While ‘architect’ is not a verb, I rather like using it within that context.
I think architecting something is different from designing it. It is a more precise expression of our responsibility within the industry in which we participate. Design carries with it much baggage related to aesthetics. Something is referred to as well designed if it looks good, but there are powerful designs that are not aesthetically pleasing. What is of interest is to move beyond getting caught up in the Bauhaus discussion of architecture, with its white space, font-driven ideology of design, and to initiate a conversation about a new framework for architectural discourse.
I reserve ‘architect’ to describe the intentional organization of elements to produce a set of conditions.
You can architect a computer server to make processing more efficient. You can architect a hospital to get more people per minute through the waiting room. You can architect a website to generate more traffic and facilitate brand awareness. Most broken websites are not broken because they violate common laws of design. Rather, they have failed because the platform architecture is strategically wrong. I spoke with the Director of Design at a high-end market and the store was architected to drive up revenues by having only one route through the store. Consumers did not go to this store to buy a gallon of milk or a box of granola; they were pre-committed to spending by starting from point A and meandering until the end. And this brilliantly crafted store is not aesthetically appealing, but well designed. We believe successful solutions, and good design, are communicative, tangible and visible. Through a visual design process, we have been able to transform the world of private ideas and ambitions into a physical world of reality. Architects design structures, strategies and positions for all those who work, live and play in a created world. Architecture is relentlessly testing ideas that inform assumptions of what could be and should be. It is fine to call something design; just do not forget to do it.