June 03: architects and dogs

2012/06/03 § 2 Comments

On this day in 1897 the State of Illinois passed the nation’s first architecture licensure law.

Providing for “the licensing of architects, and regulating the practice of architecture as a profession,” was finally approved on June 3 and enforced starting January 1 of 1898.

In its December issue, the Inland Architect pronounced that the law’s provision to allow entrance to the profession by examination, rather than the varied roads available for millennia, was “certainly the more creditable [way] and will in the future be a stronger guarantee of professional ability.”

Really?  We don’t deny that the law has a purpose, but “guarantee of professional ability?”  Let’s review.  Before 1897, unlicensed American architects built stuff like this and this and this; after 1897, licensed American architects built stuff like this and this and this.

The Muse rests her case.

We will say this for the law: soon after its enactment it inspired thirty-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright, Poobah of the Prairie House and Tsar of Tsnark, to pronounce one of his best bons mots:

in the state of Illinois, architects and dogs must be licensed.

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§ 2 Responses to June 03: architects and dogs

  • Susan Barsy says:

    As usual, we are left to envy the British model. . . .and one wonders whether the mechanical production of architects (through professional schooling) contributes to the overbuilding rampant in the US today. SB

    • Clio says:

      Oh Ms. Barsy. Don’t get the Muse started on those subjects. There’s not enough room in the blogosphere to accommodate her frustration.

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