Architect Michael Imber is well known among classicists in America. His practice in Texas ranges from classicism touched with a coy creativity to a Mission style elegantly reflecting its Southwest influences. He has become increasingly perturbed at the state of architecture in America and the world, with its addiction to novelty above all else. Nothing wrong with innovation but, as Imber deftly points out, it must not stray beyond utility. How odd, and sad, that the quality of usefulness is so frequently the first aspect of this supposedly practical art to get the heave-ho from modernists.
The list of ways most architects fly in the face of the goals of architecture from time immemorial beggars the imagination, and much of it is contained in Imber’s crie de coeur, in which he points a cranky finger at the American Institute of Architects. Even the organization seems to sense that things have gone awry. It has instituted a “repositioning,” that, alas, seems very much to resemble a circling of the wagons. Clearly, the AIA has led architecture so far astray that it seems truly to have no idea what all the fuss is about.
In “The State of Architecture,” Imber tags the AIA for snubbing the ideals it was founded in 1857 to promote. He predicts that under current leadership, architects “are doomed to be continually hitting the reset button.” Imber’s editorial has been sent out by John Massengale along with a petition for reforming the AIA. It is here. Although directed at AIA members, let’s all sign it, and help bring architecture into the 21st century.