So I'm sure most of you have had the chance to read Michael Tardif's article,
http://www.aia.org/aiarchitect/thisweek07/1221/1221rc_face.cfm and if you haven't you should, I believe the discussion needs to be started.
Of course, I had a couple of thoughts on it. The first is that we are dealing with stronger and apparently incorrect symantics when the demeaning term "master builder" is used. The article goes on to say that the title "captain or quarterback" might be better suited terminology, I think although it wasn't clear what he suggested be a better nomenclature for the new and emerging digital age of architects.
When it comes down to it we are talking about titles in names, but names are still very important. The reason why I still believe the terminology "Master Builder" to be the more effective of the two, (although I have still to hear a better terminology), is really simple. When you get down to the root of what we do and how we work everyday it's who we are.
The name architect was derived from the Greek arkhitekton (arkhi, chief + tekton, builder"). And if you really dig into the history and prolific artists of our profession, very few architects were just architects. Many were sculptors, painters, and musicians, many wrote poetry, studied photogrpahy and film. In essence, our profession has always been an artistic expression of form and use in the landscape. If you don't believe this and can plug your computer into a USB port in your head to avoid any apparent artistic impression then I am apparently incorrect, (however it could stilll be viewed as artisctic.) I digress, what I do know is that I have colleagues right now working for LucasFilms and Pixar creating 3d worlds that are increasingly becoming just as real as the worlds we percieve and walk around in and for certain are more real and intelligent than any BIM model to date. Realize that I'm talking about the digital landscape, the one we draw/model in every day to better communicate to our team mates how to build our creative visions and interpretations of space and form. Not too much of a stretch when you think about it, and I would strongly caution against not realizing the basic core of an architects need to build and create. To me captain is way too vague and frankly reminds me of a ship or Hunt for Red October scenario and I won't even start with quarterback.... as my Knasas City Chiefs haven't done too well this year.
Ultimately, what we are getting down to is a return to Master Architects. This is my suggestion. Just as Master Craftsmen, from a variety of trades perform the work and bring to fruition the vision of the artist/architect, so should the architect be realized. There is a reaon that in unions you go through the ranks as apprentice, journeyman, and foreman/master mason master carpenter etc.... It is because with experience and training you achieve a level of undertanding and a more proficient use of your time and leadership abilities. I believe that in our profession we do two things wrong here:
1.) We for some reason put an age limit on how quickly one advances in experience with years.
2.) We have so many titles at different firms that no one really knows what the other does.
The first is sort of a fundamental misgiving in our industry that with grey/no hair and experience you become more achieved as an architect. Although I undertand the basic concept and notion, what most people fail to realize is that the generation x and yers (generally speaking) are quick studies. For the most part, we don't need to draw a wall section 13 times to understand it. And as a result, we are starting to see more and more successful younger firms who have abandoned the 5-7. 7-10 and 10+ experience pattern have gone out on their own and fused technology and innovation with their practices to achieve results that might not have been possible in other firms. Ex. (David Adajaye, FACE NY and ElDorado KC)
He suggested Brunelleschi was a good example of a "bad" master builder. And of course this fella, if you've done your homework, wasn't exactly a "team player", but what I would like to see in our profession is a new and increased pride in what we do and produce. To be realized again by fellow professionals and contruction leaders as knowledgeable resources that increase productivity and make the building process go more smoothly and *gasp* even fun is my vision for the profession and believe me it has very little to do with my egocentric desire to take over ther world and have everyone worship me as our ego-less colleagues suggest.
And for heaven's sake Captains?! How about we all give each other tele-com names like Network Operations Technical Specialists and give each other mindless tasks like putting cover sheets on the TPS reports!
PS> Good architects are the ones who guide and direct the process encouraging collaboration among the team members. Great architects know that there is no other way but through teamwork and increased capabilities through collaboration and communication brought about by technology to make a project successful.