Great architecture just isn’t possible without the help of equally great builders. It wasn’t until about 140 years ago that the two diverged into separate professions. Many of the great buildings of history’s architect was the builder, they were one in the same.
Sadly, over the last twenty years, the number of true builders has dwindled, giving way for contractors that perform more like brokers than builders. The art and craft of building has gradually become a commodity. Architects have similarly seen most of their former role as “fountain head” of the building process reduced to that of permit expediter.
Not every building requires the vision of a wise architect. Every building doesn’t demand the skills of a veteran builder who can build the project in their mind before he or she gives a reliable cost estimate. But our clients do. The problem is that there just aren’t many veteran builders left who still love their art and craft enough to do what it takes to build great buildings.
In my life as an architect I have had the pleasure of working with a few of the great ones. Walter Murphy and Jim Turner top that list, because they were willing to help me learn how to become a wise architect, and figured out how to build our projects when the drawings and specs weren’t perfect. There are others, for sure, but I wonder where the next generation of these kind of builders are going to come from? Maybe they are all around me and I don’t see them, but I worry.
If you are reading this, and you know how to build with skilled labor, rather than just a list of subcontractors and accountants, please join in this blog and share your thoughts. If you are not a builder, but know one that deserves some credit, please share your reasons.
In the end, if we are going to continue to make more Savannah that is worthy of our history and culture, we need your help.