This weekend, Salon runs a piece dramatically titled "Art in Crisis: The architecture meltdown." In it, journalist Scott Timberg talks about how architecture—as a profession and a societal need—has largely tanked along with the economy in recent years. Although "architecture will never die completely," here are some dry stats: nearly 14 percent of architecture post-grads can't find jobs, nor can 9.2 percent of experienced architects between 30 and 54. At one point in the piece, architect Barbara Bestor draws a parallel between struggling to make it in the field and being an immigrant worker. (A point that Architizer's Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan takes issue with: "As a young graduate wracked with debt myself, I chose to take a job outside of traditional architecture, faced with the endless hierarchical cycle of internships and stipends," she writes. "[...] I can say with a certainty that, like the decision to take on student debt, it was entirely my own. Immigrant workers—who, yes, work long hours for meager wages—are not doing so for the 'passion' of the job. [...]") Below, please find the most utterly depressing, disheartening, and defeatist quotes from Timberg's 3,200-word op-ed:
· "Gehry, whose Walt Disney Concert Hall has become an iconic part of downtown Los Angeles and whose widespread fame led him to a gig designing jewelry for Tiffany, complained recently about the lack of work in the States and grumbled that he wishes he could move his staff to China, where there are more opportunities."
· "Thom Mayne, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect (the field’s top prize) who has gone from one of the field’s rebels to one of its most successful, joked grimly about the need for a party for depressed architects."
· "After working hard to break into what seemed to be a burgeoning profession, unemployment was like being buried alive."
· Gensler, the nation’s biggest firm, laid off 750 of a staff of about 3,000; British Pritzker-winner Norman Foster laid off a quarter of his."
· "A former architect has become one of the best-loved baristas in Los Angeles; another runs the Coolhaus ice cream truck."
· "It's the new English major."
· "A lot of the profession [...] has spent years in denial."
· "'These days, “We are making less than a cleaning lady,' [Olivier] Touraine says, sitting in Wurstkuche, the high-design gastropub that serves the architecture students of SCI-Arc."
· "Others buy cheap land in developing countries and design self-funded projects of their own to give clients a sense of forward motion. 'It’s completely staged.'"
· "'I’m almost more surprised when I hear people are still together,' says Touraine, who recently separated from his wife. 'It’s like having two guinea pigs in the same cage—night and day, you bring the stress back.'"