“Elitist” Australian architect publicity drive slammed

An Australian campaign highlighting the professionalism of architects has come under fire for “elitism”.

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) consumer engagement programme is causing a stir following a recent publicity drive.

“Ask An Architect” was launched by the AIA in September 2014 to provide advice and information about architecture and working with architects to those interested in buying, building, renovating or maintaining a home.

But the Building Designers Association of Victoria (BDAV) has contacted the country’s Competition and Consumer Commission and called on the AIA to immediately end the “misleading” campaign.

The ads include an image of a floret of broccoli and the words “You wouldn’t ask a butcher about broccoli, so when it comes to building and renovating, ask an architect”.

It then states: “You talk to someone with the degree and the years of experience to bring it to life. An architect. Not a designer, draughtsman or your sister’s husband’s brother who’s handy on a computer”.

President of the BDAV, Alistair McDonald says the campaign is misleading.

He said: “I think it’s a form of elitism.

“We’re concerned that the AIA are misleading the public or the consumers saying that we’re not qualified, basically trying to restrict trade for our members or registered draughts-people generally, just to try and monopolise the market.”