Good means anything is this country, to anyone. But more often that not, non experts have a say in the matter as well, as Bill Henson has just found out yet again.
While most people in Australia wouldn't dream of a non expert mouthing of about fire fighting or engineering or accounting, give them 12.5 millimeters on any subject that could possibly fit within the descriptor of the arts, and in that I would place architecture, and it's all fair game for even the lowest of the Herald Sun witless brigade. That is the problem of defining what 'good' is when it comes to architecture. I bet my bottom dollar there isn't an architect or designer in this country who hasn't had some friday f-wit client come out with a completely baseless and innane reason on which to argue a point or two which on any expert assesment would be shown to demonstrate the bare faced ignorance of the perpetrator. But do you think we have the right to protest for good manners and consideration on their part that, they might just shut-up and listen to what a university degreed expert and years of experiance might have to say?
I don't f'n care myself, because I have been an 'artist' all my life who has come across hundreds of such know-it-alls and am well trained in telling such people they haven't got a bloody clue of what they are talking about, so come my own architectural qualifications, I will be already well placed to 'decide' what is good or not.
But this and other forums contain many anecdotes of much architectural gymnastics undertaken for the sole reason of accomadating such fools, and I don't understand the meekness. Miles has his notions sorted about how to handle it and apparenetly it displeases him to see the RAIA president's own architectural gymnastics when it comes to sustainability (of which i know nothing and so will not comment further).
My thread goes that it is the mere fact that architecture could and is often classed as an 'Arts' based profession that put it into the position in this country at least and in England to a large degree also, of being something therefore open to all and sundry of the 'chattering classes' to opine upon and therefore also open to corrections and qualifications even to the point of pay scales based upon those very same untrained, unqualified and uncouthe opinions.
My thread goes further to suggest that it is our own fault for not standing up to such fools that achitectural 'expertness' doesn't get the respect that other perhaps and arbitralily so, more 'physics' based professions recieve from the general public.
I refuse to accept some artless twat telling me that my art is worth less than what I say it is. Look out for me when I am qualified and finally get back to the city to open my practise because I won't stand for such dissolution of merit by people too proud of their own gumption to see 'good architecture' for what it is.
Glenn Murcutt has a great quote in Touch This Earth Lightly. (1999 p145)
"They're all placed in the street, as is usual, within the - what I refer to as the fear line, FEAR line, which is the building setback line, all these buildings standing up there in a line in fear of going forward and fear of going back, everybody sitting right there, right on it, ready to go."
Of course you know they're going nowhere, with nothing to say and likely doing nothing especially artful with their lives but making sure they don't step out of line. The mediocrity who are expert at everything and especially art because their conforming with a setback line, that never stopped them building anywhere behind the line, but that's where they 'choose' to build regardless; their mere 'conforming' is the greater qualification to speak about art.
Well why in Gods name, should fully qualified architects also sit dead on the setback line for the sake of pleasing a billion hicks? Do you think an engineer would forgo 'good' engineering for the sake of pleasing an unqualified opinion? Who ever heard of a surgeon asking a patient what the best way of medically saving their life was?
If you think I am drawing a long bow, just think about who was actually in charge of building all those school buildings that collapsed in China just recently and how many thousand of lives are at stake immediately and long into the future, when structures are properly contemplated. Architects are not just artists, they are damn fine highly trained artists and I personally think it is outrageous that any old Tom, Dick and Harriet think they have a right to question it, let alone having architects regularly accepting pay scales based on unqualified opinions.