The Future of Architecture as a Profession, Revisited…

One of the most popular posts that I have ever written on this site is The Future of Architecture as a Profession? which I wrote about two years ago. A recent article by Steve Mouzon for ArchDaily has caused me to revisit the issue.

In Mouzon’s article, he identifies some trends in the architecture profession that I hadn’t anticipated. Specifically:

More than half of the people working in architectural offices in 2005 aren’t there anymore. Some are still unemployed, some have gone in business for themselves, but many have left the profession. And when people leave architecture, they rarely come back for three reasons: an architecture degree prepares you to do so many other things, it’s such a stressful profession, and the pay is usually significantly lower than other professions like law and medicine.

Mouzon lists seven ways that the Great Recession has permanently altered the business of architectural design:

  1. The exodus of experienced employees (see the quote above)
  2. Clients no longer trust the “expert opinion of an architect”
  3. The Great Recession is drastically impacting consumer attitudes, introducing a new era of frugality
  4. Homeowners seek “smaller and smarter,” in part due to lending practices by financial institutions
  5. Clients are younger and very motivated to make more sustainable choices
  6. “Patience, Generosity, and Connectedness” will replace “Better, Faster, Cheaper”
  7. “Most marketing methods architects have used for decades don’t work so well anymore”

Mouzon ends his article with the following:

I firmly believe that even though the Great Recession has been architecture’s bleakest epoch of my lifetime, it also has the potential to be a great transformational event that can change the profession for the better. At least for those who adapt and transform themselves.

As far as the future of architecture as a profession is concerned, I still stand by what I wrote two years ago:

Architects will need to become more involved in the networked world that we now live in. Instead of the perception that now prevails, where architects are often viewed as an expensive nuisance and obstacle, architects need to position themselves as integrated and essential resources for improving the built environment. The walled gardens of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry will be replaced by forward-thinking design consultants that move easily between disciplines, with an eye for cost and energy efficiency.

Steve Mouzon’s article can be found here: 7 Reasons Architecture (As We Know It) Is Over


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