Last month Salon published an article titled “The Architecture Meltdown.” The piece, by Scott Timberg, detailed the high unemployment rates, the shrinking fees, and the tough climate for fresh architecture grads, weighed down by heavy student debt. It’s so bad, said one architect, Guy Horton (a contributor to architectural record), that architecture has become “the new English major.” The article’s author blamed the poor economy, of course, but he also tore into the profession as the designer of its own demise. While the media has lionized the starchitect—the solo creative genius at the top—the profession has perpetuated a culture in which architectural acolytes toil for years for poor pay, with no guarantee of eventually making a decent living. Now “architecture is exposed to the realities of the marketplace like few other fields,” said Timberg.
A few days later, Thomas Fisher, dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, responded in a blog post on Metropolis. “Nontraditional job opportunities for architects have never been better,” Fisher wrote, “and while it may take some time for these markets to mature, they seem likely to grow much faster in years to come.”