There’s an old saying an architect friend of mine once told me that has really stuck with me through the years. He said “good architects create, great architects copy”. I remember at first being extremely offended by this statement because it was my belief that all architects create. Eventually I came to the realization that my friend really is correct because quite simply, it’s all been done before and we’re all just recreating the same themes in different ways over and over again but to different effect.
But when do we cross the line from “copy” to “theft”?
I received a phone call last weekend from a non-profit organization, which for now will remain nameless, asking for help on a project because the “designer” they originally paid to provide a design for them to present to some interested parties for affordable housing had quite blatantly STOLEN work from ANOTHER non-profit and tried to pawn it off as his own. LUCKILY they did their due diligence and discovered this guy’s fabrication before trying to market these materials as originals and opening themselves up to legal liability.
It’s honestly hard for me even to write about this without jumping into a very long winded and profane rant about ethics and honesty and honor, etc etc. So, instead, I’ll put it out there to you all – have you had experiences like this? And, if so, how did you handle the situation and what advice can you offer as a way to vet future designers/architects to make sure that they are not a fake, fraud or freeloader?