Masters of any art form has been invariably connoisseurs of their field.
A connoisseur is defined by dictionary as a person with special knowledge or appreciation of a field, esp in the arts.
You can find many analogies for the observation. Take the field of music, photography, fine art, motion pictures or wine tasting for that matter.
Being a connoisseur automatically equip the creator to critically judge her work during the process itself. She thus knows where the work stands in comparison to the works of masters and most importantly, under varying contexts. She can appreciate the subtleties without getting carried away.
"THERE IS A GREAT CHANCE THAT A CONNOISSEUR WHO PRACTICES HER ART BECOMES AN 'OTAKU' WHO INFLUENCES MANY."
A connoisseur in the field of architecture need not be a great architect. But without failing, all great architects are famously connoisseurs of their craft. They could easily differentiate between a quality space and a merely ‘wrapped space’ with perfect aplomb. They will be fast in acknowledging an original work. Moreover, they rarely need a critic to judge their own creations and strive for authentic, remarkable works all through their careers.
There is a great chance that a connoisseur who practices her art becomes an ‘otaku’ (a Japanese word used to refer to people with obsessive interests) who influences many.
If being a connoisseur has definite advantages, why is it a rare breed among architects? The simple reason is that this calls for a long, passionate and hard journey. This also forces one to break her comfort zone, her boundaries and to explore without inhibitions. This not only requires one to understand works of one particular taste, but also to understand and appreciate the creations throughout the history. Her judgement could not be just local and reactions not knee jerk or mere neophilic. The investment of time and effort needed to become one is the main deterrent. Fear of acknowledging that there are more than one right way of doing things is another. Interestingly, understanding more about the craft helps one better her own.
Hope the newer generation of architects does not take the easy way but continue strive to be real connoisseurs enabling themselves along the way to create meaningful work. Lets start to appreciate the real art around us!