WCPGW – Architects for indifference

Architects for indifference – A member has written in to What could possibly go wrong? congratulating ArchiTeam on getting the funding for the research into the value of an architect but wondering why it took so long?.


Dear What could possibly go wrong?

When I heard about the research into finding out the actual dollar value that an architect brings to a project I thought, how come this hasn’t been done before? Congratulations on getting this research going.


Dear ArchiTeam member,

The short answer to your question is that there has been an indifference to the diminishing role of the architect, sadly the indifference has been from within the broad base of the profession.

When a few of us were discussing what we feel about being an architect, someone said ‘I love it and I hate it’. It needed little further explanation, it seemed to resonate.  I mentioned Monet’s dilemma – color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment – this can easily be understood by a lot of small practice architects when you substitute colour with being an architect. Being an architect is a tough job and a very large topic, there is a lot to get right and projects run for so long. Mostly our clients and the community don’t really understand what we do. The media is only interested in the crazy stuff or the stuff ups. There are the emotional highs and sadly there are the lows. It can rob you of your sleep and do your head in, but it can also be intoxicating, especially at that moment when your thoughts are realised on the ground and you can see that it will all work.

But how can love and hate, both very powerful emotions, co-exist? Because they are not opposites. The thing that will destroy both love and hate is indifference. If you are indifferent you just don’t care, there is no emotional attachment and as a consequence – whatever – it will expire.

At ArchiTeam we decided to take on indifference. It all started with at meeting between ArchiTeam Directors and Dr Peter Raisbeck, organised by ArchiTeam Advocacy Working Group member Tom Bulic. The Advocacy Working Group’s idea was to carry out some actual on the ground research to determine the real value of an architect. This research into the actual dollar value that an architect brings to a project is a long overdue study. If we couldn’t get the crowdfunding support needed then it would amount to a vote of no confidence in the research and indifference would again prevail.

ArchiTeam has over 650 members, to achieve the target would be around $34 a member, if everyone put in. Not a lot you would think, in total 209 contributions were made, of these 124 are members. The research will proceed, indifference has not been defeated, but hopefully we have ignited a tiny spark that may be the start of turning around attitudes, from little things…  The funding target has been exceeded, a vote of confidence, and this means we are on the way to the second research topic. Yes, there will be even more to come after the first two. At ArchiTeam, we are determined to turn around the decline in the status of architects which will start with understanding our actual commercial value.

Sadly, within ArchiTeam there are other areas of ongoing indifference. Each year the AGM is poorly attended to the point where last year we scrambled to get a quorum.  Also, members are not putting themselves forward to serve on the board.

Your ongoing indifference may see ArchiTeam expire – now that would be a costly problem for you.

Peter Finn, ArchiTeam director.


Disclaimer – ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ is not an advice column, it is only general comment from ArchiTeam who are not aware of your circumstances with any issue that you may have. You cannot rely on these general comments, each member must make their own decisions about any action they should take and seek independent advice of their own if they are unsure.