More on the improper use of the word “architect”

Below is some of what I posted on the Denver Post Online, regarding the improper use of the word “architect”:

People need to know that the Department of Regulatory Agencies of the State of Colorado has some statements about the legal use of the title “architect.”

From the DORA website :

“The unlicensed practice of architecture and the improper use of the title ‘Architect’ or the word ‘Architect’ may constitute a violation of the Colorado Architect Law.”“Title 12, Article 25, Part 3 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (‘Architect Law’) creates the Board and grants it the authority to examine and license duly qualified applicants to practice architecture and use the title ‘Architect’ in Colorado.”

I believe that an education in architecture is a great background, one that translates easily into many fields of work.  But having a degree in architecture does not make someone an architect.  An architect’s training comes primarily from working under the direct supervision of a licensed architect.  That is why Colorado law (and the law in most other states) requires architecture school graduates to work under the direct supervision of a licensed architect for a certain number of years before being deemed eligible to take the licensing exam.  Only after passing the licensing exam and being registered in the State of Colorado is a person allowed to call himself an architect here. 

This is the reason that the media should not use the term “architect” as casually as it does.

Improper use of the word “architect”

The media is misusing the word “architect” again.  See the text of my Letter to the Editor of the Denver Post, below:

In the April 18, 2010 Denver Post article “Off the Grid,” the Post referred to Mr. Wayne Snider, the town manager of Fowler, as “architect of the project.”  Mr. Snider is not an architect.

Colorado law defines an architect as “a person licensed… and entitled thereby to conduct a practice of architecture in the state of Colorado.”  An architect is licensed by the State to perform the professional services of planning and design of buildings, preparation of construction contract documents including working drawings and specifications for the construction of buildings, and the observation of construction. 

The casual, improper use of the word “architect” dilutes the meaning of the word and misleads readers.  Please do not use the word “architect” to describe people who are not architects.

Liz O’Sullivan, AIA