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  1. ArchDaily
  2. News
  3. Is the Architect an Authoritarian?

Is the Architect an Authoritarian?

  • 02:30 - 28 August, 2015
  • by Rasmus Wærn & Gert Wingårdh
Is the Architect an Authoritarian?
Is the Architect an Authoritarian?, "Alvar Aalto had become a fixture in the architectural firmament, but fell hard to earth when the society that had held him aloft suddenly turned its back on all establishment figures". Image © Nico Saieh
"Alvar Aalto had become a fixture in the architectural firmament, but fell hard to earth when the society that had held him aloft suddenly turned its back on all establishment figures". Image © Nico Saieh

Short answer: No. Don’t confuse the responsibility of proposing solutions with the power to execute them.

Long answer: Few things have changed the role of the architect as radically as when many people lost faith in the idea of authority in the 1970s. Nothing was the same after that. Numerous star architects born around the turn of the last century, such as Alvar Aalto, had become a fixture in the architectural firmament, but fell hard to earth when the society that had held him aloft suddenly turned its back on all establishment figures. The revolt against the status quo changed the rules of the game for architects and politicians in particular. And the loss of authority soon led to the loss of self-confidence, but that’s nothing to grumble about now. The days when an architect could lead the way by pointing are long gone; now it’s essential to be enthusiastic and encourage everyone to come together. That works best if architects believe in themselves.

This short excerpt was taken from Rasmus Wærn & Gert Wingårdh's new book, "What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions." This week, we're sharing seven questions from the book, with one new excerpt released each day. "What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions" will be on sale starting September 1st.

About this author
Rasmus Wærn & Gert Wingårdh
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Cite: Rasmus Wærn & Gert Wingårdh. "Is the Architect an Authoritarian?" 28 Aug 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/772586/is-the-architect-an-authoritarian/> ISSN 0719-8884