Bruce Mau wants us to do better.

February 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

Bruce Mau, designer and agent of Massive Change, has condescendingly charged all architects to stop complaining, get a broader perspective, and generally do better. Throughout the piece (in the January 2011 issue of ARCHITECT), Mau’s tone is both highly critical and highly instigating, leaving no room for anyone to ask “but what about the obstacles?” :

If you are an architect and are thinking any thought other than, “Hey, this is awesome! This is the craziest, coolest, most beautiful time in human history to be alive and working;” if you aren’t saying, “Wow! I get to constantly learn new things, and everything is uncertain. I want everyone on the planet to get in on the action and be part of this new world of invention and beauty!”— I don’t want to hear it.

After reading the article for the first time, his intense tone made me feel like a scolded child – even though I agree that this is a crazy cool time to be in the design industry. But while I wish that Mau had taken a less harsh approach as well as avoided comparing the problems of his readers with, say, orphaned children whose parents and grandparents have all died from HIV/AIDS… I do appreciate the core message. Architects have great resources “to shape the world, to create beauty, to produce wealth, to reach people with new ideas,” and I agree with Mau that these goals should get higher priority than maintaining elite status or fighting to protect the reputation of design-as-art rather than design-as-solution.

promotional poster for the Leningrad State Publishing House by productivist and constructivist artist Aleksandr Rodchenko

February 21’s daily design idea is a piece of encouraging advice from Mau, directed at those who are disappointed to be in the portion of the industry that isn’t designing for a better word: “If you realize your colleagues have been so busy policing the fence of exclusivity that they forgot to open the door of possibility, then get in the game.”



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“Demolition material, photograph, frame.” Two meters tall.

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