“Every building has an architect.” (originating author, unknown) I sit on the AIA Denver Board with Nan Anderson where she serves as both the 2012 Vice President and the chair of the Public Affairs Committee. And while Nan can’t take credit for the quote, her Public Affairs committee is engaged in a fantastic public awareness campaign around its’ premise. In short, anytime an architectural work shows up in print without credit being given to the architect, the author of said article will receive a postcard, thanking the writer for the media mention, but also kindly reminding him or her that the referenced building didn’t build itself.
While I (begrudgingly) understand that an everyday beat reporter may get caught up in the myriad details of a particular story and neglect to mention the design team that made the project a reality, I was appalled when I read an article published on constructionditial.com that mentioned only three members of a design or construction team for the entire slate of the ten projects that the article highlighted. That’s right, a 70% failure rate.
As designers, we love when our work gets published; especially when it is published for all the right reasons. However, as a member of one of those overlooked design teams in this article, I find it infuriating when our years of hard work go un-credited. I challenge any of you to find an article where a song is mentioned without the artist, or when a painting is discussed without a nod to the painter. If you find them, they are few and far between. But alas, in architecture, we are denied credit more often than it is given to us. As an industry, we must regard our work with no less importance than any other artistic endeavor, and demand credit accordingly.
So to author Jon Walton, consider this your friendly post card. Those building, yes all Top Ten Net-Zero Buildings mentioned in your article, do have architects. Here is a quick rundown of who is responsible for what on the seven projects that were not properly credit.
No. 10 – The Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies was designed by William McDonough + Partners.
No. 7 – The Omega Center for Sustainable Living was designed by BNMI architects.
No. 6 – The Darla Moore School of Business was designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects.
No. 5 – Pusat Tenaga, Malaysia’s Zero Energy Office was designed by Ruslan Khalid Associates.
No. 4 – The image identified as NYCTech is actually a conceptual rendering produced by SOM. The firms of SOM, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, OMA, Morphosis Architects, Steven Holl Architects and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson have all been named as finalists for the project.
No. 2 – The Pearl River Tower was designed by SOM
No. 1 – The Research Support Facility (RSF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory was designed by RNL.
To author Jon Walton, I say the following. While I am sure all of the firms listed above are grateful for the recognition and honored to be listed in your Top 10, please remember to give credit where credit is due. All of these buildings have not only architects, but design consultants of all varieties, sustainability consultants, contractors, owners and a dozen other groups that my word count will not let me enumerate. Speaking for myself, I spent four years of my professional career as one of 100+ team members that made the RSF project a world-class reality. Give my office a call. We would love to tell you about all of the project team members that helped make our project the world-class facility that it is.