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Architect’s Silver Lining January 17, 2009

Posted by randydeutsch in architect, architect types, architecture industry, creativity, employment, the economy.


No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.  Einstein


We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.     also Einstein


A recent report in Archinect, a top online destination for progressive-design oriented students, architects, educators, and fans, entitled Checking_the_Pulse of the Architecture Industry Part II: the Survey Results, discusses the economic crisis and how it has impacted the architecture industry. What is particularly troubling about the report is that the survey_results for unemployed architects indicate that nearly 50% of all respondents are “actively seeking a job, and open to taking a job outside of the architecture industry, as long as it’s related to architecture in some way.”

A year ago suggestions for architects such as bolstering their practices in other areas like health care and education, looking for work abroad and even developing their own projects seemed helpful – but not any longer. At the time “a recent report by the American Institute of Architects forecasted that despite troubles in other fields related to real estate, job levels for architects in 2008 are expected to be similar to those from last year.” That was February 2008. Today, less than a year later, nearly half of all architects are actively seeking a job according to the Archinect survey.

Few of those reading this report have noticed, almost as a rebuttal, the alternate reality of the rather lengthy column of current architect_job_postings running from the length of the article (with 133_current_positions listed at the time of this posting.)

Alternate Realities

All of this speaks to the need to get out of one’s mindset and see things differently than the way they are currently being looked at. Creativity, as Woodrow Wilson stated, is a fresh pair of eyes. Two architects, Harris Stone in his unjustifiably out-of-print Workbook of an Unsuccessful Architect, and Young Lee formerly faced a similarly dire situation yet found ways to reinvent themselves. In the second case, Young Lee, a South Korean bouncer turned architect, partnered with Shelly Hwang, a USC graduate now in her mid-30s, to convert a failed LA teahouse into a frozen yogurt shop. The rest, as they say, is history. Pinkberry  opened in January 2005 and today there are now 50 Pinkberry locations. Part of Pinkberry’s success – painted in bright colors, filled with modern decor from Philippe Starck and Le Klint – is the store itself.



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