Where have we come? Where are we going?

There has been a tremendous dearth in building projects over the past 4 years — below you can see a link that shows it is the industry that has been dealt the hardest blow from the economic turmoil. I graduated 6 years ago and it has been interesting to see the directions that people have had to follow to find employment with our advanced architectural degrees. Several of my brilliant female friends I went to school with have all moved into education. Two others have gone into film and writing, and another has gone into waitressing. Even though architecture classes in school average 50% men, 50% women, somehow from various quotes online, women make up only 13-20% of the architecture workforce.

I often wonder why our industry is so reluctant to allow women into jobs. Most of the firms I have worked have generally not had any females as registered architects, or even on the track to becoming registered, but they are often relegated to the role of interior designer (a role I often played, in addition to graphic design and writing.)

I know that even the greatest most important architects had very dark times in their lives, Frank Lloyd Wright had his house burned down and family killed. He had to start a school in order to make money in slow times. Louis Sullivan drank a lot. And Antoni Gaudi lived like a pauper in the street in the hopes of seeing Sagrada Familia through. Is that how it will always be?

I myself have found more work and hire paid work doing marketing, teaching, writing and graphic design for architecture firms and schools, but this can be spotty when the firms aren’t getting many new jobs in. Likewise, at this time most of the colleges are overloaded and do not need adjunct professors as they have in the past. I also feel that there are a few jobs that I have not gotten simply because I am overqualified. I am curious to hear how others in the building industry have been surviving this downturn. So what and where next?


(Thanks to Bryant Turnage for showing me this link from The Atlantic)


About Meghan Dufresne

Meghan R. Dufresne, LEED AP is an architectural designer and writer based in Boston. Interests include sustainability, gardens, art, sound, touch, experience, and merging buildings with the surrounding landscape.
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