A week ago or so, I witnessed an atypical confrontation on the morning train to Copenhagen. I was sitting in the silent compartment, where "mobile phones be switched off and conversations kept to a minimum". As we were leaving Copenhagen Airport, a few people had unknowingly stepped into this silent zone and continued their conversation. An excentric Swedish lady in her 50's rises immediately and points out, rather indiscretely, that this is the silent zone and they should keep quiet, whereupon the young couple continue talking to each other, laughing about this surprising attack on their seemingly normal behaviour. The lady insists, and tells the young man to step out into the hallway, whereupon I hear from another party in the compartment (everyone is now following the intrigue with great interest): "It's not your fault, it's the architect's fault!" And then again, a few minutes later, when the young man comes back, blushed and angry, to pick up his girlfriend and baggage, I hear the same voice insisting that it is the fault of the architect that the signs are not clear and visible in the compartment.
I smile to myself. I find it amusing and satisfying that "the architect" is given such a significant role in this seemingly obscure matter. Maybe it's my Swedish context where the architect plays a very modest and excusing role in society that makes me delighted every time common people bring up the architect and his/her responsibilities, whether it is in good or bad terms.
There is, however, a deeper interpretation of this insignificant event. What is really the role of the architect? Why didn't they blame the train operator? The train crew? The graphic designer? Why was the architect suddenly given the responsibility for the environment to be clear and disambiguous?