If you’re ever out and about in your city; be sure to take a walk through the historic area. All if not most cities have an historic area. You Miami architects, that part of town with the older buildings and chances are some of those buildings may have been restored over the last few decades. When you look at those buildings and the detail that went into erecting such a building; you usually start to wonder about who actually designed the building. What was the thinking process that led to the result that you are now viewing in your city.
The person behind the thinking process is the architect. An architect is a person involved in the planning, designing and oversight of the construction of a building. An architect can design anything from a house to a skyscraper. Today, the word architect carries a lot of prestige with it, but in the early days, there was nothing prestigious about it. In fact, anyone from a carpenter to a bricklayer could call themselves an architect. This all started to change in 1857 when 13 architects came together to form what would become The American Institute of Architects. The whole purpose of their action was to promote the skill involved with their work and to elevate the status of being an architect.
The work of the original 13 architects that met that day, did pay off, because over time the AIA grew bigger and stronger, as more architects from around the country started to join. One of the greater accomplishments of the AIA came in 1866, when they helped create standardized contract documents to be used in the construction industry. In 1867, they turned their focus to education and debated on whether they could create a national school of architecture. Their idea never came about, but during the years that followed, architectural programs were being created at four institutions.
There was no legal definition of architect before 1897, but in that year, Illinois became the first state to adopt an architectural licensing law. And about 50 years later, all the states had licensing laws. Architects of today are required to have specialized education and documented work experience to get a license. The AIA did a great job in accomplishing their goals. The architect is now seen as a very unique and masterful professional, working in a field that not many people are qualified to do. The architect is even viewed, on some level, like an artist.
Not only have buildings and designs changed over the years, but so has the minds of those individuals whose job it is to produce such visual and thoughtful structures. What may look like an old building to some, will appear as a work of art to others. When you view the present work of an architect, you never know if you’re looking at history. Because if an architect is great at his craft and the design is so creative, then the public will be talking about, writing about and taking photos of his designs for years to come.