human error

Architects typically complain about a lack of respect for the profession. A reason that I have found for the problem, stems from the fact that the fear of lawsuits have begun to mould the world into a single class of society that is understandably, but unconscionably, unable to admit to its mistakes. It applies to both the collective and the individual. The practice of architecture has not been spared.

With the search for architectural experiment in the course of my practice, I have made some of the most atrocious mistakes, from roofs angled too low for proper rainwater run-off, to built ideas requiring post-rectification, and design additions requiring more effort and money to construct. The horror of self-discovery can be a numbing thing. And it is rarely spoken of, that the two most difficult things for an architect to ever do is to develop that ability to admit to a mistake and then to find an acceptable solution to the contractor and client, as remedy for that mistake. It was a lesson I learned working under Kamil Merican. The key, he said, was not in avoiding mistakes but in taking responsibility for them.

In the course of my own practice, I have found that human error is indeed the greatest tool to an architect and that most architects actually start doing tired work when mistakes stopped getting made. I have also found ways to learn from the tool that the error has become, developing opportunities from potential mistakes. However, I have also learned something new; that human error comes with its price. That no architect should be brave enough to undertake projects or experiment with architecture, if they are not equally as willing to pay for their mistakes that result from the work. I have discovered that if architects hold themselves accountable as such, fewer mistakes would be made and those mistakes which inevitably result from passion would be paid for with accompanying passion. It would ultimately breed a profession built with greater integrity. And one, justifiably, rewarded with greater respect.



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