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Architects and Human Occupancy

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Several things have been rubbling around my mind since I first heard
(read) them:

1.    The notion that Architects would like to define their work as
design of buildings intended for human habitation. Perhaps a similar
counter response by the structural engineering community could be
Engineers (Structural and Civil Specialists) design buildings intended
to resist gravity and other such forces of nature. I'm of course making
light of the situation, however the need to understand this, as others
have stated, is probably more real than we would like to admit. Anyone
care to point toward the history of the Architects need to define their
work so narrowly?

2.    Minor point perhaps, by why are the words Architect and Engineer
not generally capitalized like say Dr. ? Some of our gripes come from
the I don't get no respect viewpoint. A subtle grassroots change to caps
could help fight the fight.

3.    Check out the definitions of Docter, Architect and Engineer in the
dictionary and you'll find some of your answers. We discuss nuances as
if they may hold the key to overall enlightenment (I say we, only
because I've done this off the list so far and haven't been held to the
same level of scrutiny of most of you here) but aren't we obliged to
make our own definitions of what we do ? When people ask what I do I
generally say "design buildings". Most respond with "oh, you're an
architect" (ok to use small caps here I think). "Actually no" I say, but
we work very closely with them to make sure they don't fall down
(omission of the word building intentional). Perhaps that says more to
me about what I am and like to do than arguing about having more
responsibility in the limelight. Personally, I rather enjoy my position
as a "support" person on the design team. I've often heard from
Architects that they may even admire our position. Generally it goes
something like, "everybody thinks they can design spaces, yet
engineering remains a mystery to most people". Well perhaps we don't
need or want the limelight as bad as we figure.


Barry H. Welliver
Structural Engineer