In an article from the February 2006 issue of Esquire (that’s unfortunately not online), David Childs, the architect for the “Freedom Tower” to be built on the old WTC site, has this to say about the role of the architect:
“The client’s role, whether it’s a museum board or an individual who wants to create something and gets involved, is a critical factor in the ultimate result of what we do. Unlike a painter or a sculptor … we do it through all sorts of strange smoke and mirrors and all that other stuff. You have to be persuasive to get your way. And the best way to do that is not a head-on fight, but to develop your arguments, and any way you can get there is ok.
… People want to have the architect seen as an individual artist doing his sculptural form. I’m much more pragmatic … I believe that the fascination of the program, and solving the problem, is part of architecture. First of all, you’ve got to do that — and then you’ve got to make it beautiful, rather than making the sculpture and then cramming stuff into it.”
Evidently there was also a Frontline episode about Childs, his firm, and the WTC project.