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The Property Brothers Are The Voice of Architecture

February 7, 2020


The Property Brothers are on all media all the time. Not their cable show, but their advertising presence as shills for any number of national products on every platform there is.

They must have authority.

They do what they do where it matters: they look, sound and present well. Correct BMI, cute smiles, nice voices, composed, tight delivery. The information they mouth, as defined and written by their producers, is apt, sound bitey, and clipped for TV.

They are TV. But they are design too.

This week architects went nuts debating the evil attempt to control a federal architecture

One critic thought it was a ‘waste of time”. The actual outrage may have been the better story than the subject matter: creating, as one architect endorsed, a “Dress Code” (applied how?).

But tiny groups of stakeholders tweeted each other in a self-focused freakout that no one else saw or cared about.

They were too busy watching The Property Brothers define what you should value. What is “hot right now”. What is important. Based on a few years of flipping homes and a decade of looking good on camera.

We believe them. They give use safe, soft, quick approbation that what is available is what we need. No thinking necessary. No creativity is so no risk. Invention cannot have a sound bite because inventions are simply attempts, not results. In the most risky thing we have, our homes, there is infinite downside to wrong choices. And everyone lives somewhere.

So the vast majority of everyone whistles past those crazy architects saying things we do not understand, using words that seem to promise breaking the bank. We prefer things that are safe.

We believe The Property Brothers. Ideas that are discounted into being commodities. Wisdom that has fully boiled down to those sound bites. We put our money where our safety is: we buy the stuff The Property Brothers sell.

Nothing wrong with “Making America Beautiful Again” but whose beauty? Whether by the AIA, Architectural Record, or the screaming architects, that is a tiny corner of how people see beauty. The rest of us can see, every day, the Property Brothers selling beauty to us all.

But beauty is not a commodity, so those screaming architects (like me) and The Property Brothees cannot commodify what touches us into being a sound bite.

Humans know what has meaning, no matter how many ads are there in the back ground of our overloaded perceptions. The essential truth that some things are moving, rewarding, even thrilling cannot be ”Style” defined, no matter how safe that would be.

Unlike everyone else who has written in the this latest outrage, I help make things everyday. They are there I know some hate them, or just do not care, probably most.

But some find something in the buildings we help make, because something is there, because all the humans who are involved are in those things.

Not the ones on the TV, or the blog sites, just you and me. That may not be enough to define the changing universe of anything as Artificisl Intelligence renders the Property Brothers quaint artisanal buffoons. But our humanity is in each of us, and actually defines us.

Humans need to know that they are the deep fiber of aesthetics, not those who want to control or make money off of them. Have faith.

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