Architects – Super Men or Super Egos?


I always find a treasure in my favorite bookstore, Laguna Beach Books. The last thing my bookshelf needs is another little treasure, but I couldn’t resist the simplicity and message of Matthew Frederick’s, “101 Things I Learned in Architecture School.”  I justified the purchase by saying I’d send it to my friend Marianne for her birthday. Well, I couldn’t part with my treasure. (Sorry Marianne, I sent you a scarf  instead.)

I wasn’t familiar with the author so I Googled him and discovered he’s not only an author, he’s a professor, a practicing architect, and is passionate about planning better communities.

I didn’t realize the breadth of knowledge architects learn in school. They are trained to creatively solve, through design, complex problems that extend beyond our built environment.

Apparently, not many others know this either. In an AIA Podnet interview, Frederick says many architects are sharing the book with clients because the public has little understanding of what they do.

“We’re seen as visionaries or star-chitects with a cape over our shoulders, pronouncing these great truths – or many others see us a glorified drafter,  ‘I know what I want, I just need you to draw it for me.’

“It’s hard to explain we took courses in art history, structural design, social theory, perception – a million things that have nothing to do with drafting.

Drafting is to an architect as typing is to an author…it’s a good tool, but our real skills are much broader than that.  Giving the book to clients has been helpful.”

Learn more about Matthew Frederick and considering ordering some books for your clients. Do they really know what you do?