A Lucrative Business
In my spare time, I love watching interviews. I love hearing about people's opinions, thoughts and ideas and if there's a seasoned interviewer at the other end, we get beautifully targeted questions that drive a conversation.
Some of the Hindi film critics are excellent interviewers and only just yesterday was I listening to Anupama Chopra interview Deepika Padukone. The conversation came to a point where they were discussing the film industry as a business endeavor. Deepika, who recently turned producer, was quick to point out that it is not a lucrative business. "People make films because they have a story to tell. It is not necessarily the best place to go if you want to make money."
She's got a point. The cinema business is about stories, entertainment and if things click, entertaining stories. The thing with quality cinema is that there's a storyteller at the helm, a cast and technicians that are his means and producers who are willing to invest in the venture. It got me thinking about how a director could parallel an architect, bringing the soul to the project, the cast and technicians are the consultants, construction workers and the whole entourage it takes to build something and the investors are the clients. You need an ensemble to make the effort work. Just as it is not possible to conceive a film without a director, it should not be possible for us to build without architects.
Sadly, as a public, we do not entirely understand the value architects bring to a project. Also, as architects, we do a poor job of validating our need. This is not a lucrative business either. People become architects, not because they want to make money, but because they have something to say about society at large. Through our work, we can aim at systemic changes - even if they are incremental. A nudge towards a better direction.
Amidst COVID, I was pondering if there is a way architects could contribute to the current situation. Sure, we use our fabricating machines to produce face masks - definitely the most direct (& necessary) form of help to our front-line workers. Yet, I came across someone's Instagram story saying how architects somewhere are responsible for the spaces we now find ourselves confined to. This resurfaces a fundamental aspect of our role - we shape the spaces in which simply being or doing become possible. It's such a fundamental need to our lives that we often forget what effort it requires to be a conducive space to work or rest.
I think this entire thread of thought helps me better understand for myself and compound why architects are important to the way we shape our lives, how sometimes we tend to forget this. I hope this probes thoughts on how we can better function as a society that is human centric.