Jody Brown (Coffee with an Architect) covers his private parts after a good swift kick from the irrepressible Bruce Mau, who has one message for architects and designers: quit your whining and get to work designing a better planet. Incensed by a snotty question from a Harvard GSD student, Mau writes, “If you are a student at Harvard, or a practicing architect, you are the privileged 1 percent.” Think of the rest of the world, Mau urges:
Is it really difficult being an architect in America? It’s difficult to be a female intellectual in Kandahar. It’s difficult to raise a family living on waste products in the garbage dumps of China. It’s difficult to find your way as a child in Malawi, where the infection rate of HIV/AIDS is 17 percent, having already wiped out a generation of mothers and fathers. It’s difficult to overcome drug addiction from the quicksand of poverty and incarceration in America’s overpopulated prisons. These conditions are difficult. Being an architect is not difficult.
So, architects and designers, roll up the sleeves on your turtleneck sweaters, clean up the lens on your high-priced eyewear, and remind yourself that you’re working in “the most important movement in history, the movement to redesign the world and everything we do to sustainably meet the needs of the 4.5 billion children who will be born before midcentury.”
Then figure out how to bill for this work.