AIA Southern Chapter Proceedings

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18 THE SOUTHERN CHAPTER, A.I.A.

architects regarding the position that ''The Southern Architect" sustains to this Chapter, the members were earnestly requested to contribute to its columns and illustrations.

A discussion by several of the members brought out the fact that the By-Laws do not state specificaliy what should be considered as unprofessional conduct, and that preferring charges against a member for making drawings at a reduced price could be construed as a matter of opinion, and therefore further, as a matter of persecution: and that said By-Laws cannot be changed or amended except by publishing the fact at least thirty days before voting upon such a change; and in consideration of the desirability to have specific regulations regarding this and other points that were mentioned; upon motion of Mr. L. F. Goodrich a committee of three was appointed to revise the Constitution and By-Laws, and at as early date as possible, to have the Secretary send a copy of same to each Fellow (at least thirty days before our next annual meeting) and to give full notice that the same will be changed at that meeting. Which motion was unanimously carried, and the Chair appointed Messrs. Morgan, Lind and H. Wheelock, on said Committee.

On motion of Mr. D. A. Helmich the Conventmn adjourned till ten o'clock to-morrow morning.

SECOND DAY--MORNING SESSION.

The President: Before proceeding with the business before the Convention I wish to state that the hospitality of Berry Bros. has been tendered the architects present and that carriages will be in waiting when this meeting adjourns for dinner for a drive about the city.

On the motion of Mr. Lind it was determined that we will adjourn at 12.30 to accept the invitation so kindly tendered by Messrs. Berry Bros.

The President: Mr. Lind has a paper to read before this Convention on the "Relation of the Architectural Profession to the Public;" he will now read that paper.

RELATION OF THE ARCHITECTURAT PROFESSION TO THE PUBLIC.

Mr. President and Gentlemen:

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for societies to hold annual conventions, it seems equally necessary that some-

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body should have something to say on such occasions. In accordance with this ancient usage, our esteemed President has deputed me to address you on the relation of the architectural profession to the public, and I will do my best to acquit myself of the honor thus conferred upon me.

Past experience teaches that the fewer and shorter the addresses made on such gatherings, the more they are appreciated, and as this is the first annual meeting of the Southern Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and I want to be appreciated, my paper shall be brief and to the point.

An experience of over thirty years as a practising architectentitles me perhaps to lay claim to being the oldest architectin this Chapter, Commencing business in 1858, I have, (with the exception of the usual weeks devoted to vacations, etc.,) been hard at work ever since. My nose is still kept to the grindstone. Fortune is still smiling upon me, though at a safe and long distance, and yet I am not happy, though I don't complain, for really "my lines have fallen in pleasant places," many genuine pleasures have been vouchsafed me in the course of designing and erecting the large numberof builditigs committed to my charge, by which I think the world as well as your humble servant has been benefitted.

To me, the study and practice of architecture has been a genuine pleasure, and if it could only be divested of its sordid trade-like environments, I know of nothing more fascinating; but I must return to the business in hand--the relation of architects to the public. That is what we are here to consider.

A good deal depends upon who the public may be; whether Eastern, Western, Northern or Southern. I have had a little experience with both, especially the three others, but the Southern public comes out on top of everything, architect and all; and that is paying the Southern public a great complimentif it knows how to take it.

According to another ancient custom, I shall now divide my subject into three parts-head, body and tail ; with such subdivisionsas cireumstances may dictate and your patience will allow.

In doing this I would remind you of the story told of an old Scotch divine, who preaching from the text, "The Devil goeth about as a roaring lion," divided his subjectinto three heads, as follows:

1st. Who, the devil, is he? 2nd. Where, the devil, did he come from? 3rd. What, the devil, is he roaring about? So we will begin with-1st. Who, the Architect, is he?

Well, at present he is a man, though in the near future he will be a woman also, for quite a number of the so-called weaker sex are forging their way to the front (I, myself, have my eye on three at least); and, ere many moons have passed away, will be ready to take their place among the faculty, and why shouldn't they? Women have æsthetic

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tastes, are equal with men at the brush, pencil and pen. They shine in the study, the parlor and drawing-room, and why not at the drawingtable?

To proceed, the architect should be a man of good education; have a natural taste for art and design, and ought to be well grounded in the practical details of the profession, besides having a complete theoretical training. He must know all about style and styles, be fully posted on the history of architecture of every land and clime; thoroughly versed in use and abuse of all known and unknown building materials, he must be an expert mathematician; a first-class engineer, a good deal of a merchant; a smart lawyer, of unquestioned and unquenchable integrity; a modest, affable and agreeable gentleman, always ready and willing to work, with or without pay (money is a very minor consideration, so it would be as well if he were a millionaire), and ought to possess the patience of at least one Job.

If we add to all these qualifications two others, which I was taught in my youth were indispensable, viz., that he should be able to perform on some musical instrument and to speak at least two languages, then you would have a model man architect.

I don't know how it is with my brethren about the musical portion of their education, but I take it for granted each one can blow his own horn. And I will guarantee none of you were very long in business before you were able to speak two languages, good bad, very effectively.

Now, whether the public expects to find such a rara avis, such a multum in parvo in one man, or whether it would appreciate him if it did, is another question. My private opinion is, that the public cares very little about him anyway, and thinks a great deal more of the "practical man," the carpenter, who is ever ready to furnish plans for nothing and to put up his building for less. If the public employs an architect at all it is grudgingly, and only because it cannot help itself. He is a necessary evil, a very costly luxury, and the thrifty public has very little use for such. Why an architect should be paid five per cent for merely a few sheets of drawings and specifications, and how he dare pretend to be superintendent of a building which he visits only once a day, or perchance once a week, is more than the public can understand. If the public built a house every day, or even every year, it would become better posted, and the architect as a consequence, be in greater demand. But it doesn't. Not one thousandth part of the public ever builds at all, and the portion that does build seldom does so more than once in a life-time. So, you see it has taken the public and the architect a long time to get acquainted.

Why this state of things should exist is, perhaps, after all, not entirely the fault of the public. There never was a time in the world's history when professions of every kind as so full of pretenders. We have not only "quack doctors," (why "quack" I don't know), but quack

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everything else, architecture coming in for its share of the genus.

A young man with a little smattering of drawing and a big spattering of ambition suddenly rushes to the front, opens an office, hangs up his shingle, and blows his horn to such good purpose, thata patron is forthcoming much earlier than to his more intelligent and better qualified rival, the rara avis before alluded to, and for half the usual fees he serves his client, and generally serves him out. But what can you expect for two and a half per cent? After a few years of practice and the ruination of several unfortunate speculators, he in time acquires a respectable knowledge of the business he only professed to know, has made a living, and goes on his way rejoicing. But in the meantime he has done much mischief to the profession.

No wonder then, with such an experience, if the despoiled client should feel somewhat aggrieved, and telling his tale of woe to others, warn them from the evil door.

As a remedy for this unfortunate condition of affairs, I would suggest that all of our best efforts be used in getting the profession of architecture placed on the same platform with that of divinity, medicine and law, whose professors are not permitted to practice until they have undergone a rigid course of study, passed an equally rigid examination, and then properly certificated that they are what they profess to be. The would-be architect would then be stimulated, if not compelled to read up and work for his degree, and it would bring with it not only education, but an amount of respect for the profession and of the profession which never comes to it now.

Having disposed of the head of my subject, I am led, as a matter of course, to the body, or second division:

2nd. Where, the Architect, does he come from?

He comes from anywhere and everywhere. There is no land under the sun where an architect may not be found. He is of every clime, every nationality, all sorts and all sizes; and is as necessary to the comfort and well-being of mankind as food and clothing.

It would be impossible to enumerate the number and variety of styles which emanate from this vast number and variety of genius, as he made his advent on earth with Adam, the first man, so he will be the last to take his leave, if he ever leaves at all.

So yousee, he is somebody of consequence. And if a necessary evil, he is also a long abiding one. You and I may estimate him at his true worth, but we want the public to be equally sagacious and well-informed.

Time was, when the architectand builder were one, but with the increased demand for civilization the one was one too few. The architect could not find time to plan and build likewise, so a division of labor became necessary, the artist and designer became the architect, and the constructor and mechanic the builder; much to the advantage of the employers of both and to the profit of all. Thus the architect evoluted into existence, and might spend a very pleasant one but for the thousand

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and one little annoyances, as common to his calling as to every other; so he takes as little heed of them as may be.

In the not very distant past the domain of Art in this country was occupied almost exclusively by foreigners. The natives of the soil were too busy tilling it and making crops by the sweat of their brows to give much time to luxuries. As a consequence the arts flourished with a foreign accent. Less than fifty years ago the greater portion of the buildings in this country were designed by foreigners, while to-day these re-united States occupy as conspicuous a place in the domain of fine art as any country in the world. The accumulation of wealth by the older generation, as a reward for their constant toil and steady habits, gave to their children the advantages of better education, facilities for travel and a contact with the outer world, which has resulted in an improved race, with minds expanded and enlarged, filled with the love of the beautiful, and purses equally well filled for gratifying their improved tastes. The results are to be seen everywhere in the beautiful and costly buildings which have sprung into existence, so that few countries can boast of superior. The fine arts are cultivated and flourish to an extent hitherto unknown, and if they go on at the same rapid and American pace for another half century, this country will be the most magnificent --and let us hope, the best--on top of the globe.

We now come to the tail, or last part of our subject.

What, the Architect, does he want? Or, in the expressive language of the divine, What is he roaring about?

He wants recognition as an artist and as a scientist; he wants to be placed in his rightful position before the public he desires to serve. He wants to work for fame as fortune. Wealth is not everything in this life; a little well fed and well feed pride and vanity is very acceptable now and then, and very often the best efforts and best qualities of a man ere brought out by a little--ever so little--well-timed praise and commendation.

He wants to be believed in and trusted; he wants his client to feel that in employing him his best interests will be subserved, and his work faithfully performed. He wants to be as promptly paid for his services as a mechanic is for his; and moreover, he wants the same rights as are given the mechanic, a lien upon the building his patience and skill have caused to be erected. While his modesty may be too great to admit of his forcing himself into prominence, he wants to feel that he is somebody, and then he will be somebody ; let him feel that anybody can be he, and he will soon be nobody, if he has any pnde at all about him; and when he has finished his work and indulges in a commendable pride upon surveying his own creation, he wants to have the full credit of the design; and not have the wind taken out of the sails by such expressions from the secretly gratified owner, "Oh, well you know I designed the building myself, but just got my architect to put it in shape for me." Yes, I often wonder when I am compelled to listen to such

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