You're an architect if you plan and design buildings. It's not the moral responsibility of a person whose life is spent doing exactly that to conform to their legal jurisdiction's ex post facto qualifications of the historical term before they describe their profession. The precedence for architect being a generalized term to describe a designer is too significant to simply let a British bureaucracy appropriate for their own petty designation, especially as they throw up onerous financial and educational barriers between a person and their intended line of work. It's a pretty important point of principle to reduce barriers between trade disciplines, because it acknowledges the historical importance of vernacular architecture's design methods, the democratic role of the development of architectural style in almost all cultures, and the also the contributions of people who willingly bypassed the moral pitfalls that being a licensed architect in certain countries meant (like the Soviet Union, where an "architect" was entrusted with hardly more than carrying out state-sponsored propaganda built over the shallow graves of dead political dissidents). Regardless, there's simply no serious way in which you can protest the term architect being applied to Michelangelo, Vitruvius, Frank Lloyd Wright, Piranesi, Thomas Jefferson, Ando, Piano, Lebbeus Woods, Maya Lin etc. on grounds of their lack of licenses. If they want to call themselves architect, you agree, because the title is self-evident.
In the example of British architecture, the consequence of the ARB's legal appropriation of the term is that it gives them the capacity to decide who is really
capable of designing buildings in an architectural culture whose strongest traditional styles and contributions to architectural history are all rooted in a construction tradition in which common style arose out of spontaneity and whim of common tradespeople and owner-architects, whose primary qualifications were the things they simply figured out how to fucking make in the first place, by themselves, without a licensing authority to stop them.
It also includes the occasional instance of an architect like Joseph Paxton, who would be forced to become licensed to claim himself architect of a building whose style he singularly invented. How the fuck a licensing board should rightly withhold legal authority of a title to a person who is the only
authority on its design is beyond me, but that's the culturally and historically-dismissive form of delusion the ARB and its international peers pretend to roll with, which incidentally is almost entirely motivated by money.Edited by StephenHero - 7/23/14 at 10:11am