i have to comment on this because it infuriates me.
useless is such a harsh word. i think almost every degree is useful, so long as the individual does what he/she is learning to do correctly. architecture is a tough career because of the current economic state, but it is not necessarily “useless”. i think architects that don’t know what they are doing are useless, but if they know as much as an engineer about building a building, which i think shouldn’t be too much to ask for considering that they are architects, being considered useful shouldn’t be a problem.
i think the reputation of an architect has been tainted by this need to be cool and progressive. i haven’t seen one project in school that wouldn’t cost a billion dollars to build. instead of being taught to express ourselves and impress everyone with cool shapes that we don’t even know how to build, we should be pushed to build in the most economic and sustainable way possible. i’ve recently worked on a couple projects where sustainability was a major component, and granted, they weren’t the coolest looking projects, but at least they can be built relatively cheap.
no one is going to care about the metaphor of a building if the building itself is an expensive mess. the same message can be put across simply and elegantly for cheap if we know how to build. we need to take back the role of builder and stop trying to be solely artists, then we won’t be looked at as useless.