Professional Stereotypes


One of the discussions on Twitter during last Friday’s Ask The Architect was about people’s experience of stereotypes and how they can affect a profession, so I thought I would follow it up with this post.

So what are some of the Architect stereotypes?  Off the top of my head I have listed some below which can affect how the public sees us.  You are more than welcome to add to the list with your comments.

 1 Architects are expensive or a luxury

Imagine trying to order food in a restaurant when only the wine menu has prices on it.  How would you know if the wine was good value or not when you don’t know how expensive the food is?

Architects are used on all sorts of projects that vary in size and cost and we can help the client get better value for money from their budget.  The cost of an Architect on a project is normally relative to the overall value of the job.  However, as we are often first to be approached and first to give a fee proposal the client has no other costs to compare our fee projection with.  This is where a lot of sucking of teeth can occur!

2 Architects specialise in modern buildings or new houses or offices or public buildings, etc (delete as required)

As a creative person an Architect should be able to turn their hand to design anything.  The reason some companies or individuals specialise is the same reason why some musicians play blues or some novelists write thrillers, they like it and are good at it.

Obviously there are commercial reasons involved with specialising in certain project types but a specialist practice often undertakes other projects too.

So why do people think we are like surgeons and do the same thing for our entire career?

3 Architects ignore their clients and design what they want

So how would this work?  I don’t even need to use the restaurant example to show you that this doesn’t make sense.

Part of our job is to advise our client in their best interest and this can lead to having to say what people don’t want to hear.  For example, a client might like to have an ornate wall mirror in a minimalist kitchen, or one of their design ideas contravenes legal protections.  As a result, we end up being the bearer of bad news by saying things like ‘Sorry you can’t do that’ or ‘Do you think that is appropriate to your brief?’

Everyone has a stereotype and I could go on but my black turtle neck is back from the dry cleaners!

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