Arb-itects? English Registration Board Flips Out Over Titles

Eavesdroplet, International
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Daniel Libeskind (left) and Renzo Piano (right).

Daniel Libeskind (left) and Renzo Piano (right).

In a letter to Building Design magazine, the Architects Registration Board in London, aka ARB, has requested that BD no longer refer to Renzo Piano and Daniel Libeskind as “architects.” Apparently, neither are registered as architects with the all-knowing ARB, therefore “they are not entitled to be described as such,” states the letter. BD Editor-in-Chief Amanda Baillieu immediately called out ARB’s high-handed mandate in an online editorial, writing, “there is no other word to describe ARB’s ban on calling Renzo Piano an architect except bonkers.” The registration board’s Alison Carr later apologized for the letter, “Do I think that this was a great example to bring to BD’s attention and help raise awareness? No I don’t. We should have been more cautious so that we get the right message across at the right time, and for that I apologise.”

5 Responses to “Arb-itects? English Registration Board Flips Out Over Titles”

  1. Grant says:

    The more Libeskind builds, and the more he opens his mouth to spew the inanities he mistakes for intelligent architectural discourse, the more foolish he appears. So it is no surprise that the British ARB don’t consider him an architect in any real sense of the word. There’s more to being an architect than wearing a black leather jacket and thick black glasses and writing some convoluted BS about a dumb form or two. Libeskind has become a parody of an architect, the butt of jokes everywhere. He has no one but himself and Nina to blame for becoming the clown prince. If you act like a clown, people will see you as a clown.

  2. Loyola says:

    In the US, the term ‘Architect’ is a protected definition reserved for persons who pass a rigorour professional licensing exam following a long course of practical study, typically two to three years after graduation.

    In early 2003, New York Governor Georke Pataki selected Daniel Libeskind to design the Ground Zero site. Then there was an ‘Oops’ moment when it was brought to Pataki’s attention that Libeskind was, technically, not an ‘architect’ in New York as he had no US experience and had not sat the State’s licensing exam, or any other State’s licensing exam. Barely a few months later New York State’s Office of the Professions (an agency under Pataki’s jurisdiction), suddenly and surprisingly awarded Libeskind a professional license even though he had no US building experience and did not study for or sit any tests to determine his competence or familiarity with high-rise or other relevant building experience.

    It should not surprise anyone that Libeskind’s lack of experience manifested itself very quickly and he was fired from the ‘Fredom Tower’ project and was not given any other building commissions at Ground Zero. (And he has no other built projects in New York either. In fact his wife even hired another architect to design their home.)

    So is Libeskind an ‘Architect’. Not in my opinion. As long as he disrespects the standards of professionalism that his peers uphold, he’ll never be more than a crappy draftsman cranking out shard shapes and crystal forms and blabbering psuedo intellectual dgibberish to give the illusion of architectural sophistication where there is no substance.

  3. Reg Arch says:

    There’s no question that Renzo Piano is an architect, and a really great one. His fine body of work confirms that. – As for Libeskind? He’s an embarrassment to the whole profession everywhere and should be banned from referring to himself as an architect or even as a designer. But if he wants to adopt the title of “egotistical loudmouth bore’, that’s fine by me.

  4. Bolero says:

    If an architect is someone who destroys another city’s or culture’s architectural heritage by ramming a meaningless wedge shape through a building or by defacing it with a crappy crystal addition, then Libeskind is an architect. But if the term “architect” is reserved for talented design professionals familiar with beauty and aesthetics, who is sensitive to history and aware of contextual relationships and cultural values, and capable of resolving the technical issues that underpin a design concept, then Libeskind is definately not qualified to use the term.

  5. Demo says:

    Refusing to call Renzo Piano an architect is just being pedantic. Refusing to call Daniel Libeskind an architect is just an expression of common sense.

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