Tony Giannone - Architect

The last few years in this role, notwithstanding the turbulence of the last few months, have been about trying to have some relevance, trying to convince community and bureaucracy that what we do is important, has demonstrated with a degree of clarity the current state and future of the profession.

I value and cherish being an architect. It is something that conjures my place in the world and I feel the need to protect it.

We seem to be letting go of everything that we have so long stood for and aspire to.

Just like we have significantly forgone our role in the construction stages of a project, valuing the smallest detail in bringing our ideations to reality – gone to project managers, construction managers, project directors, design managers, programming managers, and more recently sustainability and well-being managers – it appears that we are heading the same way with the front end of what we do.

Now we have thought leaders, design innovators, design thinkers, design disruptors, makers, collaborators, creatives, project design directors, and design leading planners (minus the town and country).

I am not sure why we would want to be a subset of other industries and continue to forgo our leadership in the creation of the built environment.

Now this may upset a few. Fine I’ll cop that.  But I am yet to be convinced in the power of collaboration, and manager-led design and review processes. I know it may be a fountainhead approach but perhaps the staunch confidence architects were once known for needs to be restored rather than relinquished.

The artist does not let others paint over fragments of their artwork, they do not let others paint a corner of the canvas, they do not let others have multiple reviews of the creation before it is exhibited. The canvas is judged on its final presentation.

I was fortunate enough a few years ago to listen and sit down with an eminent international member of our profession and feel the passion of an architect espousing his work from his heart and soul.

The passionate plea to protect his craft, the word and the true meaning of architect resonated emotionally. This inspired a resolution to drop the roll call of all the numerous titles, post-nominals and honours bestowed on him that accompanied his signature, like a collection of medals justifying his importance and credibility to others, and simply sign his name with … architect…. powerful, simple and sacred ……a title which could not be owned by others…… in his mind the title architect was more powerful in its own right than any other bestowed endowment.

As a profession, we create the built environment – the habitat of the everyday. It is a privilege that should not be taken lightly.

The never-ending intrusion by others on our profession and our work is of serious concern often promoted under the umbrella of critique and review. We should be judged on the ownership of our work, not on its composition by others.

We have history in this as “cultural critics”, perhaps no more so tracing back to Utzon and the Sydney Opera House debacle. The vision belittled by the constant meddling of Government bureaucracy and process (and yes, budget ! ) trying to take ownership of the design to fulfill a compromised version of the architect’s vision.

I can’t help feeling that we are still caught in this “modern” design managed process mindset where the vision of  creative authors is continually diluted rather than celebrated.

I don’t understand why I can’t be left alone with my clients who invest their faith in me to create a building without 20 other active process driven participants all having contribution and critique.

I don’t understand why I need to be continuously critiqued by others who have no experience in my craft before they will give me approval.

I don’t understand why I will now need an accredited professional to critique the design of my work…. am I not already accredited as an architect…?

I love what I do.

Tony Giannone…. architect

PS: A big thank you to Nicolette, Vanessa, Lesley and Zaf who have supported me through this journey over the last few years, they are the backbone of an incredible hardworking Institute shopfront in this State.

To the Chapter Council, thank you for your support and the time you volunteer. It has been an interrupted program but your resilience to support and give back to the membership is a valued resource to our Industry.

Anthony, as the new Chapter President, congratulations and I’m sure your multi-faceted involvement from practice to teaching is going to give us the diverse range of experiences that are required as we move forward in these interesting times.