Architecture Essay

331 WordsMar 3, 20152 Pages
The current economic downturn has impacted the building industry and architecture profession more severely than many other market sectors. As Scott Van Voorhis commented in the November 9, 2009 issue of Banker and Tradesman: “Amid handwringing over a national unemployment rate that is nearing 10 percent, architects are living through their own equivalent of the Great Depression. Estimates of unemployment in the field range from 16 percent to as much as 40 percent.” 1 This upheaval has generated some thoughtful soul-searching by academics and architecture critics about appropriate priorities for moving forward. As early as November 2008, when many firms were first jolted by a sudden downturn, John McMorrough, an assistant professor and director of the graduate program in architecture at Ohio State, gave an informal lecture at Northeastern University that sought analogies between the current economic situation and the deep recession in the mid-1970s. McMorrough asked whether the shortage of commissions would spur a return to the theoretical speculation — the paper architecture — of the 1970s, albeit digitally produced and broadcast, given the discipline-altering advances in representational technology during the ensuing forty years. 2 In a recent issue of Architectural Record, James Murdock asked the question more directly: “Will we see a new generation of “paper architects” — the archetypal figure from the last recession?” 3 These are important questions: with the building boom over, and as both professional offices and academic programs seek to reframe their roles to adapt to our fast-changing culture, we have an opportunity to recalibrate the relationship between practice and education — and more, to realign progressive practice with academic inquiry. With fewer projects on the boards, firms with relevant agendas, media connections and the resources to

More about Architecture Essay

Open Document