My profession has brought me to many design and building events. Lectures, public & private discussions, meetings with city officials, developers, design studios, architecture schools, presentations and debates, workshops etc. are only the 5 % of our work. Though the topics change through the years and the interests, one thing always stays the same. The thirst for innovation and realisation of "THE" idea of "THE" project. If that is a success, the architects, urban designers or planners, developers, project managers, city officials and whoever might be involved gets proud of the achievement under the cloak of "MY" project "MY" building or of "I DID THAT".
Is it true though?
Even if we (as designers) win a distinction, there is always because of the jury, they let it happen. Even when there is a significant (significance, as a term for social value) project there is a team or teams of people that "THEY" made it happen. This brings me to Rotterdam and the Central Station of the city. The building of the station which was quiet recently finished has a monumental form which touches the highest levels of a Great Infrastructure Project. In this project, there are at least 4 big architectural offices (excluding the architectural department of the city or of the Dutch railway) involved, which transformed the area completely in and out of the station. Yet, there is an undefined rumour that the "idea" of this monumentality, more precisely of the steel sloping roof for the entrance, was of an intern in one of these offices - probably during his design exercises. It is a rumour, but not really far from what happens in other projects as well. I wonder though, did he go around saying "MY" project or "MY" building?
What about the user though...the users?
Are they confident enough to say "MY" building and to be proud of it? Except when we refer to the owner of a building, the direct user and the idea creator, how can we bring the common users to really feel proud of their environment, their building, their idea that "THEY" had?