Being an Architect as well as a psychologist, I was watching one of several programs on TV about innovations. There were many great examples of the most amazing ground breaking architecture and none of it was in the United States. This has been a pet peeve of mind for many years. Third world countries have more innovative architecture than the US.
Here in the US, we have some kind of old world European Design Envy sickness. You can see this in almost every shopping center, mixed use development a hundreds of thousands of homes. In fact, it isn’t even good European architecture. It’s called “Traditional” design. Tradition what? Not classical, neo classical or anything else. I call it the style of “Early Garbage.”
Now this is not just my opinion, because the whole rest of the world and architectural bastions such as, Spain, China, UK, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Israel, India, Brazil…geez the list goes on, has opted for contemporary, new thinking in design. Yes there are interesting projects popping up from Architects like the Frank Gehry and some isolated home designers with healthy budgets. But, these things should be the rule, not the exceptions. Since the great contemporary movement from the 1920’s to about 1960’s, there has been in the US, an almost fearful reaction to anything that doesn’t smack of comfort food; or, desiring a house that tastes like chicken.
A big reason for this is the recent up-welling of the scourge of what is called “design review.” This has been infiltrated into almost every city in the US and has empowered self serving, power hungry, narrow minded simpletons, to dictate everything from what style a building should be to the color of the front door. It has hampered Architects to the point that they are exhausted to fight it anymore. Again, if you don’t believe me, look at the results of the new architecture in almost any other country.
But behind all of this, I blame the educational system. It does not encourage creativity, nor does it have a clue as to how to teach it. The result is a whole population that has no taste. It had been the most frustrating experience as an Architect, to develop a sophisticated pallet of design and have a parade of potential clients that have the sophisticated taste of a 5 yr. old and the fear of anything new like a PTSD veteran at a fireworks display. (Not to belittle PTSD, but just to demonstrate the level of fear at looking at something new.)
If this offends any of you reading this, I don’t apologize. Wake-up and see what is going on in the world around you outside of the US. We are not even near the top in math and science education, let alone creative education. We are a sad 37th.
There are scores of inventions that are not developed, because the process and cost of filing for and getting a patent is expensive and that isn’t even the big expense. The cost of defending your patent is upwards of a million dollars. As a savvy street smart inventor, with little or no funding, why should they even bother to get their idea into the market under these conditions?
If you want to see a change in this country from education to the kind of government we have, these kinds of issues need to be addressed, and I mean now. The US is running on fumes off of its existing creative minds, but I guarantee you, it will eventually run out, if we don’t do something soon. Of course we can do nothing and most people will live staring at their “i-watches” and thinking how smart they are because they have smart phones.