After finishing this book this past summer, I was surprisingly satisfied with the knowledge and inspiration I've gained from this novel. One of Rand's best, this book inspires not only a debate about architectural practice and theory, but about the idea of collectivism and individualism which I have been researching and investigating the last couple of months. Particularly, I am interested in the realm of architecture, the client/architect relationship, and the transparency between the two. Have architects lost their role as the primary designer in commissioned projects? Or are the clients the designer? It's a boundary we must defend as architects.
I've also looked into how us architects can market ourselves as designers... A discussion we can get into at a later time. For now, I want to bring attention one of my favorite quotes about architects and architecture from the book:
"What the architectural profession lacks is a understanding of its own social importance. This lack is due to a double cause: to the anti-social nature of our entire society and to your own inherent modesty. You have been conditioned to think of yourselves merely as breadwinners with no higher purpose than to earn your fees and the means of your own existence. Isn't it time, my friends, to pause and redefine your position in society? Of all the crafts, yours is the most important. Important, not in the amount of money you might make, not in the degree of artistic skill you might exhibit, but in the service you render to your fellow men. You are those who provide mankind's shelter. Remember this and then look at our cities, at our slums, to realize the gigantic task awaiting you. But to meet this challenge you must be armed with a broader vision of ourselves and of your work. You are not hired lackeys of the rich. You are crusaders in the cause of the underprivileged and the unsheltered. Not by what we are shall we be judged, but by those we serve. Let us stand united in this spirit. Let us--in all matters--be faithful to this new, broader, higher perspective. Let us organize--well, my friends, shall I say--a nobler dream?"
"...and when our system of society collapses, the craft of builders will not be swept under, it will be swept up to greater prominence and greater recognition..."
Brandon E. Young