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Will Bruder once said, »Architecture happens because of clients, not in spite of clients.« What Bruder did not say was what kind of clients he rejected, so he could make architecture.
Corollary to this thought, Peter Eisenman once said, »Architects should give the people what they want, if only they knew what it was they wanted.« In this statement, one can detect wistfulness.
Is there no unhappier profession in the world than that of the architect? One trains for five years, sometimes more. Their studies are not restricted to the pedestrian how does one frame a building, how does one size a beam, how does one install an air-conditioning system these things make up only a small part of an architect's studies. An architect spends five years of their lives, and beyond, honing their design process. A layman's perception of the architect focuses on the pedestrian, with no recognition or appreciation for an architect's design sensibilities. How discouraging is that first commission, with that one perfect idea, whittled and compromised into nonexistance because of the client!
A friend of mine once told me that while finishing up his meal in a New Jersey diner late one evening, two couples walked in. It appeared that they had just left a swanky party, and were still dressed in their suits and dresses. It was my friend's opinion that the women's dresses were the most hideous things he had ever seen, but to people who do not know good design, and know nothing of culture, these things are beautiful. How difficult is it to the trained eye to see the crudeness, to know that it exists, to know that such crudeness will suffice with the populace, and to know that this populace will be your client?
I imagine the fashion designer does not have this problem. The fashion designer will create their clothes based on his or her vision, and it is the people who will or will not accept that vision either way, that vision has been made manifest. But an architect cannot make that vision manifest without the client to pay for it. In a sense, Will Bruder is more than just right his statement is a prophecy!