If you were to ask a doctor what his contribution to society is, his answer would probably be that his work heals the ailments of many. If you were to ask a businessman the same question, he might reply that his work allows the economy to thrive. A lawyer? His work allows justice to prevail and brings the Chief Justices to justice. How just.
What of the architect? It might seem difficult for most to answer this. Heck, even a number of architects probably don’t know what to say when faced with this question. After all, like other designers, the results of the architect’s labor are concrete and tangible, but the benefits to society are ironically not. I mean, some of those who know nothing of the design process would conclude that design is merely about making things pretty. Really, what does designing buildings and public spaces have to do with the development of a nation other than the obvious aesthetic implications?
The answer: Everything.
Designers design well (though of course this isn’t true for all designers. Every profession has its blunderers that put its practice to shame, after all). Designers think of things more important in the grand scheme of things than merely cost and numbers.
They think of how you should get from point A to point B in the safest, fastest, and most comfortable manner possible. They believe that when you get to point B, it should be the most conducive space for you to get things done in a way that’s tailor-fit to how you best get things done.
They know about how you need to look at your good-looking face in the mirror every 10 seconds to stay confident as you talk to your crush on the telephone (weird habit I know, but I’ve seen it done before). They think of you.
Architects typically have your back in everything that you do. No other profession has a scope of benefit more far-reaching than the architect, primarily because anyone and everyone who has entered a building has felt the benefits of an architect’s design (or lack thereof). Architects are one of the great forces that humanize your life. Imagine a world designed by people who don’t consider that disabled people need different kinds of door knobs, urinals aren’t meant to be stuck together, and your forehead shouldn’t play limbo with the upper floor’s slab when you move up a flight of stairs, and you’ll get what I mean.
Yes, doctors, businessmen and lawyers are truly great assets in bringing a nation forward. But what people don’t see is the silent hand that allows them to be their very best, every single day. Good design speaks of a well oiled machine that allows humanity and productivity for all professions to soar. Patients are put in danger when hospital spaces are horridly arranged, no matter how great the doctor. There’s a reason why lawyers pick cozy coffee shops to get their concentration fix for crucial thinking.
Architects increase output and provide society with reasons to ponder, smile, celebrate or be proud of the beauty of her country.
And sometimes, this makes all the difference in driving a nation forward.