Does everyone really want to design their own home?
When you are sick you need a doctor. When you are in legal trouble you need a lawyer. When you want a new home, you don’t need an architect, but we beg to differ. While there are so many options available through display homes and design construct companies there is no substitute for a truly customised architecturally designed home.
So why is it then that so little of our built environment makes use of architects?
The simple answer is that most people think they can do their own design. To some extent this is true, as design is often just a matter of sensible choices that make life better. This, coupled with a myriad of DIY TV shows, makes the process of creating a home seem so easy. All you need are ideas off the internet to start designing. Ideas, however, are a dime a dozen. Anyone can have a clever idea but throwing a bunch of Pinterest images together is like cooking all your dinner ingredients in the same pot at the same time, you are likely to end up with an ugly, tasteless mess.
Designing your own home can also make one feel artistic, and a lot of people like to think of themselves as artists. However, while the creative process can be fun and interesting, architecture is far from being just an art. The scientific elements of the craft can have dire consequences if not properly understood. It is not surprising that many projects without architects turn into money pits with disappointing conclusions.
Then there is the great misconception that architects are expensive and a cost worth avoiding. It’s not unusual for someone to take a bunch of magazine cut-outs to a builder or draftsman and think that they can emulate the same product. In most cases the results are nothing more than cheap imitations, at times even comical. A new family home can often be a once in a life time opportunity. It’s very different from a bad meal that you can swallow and console yourself by not going back to that restaurant again. A new home is a significant investment and the last thing you want to end up stuck with is a cheap and nasty imitation.
Let us consider the qualifications of an architect. It can take up to 10 years for someone to become a registered architect. That’s a very long period of training to be considered “unnecessary”. Architects are the only qualified professionals to get the most out of a building project and create environments that genuinely make a difference and add value. You wouldn’t ask a nurse to perform brain surgery, yet many believe they have an educated opinion on design and can be an architect without a single day of training.
It takes great discipline, training and intelligence to be an architect. They are equally important, necessary and effective as lawyers or doctors. It is just unfortunate that the industry’s governing bodies have not given them the same level of protection and significance. Thus, it is up to the individual to realise the value of architects. Their fees are merited, and not much if you consider that they can deliver exactly what you want. In an industry where there are many imitations and money traps, it seems even more imperative that we should use architects. It’s time to leave building design to the experts, and give architects their due credit and recognition.