Obama Wanted to be an Architect


This isn’t why we’ve officially endorsed Senator Obama, but it doesn’t hurt.

I am, however, tired of people appropriating the term ‘architect’. Karl Rove being called an ‘architect of …’ makes me cringe.

Posted: April 10th, 2008
at 5:00am by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,videos

Comments: 8 comments


8 Responses to 'Obama Wanted to be an Architect'

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  1. This is such a difficult issue; I had a fight with website Boxes and arrows in 2002 about this and it is still on the web. Everyone has appropriated the title architect because it makes them sound, somehow, professional. but the whole meaning of professional has been degraded beyond recognition. I wrote then:

    “I am an architect with a licence to practice architecture. In our part of the world it is actually illegal to use the term without being licenced. The author Margaret Visser once stated that a professional was one into whose hands we put our trust in a subject that we could not comprehend- the doctor our health; the lawyer our freedom; the clergyman our soul. We added the architect, our shelter.

    I think it is unreasonable to co-opt a term that has been used for centuries by a particular group because you think it makes you sound better. Our profession has determined that it is a fight not worth pursuing, because you see it as a fashionable name but have no long term legal use of it so we hope it will just go away.

    While I appreciate what you do I think that you should build your own reputations and your own name instead of co-opting ours.

    A few years ago I saw an ad for a data warehouse architect. I was thinking of applying- hey, I have designed warehouses, why not?”

    And did I get shit upon in the comments.

    Lloyd Alter

    10 Apr 08 at 7:01 pm


  2. Architects are some of the only professionals who are largely unlicensed but still call themselves architects that would take offense to the appropriation of the term. What about the appropriation of the term ninja? That upsets my ninja brethren.

    From the dictionary:

    ar·chi·tect Audio Help /ˈɑrkɪˌtÉ›kt/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[ahr-ki-tekt] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
    1. a person who engages in the profession of architecture.
    2. a person professionally engaged in the design of certain large constructions other than buildings and the like: landscape architect; naval architect.
    3. the deviser, maker, or creator of anything: the architects of the Constitution of the United States.
    –verb (used with object)
    4. to plan, organize, or structure as an architect: The house is well architected.

    Guys, I’m wholly sure that the term preceded your professional designations.


    14 Apr 08 at 12:53 pm


  3. some people just go by, you know, the dictionary


    14 Apr 08 at 12:53 pm


  4. Well, some people, you know, go by the history etymology of a word – so let’s play the word game here. The etymology of the word – meaning the origin itself, not Webster’s take on the current usage – is from the Greek ‘arkhitekton’, ‘arkhi’ meaning chief, and ‘tekton’ for builder. So essentially – architect = master builder. The term has ITS ORIGINS in our professional designations.

    Way to enter into this uneducated. Very un-NINJA like of you.

    I do, however, agree with you on the unlicensed people calling themselves architects thing. Not cool.

    So let me guess – your someone who himself appropriates the term? There was no professional designation for whatever you do, and ours sounded fancy so you jumped on board…

    I feel you tho – being able to say you’re an architect is pretty bad-ass. Keep that dream alive.


    14 Apr 08 at 1:28 pm


  5. The word “denigrate” also has a certain etymology – nothing to do with ninjas, though. Etymology doesn’t just give you license to interpret it only in a strict sense.

    Furthermore, “buildings and similar constructions” are not the only things that one “builds.”

    I am the chief builder of a certain website. Does that not make me the “architect” by your etymological definition? Or does “builder” now only refer to one who makes buildings??


    14 Apr 08 at 3:45 pm


  6. words take on different meanings with the passage of time. before the computer and integrated circuits architects were the elite group whose realm of endeavour was buildings. today with the information explosion and the internet it appears that the word architect has taken on a new meaning. this will in time become the more popular definition as architects for whatever reason seem to be taking on lesser roles in the development of the built environment.

    Howard Mark

    13 Jan 09 at 6:11 am


  7. А мне нравится этот блог, только авторам надо помнить , что посетители разные бывают. Короче учитывайте возростной ценс посетителей.


    12 Sep 09 at 2:51 am


  8. IT Architects are nothing but COMPUTER JERKS who wanna have some professional titles. Most of them are actually SAD and PATHETIC (Building) Architect Wannabes who didn’t make it to Architecture school. LOL!!!


    4 Aug 10 at 9:01 am



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