What Shouldn't An Architect Build?

An article in the NY Times discusses a petition, recently rejected by the American Institute of Architects, that Architects' code of conduct ban designing execution rooms. From the article,

I asked if the institute has issued any position or policy statement about death chambers.

“No,” she said. “If we begin to stipulate the types of projects our members can and cannot do, it opens a can of worms.”

I imagined that she was talking about other politically fraught buildings, like, say, nuclear power plants or abortion clinics. Mr. Sperry said there was a difference with death chambers. International human-rights treaties don’t explicitly prohibit abortion or nuclear power, as they do execution and torture. The United Nations and other international human-rights organizations consider the death penalty a violation of human rights.

“Is there nothing so odious that the A.I.A. wouldn’t step in?” he asked. “What about concentration camps? The A.I.A. is basically saying business is more important than human rights. Yes, this is a tough profession. But you don’t gain respect by hunkering down in a position of fear. You just dig yourself deeper into a hole.”

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