Speaking of Design:
How to Spend $50,000

If I had $50,000 to spend on the design of a new home—or smallish professional office building, here's how I'd spend it:

Home:

Interior designer: $25,000.
Landscape designer: $15,000.
Architect: $10,000.

Logic: We live and work and play inside the dwelling (mostly) and outside the dwelling (some to a lot, depending on the climate). The skin that divides in from out, the architect's work, is a third-order concern.

Office:

Interior designer: $30,000.
Landscape designer: $12,000.
Architect: $8,000.

Logic is pretty much the same, with a little added emphasis on the interior.

If this makes sense from a use perspective (and "use" is what we do), why is the architect typically treated like God, and the interior designer and landscaper as second-stringers ... if we use them at all?

I suppose because "we" like pictures of the places we live and work better than the places themselves? (Ever notice that in architectural magazines, there are never people?) (Okay, I'll be fair, there are rarely people pix in interior design mags either—again, alas, we design for a good picture rather than livability.)

Full disclosure:

My wife is a tapestry artist and home furnishings designer-entrepreneur.
My hobby is landscaping.
I despise most Frank Gehry buildings as extravagant ego-exercises.*
[*There is one architect I love. Christopher Alexander—coauthor of the magnificent Pattern Language. He focuses on living in/using a space—inside and out—rather than the sexiness of the skin.]