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The other day I met a marketing professor at one of the better universities who had recently judged an architectural competition.

New to judging, he had been astonished at the quality of information and presentation.

Astonished as in horrified.

He declared that he would go back to his university and set up an architectural communications course.

I don't hold out much hope for it. Who would admit the need to sign up? As we all know, a certain, ahem, smugness prevails - and you can see it on architectural websites. Otherwise, why would every practice have a page labelled: 'Philosophy', 'What We Believe' or 'Our Architecture'. Nobody has detected any Aristotles or Hegels among the budding architectural illuminati recently, so I have difficulty with that word 'philosophy' on such websites - especially when it is normally the heading for a collection of architectural commonplaces of little interest to clients and evoking scorn for hip young offi ce fodder.

And what of the nononsense promises to give personal attention, or be ontime and on-budget? Aren't they exactly what laypeople expect of a pro? Why raise doubts by mentioning them?

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