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Architecture for Real People

This was a research paper written while at Ball State University. It was distributed on request to an AIA public relations committee, and to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It received written praise from Carnegie researcher Lee Mitgang. 


Ten years later, I can add that my experience has substantiated many of the statements written as a student. Namely, 1) architects services are too often perceived as a commodity, and 2) the best way to engage the public (and develop new clients) is be known--as an architect--and liked. 

"Architects must strive to be more likeable, more visible, and better communicators. "


“Architecture for Real People” addresses the issue of how to make architecture and its practitioners accessible and understandable to the population at large. Misconceptions about architecture need to be overcome by education, and by correction of the bad habits of the architectural profession.

Educational concepts for children include school-based inter-disciplinary education centered around architecture, extra-curricular education programs through universities, programs at museums and institutions, and special hands-on workshops with practicing architects. For adults, education is a bit more difficult, but involvement can be attained. When adults are involved in architectural design or related issues, they can not only learn about architecture, but perhaps also un-learn some preconceived notions about working with architects.

Architects, themselves, are perhaps the ones in need of the most education, however. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten (or never learned) how to respond to our clients’ needs and communicate effectively. Architects must strive to be more likeable, more visible, and better communicators.

In order for architecture to be accessible and understable for “real people,” there is a need for education of both the public and the architects, so that they more fully appreciate one another and can work together for a better world.

Read the full paper in PDF form.

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