Recessions are usually good times to look back, think and reevaluate. Recessions are also to be known as mother of inventions. What we need to think is why we are where we are. As students and architectural schools overall we need to think how we can change this situation. We are in a position that we can judge better since we are not involved in the industry and we are definitely not the ones who created this mess.
The fact is the market today definitely does not need so many architects. Moreover, there is a big question: when it will need them again?
Schools nowadays are (were) supplying human resource for a building industry. It was supplying to a growing market of construction. And now when this market is not booming, what is going to happen to young minds? There are lots of ambitious young people, how can we direct this energy flow to the right direction?
One suggestion is architectural schools need to diversify. They should offer a variety of studio projects, and students should be given early opportunity to choose from different projects. We see some of these changes are happening in our school recently.
Besides recession I think architecture today is also challenged by a set of conditions like climate change, globalization, and urbanization. I also think that these issues and their solutions are better addressed in schools rather than in real life. I think students should realize this, harness the power of this knowledge, and be able to use it. People who would be able to provide solutions to these global issues will always be in demand. The days of conventional, suburban residential architecture are probably close to ending.
We can still graduate from architectural school while getting involved in creative work alternatively. For example America is overbuilt; office buildings and many industrial buildings are losing their tenants. We should project, what would happen to all these abandoned spaces?
And maybe we should not need to rely on a school. Schools should teach you the basics and provide you with a knowledge and vision. As you invest more hard work and talent, you will be better prepared for all kinds of recessions. The earlier students understand these points, the better they will be prepared and become more inventive in what they can do with all that knowledge.
[ Hrach Burtoyan, issue_3, jobs, recession, volume_1 ]