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May 18, 2009

How Elders Protect Themselves from Young’uns

"For the first two years," the young architecture student told us, "we're not allowed to use computers or CAD. We have to learn to do all our drawing by hand. That's the way Miis [van der Rohe] would have wanted it. That's how we learn the basics."

Sounds good but it's bullshit.

Do we do physics with a slide rule and log tables anymore? Would that make us more like Einstein? Do young programmers have to learn to keypunch because that's what I had to do a million years ago to prepare my programs for execution? Do stone cutters have to practice chipping a softer stone with a harder stone because that's what their predecessors did? Of course not!

I know why generation x doesn't want generation x+1 to use the latest technology; it's because the kids are better at the new technology than their elders. And the elders don't want to be bested. The great fear of the greybeards whose skill was tedious drafting of commonplace designs is that a young genius with a computer'll output a masterpiece that breaks the old rules without even serving a decent humble apprenticeship.

The rules favor the incumbents, no surprise. You can't get your degree without following some of the rules and it's hard to be a practicing architect (or many other things) without a degree. What a waste.

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