Some of my best friends are architects…
Actually my wife is an architect – so I risk marital issues by ripping into the profession for the vacuous waffle-bags they are.
Well sometimes are.
I present to you McNally – an Australian architecture private company which did a commercial fit-out for Absolute Alpha – the funds management company that later renamed itself the Astarra Asset Management and were responsible for the Astarra Strategic Fund. (Regular followers of this blog will know this fund for the disaster that turned out to be…)
Here is McNally advertising their commercial fitout skills – showing pictures of what they have achieved.
And here is the text:
Absolute Alpha, MLC Centre, Sydney
This is a high quality commercial fitout for a Funds Management company.
The design came from close study of the organisation’s work methods, practices, technology, culture and vision. High quality finishes are used throughout with colours reflecting the companies [sic] corporate identity. All spaces have connection to the external windows that have panoramic city and harbour views. The end result is improved office efficiencies and productivity. This, along with enhanced staff satisfaction, makes this project a success.
Now McNally say that their design came about – and I quote again – “from close study of the organisation’s work methods, practices, technology, culture and vision”.
Ok – here is what the work practices now appear to be: Absolute (or later the Astarra Asset Management) invented the returns for the “strategic fund” (or their Hong Kong controllers invent their returns). They looked good. They had an impressive sales function that paid undisclosed (hidden) commissions to financial planners. When they raised money they wired it to a bank account in either the British Virgin Islands or the Caymans never to be seen again.
The conclusion – either the architecture company is
(a) Vacuous – as they did their “close study” and did not notice the bleatingly obvious truth,
(b) Complicit in the crime – in that their close study did reveal the truth but they chose to ignore it for the commission or
(c) Lying – in that they did not do a close study of the “work methods, practices, technology, culture and vision” but said they did for marketing purposes.
When shown a patina of architect marketing I think of that profession as arty-farty, quasi-psuedo intellectuals who get invited to pretty darn good cocaine snorting parties.
And when an architect says that they get to know their clients I guess it is because they imagine the clients going to those same parties.
Here are photos of the old premises – ripped off the McNally website.