The AIA’s New Mantra: “Please Give a F*ck About Architecture!”

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In a bold new attempt to get more people to appreciate architecture, the American Institute of Architects has unveiled a fresh public awareness campaign with a highly memorable tagline. The call for people to “Please Give a F*ck About Architecture” comes after last year’s initiative — charmingly entitled “Look Up” — failed to win the hearts of the general population, primarily due to the fact that most people have a hard time looking straight ahead, let alone arcing their necks to gaze towards the sky.

“For our last public awareness campaign, we urged everyone to ‘Look Up.’ Unfortunately, they were too busy playing Settlers of Catan and listening to Drake, so they just continued to look down and shuffle on through the darkness,” lamented AIA spokesperson Joseph King. “The new slogan is rambunctious. It’s edgy. It’s a little Patrik Schumacher, a little Kanye West, a little Donald Trump. Ultimately, it’s very now.”

While the old “Look Up” campaign was well-intentioned, it faced an uphill struggle to capture the imagination of those both inside and outside the industry. This was not helped by its achingly broad motto, a phrase so vague that it felt more at home as the Twitter hashtag of a popular British airline than that of an awareness initiative for brilliant buildings and the talented designers behind them. Now, the AIA are taking a markedly less subtle approach.

The AIA’s new campaign banner flies outside the historic Octagon House, with the Institution’s modern headquarters just behind; image via Wikimedia

“Some might say we sound a little desperate,” added King, “but I’d call it bullish. The exclamation point after ‘Architecture’ lends the call to action a certain vociferous quality. This is something that you could yell out in Santiago Calatrava’s PATH train terminal in New York, and listen to it echo off those gleaming white ribs a thousand times. People won’t be able to ignore us this time.”

The revelation of the slogan was accompanied by the unveiling of a flag that will represent the campaign, displaying architecture’s most well-known landmark of profanity to date: Frank Gehry’s iconic middle finger. The graphic, rendered in brutalist gray, will be emblazoned on Times Square billboards and adorn the front of every architecture school hoodie in the country in the coming months.

“Frank gives a f*ck,” said King. “We’re asking the rest of you to give a f*ck, too. Please. Now.”

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