Trabeation | Why Buildings Look Like They Do, pt.1 – The Myth

In 1895 the brakes on a train failed causing it to crash through a two foot thick wall at Gare Montparnasse in Paris, France. The engine careened across the train station concourse blasting through the wall and landing on the street one story below in Place de Rennes.

Good and bad things happen and architecture provides a kind of theatre or more specifically, stage set. The architect designs the backdrop and the actor cares mostly about how it works. And therein lies the grand separation.

There is another gap too. One that seems to have its origins at the beginning. And it’s about how people perceive the architect. In ancient Greece, a select apprentice became an expert at all the building trades. He was called the arkhitekton or master builder. When ready, he had the authority to direct design and construction—a kind of superman—revered and honored.

The perception that architects mostly design is a myth and intern architects can quickly become discouraged. Architecture is a business, not all clients are wonderful and the world is litigious.

With all the work required to become an architect things seem upside down. It’s fashionable to call someone else the “architect” of a movement, campaign or groundbreaking business. However, it’s also illegal within the profession in every state of the US to call ones self an architect unless you’ve got a license.