Cameron Sinclair, cofounder of Architecture for Humanity, writes back to the New York Times in response to an article written by architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff that he thinks reinforces the perception that architects are somehow not solving the real world problems faced by ordinary people when they decide to build. He disagrees. Here's a snippet:
This is the new architectural revolution, filled with pragmatic optimism and an understanding that designing for the other 98% is much more rewarding than responding to the desires of the few. And, it is already underway.
Nicolai Ouroussoff "dreams" of re-hiring the biggest names in the profession to lead this revolution. To us, that's like hiring the designers of the Hummer to rethink our transportation and energy policies. It's not that they couldn't or wouldn't do the work (many already are), but why call on designers who spent the better part of their careers building ever-competing, energy-consuming, sky-piercing structures, when you could hire any of a myriad of qualified (if less well-known) firms already experienced and engaged in rethinking the built environment?
We encourage Ouroussoff and the New York Times to pursue a deeper examination of the changes taking place in the field of architecture. If President-elect Barack Obama and his administration truly want to reenergize this country with a New Green Deal they should engage those who are best equipped to deal with the challenges we face in the coming decades, not the past. We should hire the emerging professionals already practicing sustainable design and not just a few high-profile architects. Because for these professionals committing time to the projects that matter most is not a dream. They are already hard at work.