Every month a group of international architects and designers converge on the internet to write about a single topic and publish from their own individual point of view. This is Architalks.

For years there has been a consistent and pervasive decline in the integrity of the profession of architecture. It can be seen locally and internationally. The excuses for why this happens are plentiful and many may even be valid. But they are still just excuses: declining economy, tighter budgets, tighter construction schedules, laziness, etc. And this decline in integrity bleeds from all sectors of practice.

Clients and Advertising

Popular culture and Social Media have reduced the profession of architecture from a necessary value added service to a commodity. Just turn on HGTV. And it suggests that all architects and therefore their services are equal thereby making price the ultimate decision maker and nothing could be farther from the truth.

This line of illogical thinking reminds me of an old saying: “Even the guy who graduates last in his class at medical school is still a doctor.” Not all architects are created equal. There are as many good architects as there are bad, and most architects will even specialize in specific market sectors like hospitals, homes, offices, doghouses, outhouses, whatever. Just as doctors specialize, you wouldn’t go to a heart surgeon for brain cancer or a broken leg. So too it is in the best interest of your client to seek out the most qualified architect for their project. They probably wouldn’t naturally do this on their own because they’ve been told you are a commodity. It is therefore our responsibility to represent the best interest of our clients even before they become a client. Sometimes that means sending them to another architect.

You are not a commodity. You are a value added service provider, a professional. Act like it. Your integrity is the best advertising money can’t buy.

Contractors and Tradesmen

The process of design and construction is complicated and we have to understand and appreciate all the players involved. Too often we shovel over a whole host of responsibility onto contractors and tradesmen to deal with. There are responsibilities that are at the core of the value that an architect is supposed to bring to the table. Yet when we behave as a commodity, we deliver less: less complete drawings, less well-thought out design, less control during construction, and less value added to the project for our clients. This will only continue to devalue the profession in the eyes of the essential players in this very complex process.

When the essential players see us as a self-proclaimed commodity, and one that is more dependent on contractors and tradesmen to work out critical details, we are less valuable and increasingly less essential to the process of building. This is not a position we can afford to be in let along one to put ourselves into.


It isn’t enough to simply stand up for the profession. That sort of limited thinking leads to the arrogance so many already attribute to architects already which only continues to alienate us further. Integrity means much more. Webster defines it as the state of being whole and undivided. That should be our goal – a state of unity with our clients, engineers, contractors and tradesmen. I know that sounds hokey, but I promise I did not write this post from a campfire and there is no singing required. Simply put, in order to elevate our own profession back to its former glory we must first earn the respect of the other players in the building process by respecting and elevating their roles first. We can do better.

For more words of wisdom check out these other brilliant arch-bloggers.

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Architecture and Photography

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Architecture and a Future Without Architects

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
architecture and __

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Architecture and Travel

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Architecture and Storytelling

Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
Architecture and Gaming

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
architecture and m&ms

Rosa Sheng – EquitybyDesign [EQxD] (@EquityxDesign)
Architecture And the Era of Connection

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#ArchiTalks 18: architecture and… the bigger picture

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks 18: Architecture and Mathematics

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
Architalks 18: Architecture and … Parenting

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Architecture and Yoga

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Architecture and Ego

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Architecture and Ego / The Architect’s Unique Struggle with ‘Good’ Design

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Architecture and Kids

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Architecture and More

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Architecture and the Myth of the Master Builder

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Architecture and Real Estate

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Architecture and Interior Design

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Architecture and Wrestling

Rusty Long – Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
Architecture and Children

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Architecture + Memories

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
[#ArchiTalks 18] Architecture and Strange Travel Etiquette

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Architecture and…my Generation.


Lisa Saldivar