Charles Luckman at the AIA

At the 1967 convention of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Charles Luckman – architect of the Prudential Center – was asked to speak on the theme of “Practice.”  (He is on the right side of this brochure from the ’67 conference, held in the New York Hilton Hotel.)  He called his speech “Architecture IS a Business,” a phrase that was very much his motto.  To prepare for the speech he polled many of the leading architecture firms in the country to ask them what they thought was the biggest problem facing the profession.  Many of them reported that it was the percentage fee system of billing practice — architects were paid a percentage of the total construction costs.  Architects believed this created a negative cycle; there was good reason to run up costs unnecessarily without getting better design.  These architects wanted a flat fee for the design.  It is a quandary that remains with the profession today.

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