“The sunk cost fallacy is most dangerous when we have invested a lot of time, money, energy, or love in something. The investment becomes a reason to carry on, even if we are dealing with a lost cause. The more we invest, the greater the sunk costs are, and the greater the urge to continue.”—
Today its sense of purpose is undermined by its bottom line. Practices undercut each other, taking on low-margin work in their desperation to cover fixed outlays and farming out tasks involving once-prized specialist skills to cheaper markets or software programmes. Much of their work is done for free – feasibility studies for developers, designs submitted to competitions they have little chance of winning. Meanwhile, an army of specialists is taking over: project managers, consultants, acoustic engineers, lighting designers.
The profession needs to attract those with the best brains, not just the fattest wallets. Climate change, the housing shortage, polluted cities, abandoned public space – in finding the solutions to these problems and others besides, it must play a central role. These are not abstractions: the planet’s huge environmental challenges are an aggregation of smaller problems that architects can help solve.
The real question is; what are we going to do about it?