greaseproof architecture since 2000

Not an architect

I remember being told or taught somewhere along the line that one way to justify my fees as an architect was to suggest to the client that a house designed by an architect would attract a premium of 10% at resale. That is, the extra time and cost would be paid back later several times over as the house could be marketed as “architect-designed”. I don’t think I have ever used this angle on a hesitant client – it seems a last ditch way to justify architectural services. It is also a bit hard to tell, when a house is sold as “architect-designed”, what it might have sold for had it been “architectural designer-designed”.

In a first, the Real Estate Authority in New Zealand has rapped the knuckles (PDF link) of a real estate agent for advertising a house as “architect-designed” when it was not. The New Zealand Registered Architects Board approached the REAA after requesting that the real estate agent forward to them the name of the architect involved.

The real estate agent responded that the architect was Noel Jessop, of Noel Jessop Architecture. He said, “[the] inquiry was not based around whether or not the buiding had been designed by a registered architect or not – he wanted to know, and I quote “who was the architect”… I maintain that the building was designed by an architect, and I quote Webster’s Concise English Dictionary, “a person who designs buildings and supervises their erection.”

The NZRAB (and now the REAA) feel that the word ‘architect ‘is too often used to prop the price of houses up by implying that they are, “very well designed and of a higher than average quality, or desirability…”

The NZRAB’s Warwick Bell notes: “For architects, this problem is especially galling because when the public sees mediocre house designs and is told they are ‘architect-designed,’ the public incorrectly concludes that architects don’t add value to the built environment.”

So architectural designers’ work is always of less quality than architects’ work? But it can often be galling to look at work by architects. Noel Jessop’s work looks better than the output of many registered architects. That he was educated in a polytechnic rather than a university doesn’t seem to have harmed him. He is apparently acting legally using the word “architecture” within his practice name, as that word is unrestricted in New Zealand. It’s unsurprising that the real estate agent assumed that architecture would have been created by an architect. But no longer forgivable – in New Zealand at least.

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Posted by Peter on 25.09.10 in 



“Noel Jessop’s work LOOKS (?) better than the output of many registered architects.” , ergo it must BE better (?). It’s this kind of trite comment which further entrenches superficial perceptions of architecture. You know BETTER than this.

by James on 10.09.25, 04:37 pm ·#

LOOKS because I have only photos to go on – I don’t live in the Waikato. LOOKS is a qualifier. You ergo(ed) it.

“look – give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect; “She seems to be sleeping”..” Definition

by peter on 10.09.26, 01:55 am ·#

A few ok architects getting around have stopped calling what they do architecture. wonder why?

by info on 10.09.27, 01:30 am ·#

by Winne Wang on 10.10.17, 12:46 pm ·#

from bd:

I am so thankful I started the slog pre-1998 before I had to pay ANY tuition fees! And thankfully, I told the authorities I had enrolled on a ‘six year sandwich course’ so the fees were paid right up to the end of Diploma Two. As a working class lad from a ‘deprived’ area who just did well at school and had a dream to be an Architect, I managed to realise it! There is no way I could afford to embark on the course now!

Nothwithstanding the above, it still took me 14 years to repay my student loans from taking the first one out in 1995.

Architecture is a VERY VERY expensive course! Students can pay far more than the £1000 quoted for their presentation work; I see many in Dip two these days preparing CGI videos (to rival the most professional of presentations!) and have laptops and projectors alongside their 12 A1 boards! – not to mention illuminated models etc. There is so much pressure to perform better than your peers and better than the year before! it is highly competitive – and this competition costs money in materials and IT etc. Then, to rub salt in the wounds, they are often denied the right to keep their own work as Universities say that the ‘intellectual property’ belongs to them. They can demand that they keep all your hard work that you have paid an absolute fortune for!

Then, at the end of all that, you might be one of the very lucky few fortunate enough to get a job that pays just above minimum wage. There is so much talent out there – especially from deprived and ethnic minority backgrounds (which the RIBA is keen to promote enter the profession!!!). Education should not be for the exclusive elite who have well off parents but available to all who have the ability, aptitude, and are not scared of a bit of hard work!

by Winnie Wang on 10.10.17, 12:50 pm ·#

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