If You Can Design Great Buildings, Architecture Doesn’t Care How Short You Are

Could architecture be perhaps the most merit-focused profession out there? Somehow bucking trends and ignoring every other aspect of a person’s make up to solely focus on pure talent? Earlier this year, we passed along historian Edward Tenner‘s piece in the Atlantic that attempted to prove that the business of building is the least ageist career imaginable, with I.M. Pei and Oscar Neimeyer still hard at work in their 90s and 100s, respectively, and Frank Gehry regularly celebrated at his comparatively-youthful 81. Now Slate’s resident critic, Witold Rybczynski, is adding shortness to the characteristics of famous architects that no one seems to care much about. While he calls out the stats that, on average, tall people earn more money in their lifetimes, he puts up against that the fact that many of the modern era’s most famous building designers have been below average on the height scale, including Daniel Libeskind, Robert A.M. Stern and the aforementioned Pei, all of whom are apparently only 5’4″ (Slate includes a handy chart, ranking several of their heights). While Rybczynski does posit that perhaps these architects are building large towers in able to somehow compensate for where they rank on the human-average height scale, it’s perhaps another example of how architecture is the place to be. Particularly if you happen to be old and short.