A great opportunity now exists for architects to broaden their professional responsibilities and again make themselves relevant to making buildings. Mainstream architectural culture in the US has taken the profession on a path of increasing irrelevance to the process of making buildings and our built environment. Architects have made themselves into building stylists, merely an extra expense. However, human society's slow ecological disaster and inevitable transformation of infrastructure over the next century create an opportunity for the profession. I'll outline some arguments for this position using this blog as a forum for dialogue.
I'm a master of architecture student who lived in Seattle for 10 years, but now I've moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. I am studying the process of making buildings for three months in Stockholm this fall, funded by the Valle scholarship and hosted by the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute (photo). I've long believed that design and construction are avenues for applying and testing knowledge generated in environmental research fields.
The environmental dialogue here is so advanced relative to my exposure from within my architecture department in the US that it's taken two months to catch up and get oriented. It's also taken two months to begin to frame the sustainable development discussion in a way appreciable to US architects.