|I was educated in a time when Architects believed that their work could improve social conditions and at the same time make our world more beautiful. Architects were passionate about their work and the ideas and concepts which formed the basis for their designs. Rampant materialism and cynicism had not yet taken hold. The media had not yet taken complete control of the values of America.
The American public receives almost no education in Architecture. Consequently, they have little more than a casual awareness of and interest in Architecture and the buildings that they exist in. Americas new dwellings have for the most part become thoughtless, oversized spaces fitted with fashionable components. The preferred 'style' is anything vaguely resembling traditional European Architecture coupled with the warm and fuzzy memories of childhood hearth and home. The great majority of Americas' dwellings are out of time and place buildings, which are often foolishly intended to promote a sense of self worth and importance for their owners. They reflect a crisis in personal values and are excessive environments which promote bloated and fantasized lifestyles.
I no longer believe that Architecture will have much effect on social conditions. Rather, it seems to be very much the other way around. I do still believe that Architects can provide environments which responsibly provide for physical needs and at the same time increase the awareness and wonder of being. I still believe that Architecture should be of its time and place while striving to anticipate a rapidly changing world.
The current tendency towards superficial building design has produced buildings which have roughly the significance and shelf life as last years fashion statements. In a society that has a very short attention span and requires constant stimulation, real or artificial, Architects must not be seduced into becoming set designers or purveyors of trends. Architects must define and provide what is appropriate for the buildings and environments that are in their charge.