Architectural Style and Management Ideals

James S. Russell 

Architects see themselves as pragmatic artists and talk about transforming the mundane necessities of factory life or office work to a higher cultural plane. To business clients, architects present their art as a powerful means to enhance business efficiency, but architecture advances in the hands of those driven by a personal aesthetic, if not a psychological agenda. The business client quickly recognizes this and often recoils. Business is never comfortable making common cause with an endeavor that is not wholly devoted to its own agenda. This is why architecture and business, over the decades of the twentieth century, have had much in common with the partners in a tempestuous love affair. American business has only intermittently succumbed to architecture’s fascinations. After a dizzying courtship, business leaders often conclude that architecture, like a beautiful mistress, too often consumes the bottom line rather than adding to it...

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