Architects are always presumed to be good at maths and physics. This suggests that people feel the primary role of an architect is to make a building stand up, which is curious because architects in the UK are not licenced to carry out this task. Perhaps architects are to blame as they do very little to dispel this myth. I suspect that this is because they like to feel they are as clever as scientists.

The fact is that an architect's main role is to make buildings look 'pretty', but that does not sound important enough to justify seven years of education. This public misunderstanding has, to a certain degree, come from the word 'architect' which is an important sounding word protected by parliament. The word has come to mean the ultimate controller as in 'IT architect' or god as 'the architect of the universe'. This has taken architecture away from its true calling which is an art form to rival music, painting and sculpture.

Synonyms of the word 'musical' include harmonious, melodic, pleasing and sweet sounding. Similarly, synonyms of the word artistic include graceful, elegant, poetic, sensitive, elegant and fine. In contrast, the word 'architecture', when applied to things other than buildings, focus on structure and rhythm rather than beauty. For example, the most 'architectural' plant is something like a cactus - hardly an object of beauty.

When journalists praise new buildings, they often use words like 'cutting edge' and 'innovative', which are more appropriate for science rather than an art form. This has led to a situation where the word 'brutalist' is a compliment, which is crazy, how can being 'brutal' be in any way praiseworthy? I would like to see words like 'charming', 'delightful' and dare I say it 'pretty' be applied to architecture.

Francis Terry

Photography by Nick Carter.

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