I watched a movie over the weekend called "It's Complicated", in which Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin play a divorced couple that have an affair. The only problem is that he left her years ago for a younger woman whom he is currently married to. So amid the affair, Meryl Streep's character tries not get attached by trying to continue on in the dating world. She begins to date her architect, played by Steve Martin, who is designing her home addition. Although I enjoyed the movie, I could not help but chuckle to myself how this architect was portrayed.
After their initial meeting where Martin comes to Streep's house to review the progress of the plans, they decide to meet again the following week to go over some notes that she has. OK. This is perfectly normal. However, in the following meeting, Martin surprises her by laying out the addition in her yard with stakes and tape and even blocks out the location of the dining room table. He then has her walk up a ladder that he has set up so she can see what her new view will look like. This made me laugh because, I'm sorry to say this, but architects are professionals. We do not "surprise" our clients with additional services. However, I am willing to overlook this for the sake of the movie because at this point, Martin's character is clearly going out of his way to woo Streep.
The next bit that made me laugh, which I see all too often on in Hollywood's portrayal of architects, was the architect's office. Of course it is full of young professionals drafting away at their tables using rulers and drafting brushes. Visit any architecture firm today and you will be lucky if you can even find a drafting brush. Everything is computerized. I suppose it is more romantic to think that architects still do everything by hand.
And lastly, there was one more owner/architect interaction that would never happen in real life. In the final scene, a group of workers arrive at Streep's house to begin construction. At this point, Streep and Martin's characters have broken up, so she is more than pleasantly surprised to see him emerge from the group and give her a smile and a wink. Let me just say, I can not think of a reason why an architect would be at the site for the first day of construction for a home addition. Architects are rarely retained for any construction services on residential projects, so to be there on the first day is really going above and beyond. I'm sure he is going to be really helpful watching the excavators dig the foundations.
On a side note, this is not the first time that Steve Martin has played an architect in a movie. Here is a still from him in "Housesitter":
Again, not a single computer in the office! Of course, I am sure that there are many other professions that are inaccurately portrayed on tv and in movies. I have to say that I do enjoy watching these portrayals, they always give me a good laugh!