the new Editor for the Dallas AIA magazine. This is a really awesome opportunity. The magazine is just now going to a large 60+ page glossy format and the internal people who make the magic happen are exceptional professionals that I already enjoy working with. So here's a sneak peak at my first "Letter from the Editor," which was fun to write at the beginning but quickly began to feel like a homework assignment for English Comp II back in college. Ugh Deadlines!
Our turbulent economy right now might actually be a good thing for architecture. Let me explain. When money is flowing during prosperous times, people don't take the time to really think about the quality of what they are purchasing. We accept a more disposable economy and don't focus on the long-term characteristics of what we're buying or building. When I say this I'm generalizing about the overall built environment. I know that there are always a select group of clients that insist on well-designed projects; but generally, cheap money leads to developers and clients settling and building the faster, cheaper thing that will turn into profit the fastest. When money is tight, people begin to scrutinize how things are really put together.
It may be that a recession makes people stand up and take a closer look at what they're spending their money on because every penny really begins to count. It's at this time that architects really add value. The cookie-cutter buildings that scatter our suburban landscapes begin to look like what they are--poor solutions that were allowed to happen because money was cheap, the client didn't care enough, the architect wasn't pushed enough, and the community didn't hold people accountable enough to demand "good" design.
The fact that what we're now facing is probably a global recession may mean that even mundane things find better design. Darwinism in the products we buy may mean that, where once we would buy something knowing that it wouldn't last beyond the next season, now we begin to look again at quality and durability and….. design! Trying times are sometimes the impetus for renewal.