1

In 2014, new STEM professionals received salaries of between 50,000 and 80,000 dollars a year, whereas pay for architects, journalists and other liberal professionals was on a lower scale, with starting salaries not exceeding  40,000 dollars a year. See Wilson, Edward: The Origins of Creativity, Liveright/Norton, 2017.

2

Steiner, George: My Unwritten Books, New Directions, 2007.

Do Something Else for a Living. Study Architecture

Maze. Source of image: Pexels, Soul Pizza.

It’s a flippant cliché to say that the professions of the future haven’t yet been invented. Admittedly, they’re still hard to list or define, and are mostly geared towards futuristic technological fields: privacy consultants, specialists in urban agriculture, climate control engineers, manufacturers of personalised body parts, smart transport engineers, designers of holographic avatars, space tourism guides, cultivators of extinct species, rubbish dump worm farmers…. But of all these future occupations, it’s often forgotten that one of the riskiest and perhaps most necessary (and this is my own bet for the future, as I’m sure you’ll understand) is that of the architect.

Despite its current precariousness, and despite being part of a tradition of learning not included in that promising group of disciplines known as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the architectural profession will be more necessary than ever in the future. That doesn’t mean to say it’s going to recover the prestige it enjoyed in the (remote) past, either in Europe or in any other part of the world. The United States Department of Labor, for example, estimates that of the new professionals entering the labour market it will be precisely those with qualifications in the humanities who will be the worst paid.1

Nevertheless, of all the professions it’s architecture that will continue to answer the key question: What essential education meets the spiritual needs of men and women on a multinational, ever more hybridised planet? Perhaps the success of the sciences lies in the fact that they are constantly looking towards the future, whereas Western humanism seems to have its eyes glued on the rear-view mirror. “The humanities and arts in the West are virtuosities of twilight and recollection.”2 That may well be. But only the utopian dimension present in architecture offers a realistic path forward when faced with the challenges of the future – and even more so in times of crisis.

In spite of the inevitable prophets of gloom and doom, we are today experiencing one of the most exciting periods in the history of architecture and architectural training. And the revolution taking place in the teaching of architecture, with thousands of university lecturers committed to innovative practices and openly discussing methodology for the first time ever, the natural incorporation of the computer into how students live and work with almost seamless transitions between the real and virtual worlds, the growing gamification of the ingenuity architecture has traditionally stimulated, and the discipline’s full alignment with the spirit that’s beginning to prevail in society all combine to make its future look even more promising.

In the future, architecture studies will almost certainly not produce professionals dedicated to building as building is understood in its most traditional sense. But in the present situation, can anyone see anything wrong with that? In the current university-level training environment, it’s more likely than ever before that a student will now pick up something more than just knowledge from the time spent in the classroom. It’s that “extra”, that scope and creativity inherent in a degree in Architecture, which seem to augur new professional specializations – specializations that haven’t yet been invented but are rooted firmly in the essence of a time-honoured profession. (And that’s without even mentioning the professional opportunities that will arise in response to the unforeseen phenomena we’ve experienced recently with regard to home life and dwelling space).


Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor
Notas de página
1

In 2014, new STEM professionals received salaries of between 50,000 and 80,000 dollars a year, whereas pay for architects, journalists and other liberal professionals was on a lower scale, with starting salaries not exceeding  40,000 dollars a year. See Wilson, Edward: The Origins of Creativity, Liveright/Norton, 2017.

2

Steiner, George: My Unwritten Books, New Directions, 2007.

Autor:
Arquitecto y docente; hace convivir la divulgación y enseñanza de la arquitectura, el trabajo en su oficina y el blog 'Múltiples estrategias de arquitectura'.

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