How to Become a Great/Famous Architect

Howard said:
>I am wondering what Garry Stevens has turned up in terms of "master"
>architects. Which ones went to architecture school? Which ones
>did not? [For example, Frank Lloyd Wright baled out of U of Wisconsin
>after 1 term. Bruce Goff never went to architecture school. Both were
>doing organic architecture. Kendrick Bangs Kellogg left Berkeley in
>his 3rd year, never to complete an architecture degree. All have done
>organic architecture.] Maybe those who do organic architecture cannot
>be counted as part of the academically educated-in-architecture group?

Probably the most solid evidence on how to achieve fame is provided by
Roxanne Williamson's book "American Architects and the Mechanics of Fame".
She concludes that the most likely mechanism for success is to work for
Great Architect (tm) at certain key periods in the GA's career, which she
goes on to define as 'dynamic shifts'.

This explanation seems a bit contrived. In his review of the book in the
JAE, Andrew Seidel (of Texas A&M, and editor of JAPR) pointed out she had
overlooked one alternative conclusion deriving directly from her own data.
Paraphrasing it into my own theoretical terms (a la Pierre Bourdieu), every
single famous American architect in her study (and there are hundreds) came
from a family with high cultural capital. Without exception. Hence my
semi-mock questionnaire in the previous post.

As to going to architecture school: We should remember that academic
training is a very recent affair in architecture. In 1960 fully forty per
cent of US architects did not have a university qualification, and in 1975
twenty-five per cent did not. Same for the UK. It is not at all clear to me
that a uni education is necessary to become an architect. Many argue about
the increased complexity of the building process and such like, but I
suspect that most of the additional complexities of the last, say, fifty
years, have in fact been take over by other professions, and that the
actual job of architect is about as 'complex' as it was a hundred years
Garry Stevens
Dept of Architectural and Design Science
University of Sydney
NSW 2006
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