Monrovia — The Liberian Institute of Architects (LIA) says it takes serious exception to the constant abuse of the profession by Liberians- ranging from Government to private citizens.
The Liberia Institute of Architects is the professional embodiment of all qualified architects who should be operating in Liberia. Some of its members include nearly twenty-eight trained Architects by international standards.
One of the major problems hindering Liberia's infrastructural development is that it lacks true architecture culture.
Liberia's urban design is marred by random construction without ecological consideration, inadequate building plans, polluted water and poor sanitation, among others.
While some of these problems could be attributed to factors such as poverty, displacement, and lack of education, the architecture community has blamed the lack of political will and the failure of government to enact laws to back the sector as the undying causes.
The LIA, in a statement warned that it was time people consult an architect before putting up a building or any construction project, else Liberia will continue to be backward.
"Liberia will remain the least developed if this continues in this direction," the LIA said.
It continues: "What is more frustrating is the fact that the initiating partners of said projects, who are supposedly educated and are widely traveled behave in the opposite manner, pertinent to project delivery, as true patriotism is betrayed and the least Wisdom inapplicable in the planning of projects, in absence of an enforcement, implementing and monitoring system, some of which are the procurement sections, who could do better by involving the LIA."
Although the LIA is a member of the Six-man Zoning Council, a board member of the EPA, and the Professional body recognized by Ministry of Public Works for qualifying Architects, the LIA said it was not still enough.
"The LIA looks forward to legislating the word "Architect" as a solution to the urban infrastructure demise. We plead with you for our country's sake-the next time you wish to help your people or your constituents, or score political points by developing facilities, allow an LIA member to illuminate your vision; and this goes to the entire citizenry."
The LIA called on the public to contact its offices, the Ministry of Public Works, the Association of Liberian Contractors (ALCC) for a list of 'Actual Architects' to produce comprehensive required work, and promised that if such job requires civil engineering input in the event of bridges, roads, etc., it will aid in directing them appropriately.
The LIA, in the statement also clarified that Engineers are not Architects and frowned on the government for not enacting laws that will back the industry.
'It is time that people understand that a Draftsman is not an Architects. It is about time the whole nation understands since our Government will not make this unequivocally relevant by backing and enacting laws for this industry. It is time the people know that the first step for building a house or a building is to consult an Architect."
According to LIA, architecture is not "drawings" and architects are specialized trained individuals in the analysis, design, and specifications of space, buildings, and the environment considering the factors of nature, science, engineering, philosophy and arts.
It outlined that Liberia continues to see mediocre projects undertaken by individuals and organizations with political interest and under the disguise of development contribution, something that is at the detriment of a cohesive development agenda and an urban infrastructure policy.
The LIA furthered that it was appalling that people would continue to take advantage of an illiterate population that do not understand the difference between a house and a building or a kitchen and a service space.
Moving forward to getting the country's infrastructure more contemporary, the LIA said "posted projects need to meet tectonics, aesthetics, functionality, context, typology, fluidity and budgetary requirements, with safety and health as paramount importance as well."
Architects role are very critical in policy decisions that are impacted by disasters such as COVID-19, in terms of space planning, circulation, technology, hardware, the statement said.
It vowed to continuously "take exceptions, publicly denounce, disassociate itself, critique, and engage in diverse manners concerning the continuous abuse of our profession, to avoid the downward trend of mediocre development."