What is the value of design? As an architect, I constantly wrestle with this notion. What is the value of architecture? As a profession? As an art form? As an education pedagogy? Without making this sound like a diatribe or whiny soap box rant, I do wonder how design, or the creative process is perceived in the big picture.
Architecture is a diverse art form that includes everything from conceptual visualizations to construction. I call it an art form because it is a creative act that requires invention in even the most mundane tasks. There is just as much art in creating a steel connection detail as there is in conceiving a master plan for a new city in the desert, or some other conceptual fabrication.
Architecture is not something that anyone can do. Without trying to sound like an elitist or jerk, but there is a lot of education and training that goes into becoming an architect. Architects are licensed professionals, just like doctors, lawyers, engineers and dentists. For some reason people assume that they can all be architects, but no one claims that they are capable of being an amateur dentist, or a hobbyist surgeon. I believe that even some architects should not be architects. It is one thing to sketch buildings, but making sure that the sketch becomes reality is something that not every architect is capable of doing.