The reasons


Seem­ingly a naïf ques­tion, it instead addresses one of the most unpal­pap­ble, unwrit­ten dis­putes on prac­tic­ing Archi­tec­ture: The hid­den agenda. The plan for the future. It is, in a way, the: “what do you want to be as a grown up” kind of question.

A young archi­tect, freshly out of uni­ver­sity, is faced with the choice of thou­sands of offices to apply to. The scale is global, and so is the ambition.

Par­tic­i­pants were offered 5 pos­si­ble answers to the question:

  • 17 — rep­u­ta­tion of the office
  • 9 — clear future career opportunity
  • 55 — learn­ing opportunity
  • 11 — no other choice
  • 23 — other (specify)

55 respon­dents indi­cated learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties as the rea­son behind their choice. Together with the sec­ond biggest group1, rep­u­ta­tion of the office, they form a vast major­ity.
The aver­age income of those who applied and work at an office for learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties is the low­est, as they signed, will­ingly or not, an intern­ship agree­ment for a tem­po­rary con­tract.
The results of this response imply the state­ment: I am will­ing to sac­ri­fice my income, if at least I can do an inter­est­ing job. Or if that job will look extremely pres­ti­gious on my CV. And for all we can assume an unde­clared moti­va­tion: After grad­u­a­tion, I wasn’t ready to work in a per­ma­nent job.


The very few that, instead, responded with future career oppor­tu­ni­ties, based their choice on a sta­ble and reli­able work­ing envi­ron­ment, and they form the group whose income is, by far, the highest.

(It should be noted that the high­est income recorded in this sur­vey is just above the legal min­i­mum).
I won­der, does a higher income nec­es­sar­ily mean less inter­est­ing projects? How is a career dif­fer­ent from a learn­ing oppor­tu­nity and how is it that this dif­fer­ence dou­bles the income?

There is an ide­al­is­tic mind­set, part of the edu­ca­tion and embed­ded in the way of think­ing typ­i­cal of this field, that pushes all those young archi­tects to self-immolation for the sake of a greater abstract good.
Is the assump­tion I am work­ing at a well-known office, so one day I will be a good Archi­tect still valid today?

Con­sid­er­ing all fac­tors involved, prob­a­bly not.

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2 thoughts on “The reasons

  1. Colt Sievers says:

    well, being in a well-know office sup­po­sivly opens wider oppor­tu­ni­ties after­wards, how­ever it is also true the oppo­site, mean­ing that to be overqual­i­fied do not pay back always…

  2. admin says:

    The lady on the fea­ture image (4th per­son from the left) looks like Peggy Olsen from Madmen

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2021-09-28 22:54:18

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2015-04-01 13:27:31

[…] the spon­ta­neous responses to the last ques­tion of the sur­vey car­ried out in […]

Conrad Newel

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 18:10:56

@Colt Sievers I will be the first to agree with you on all counts. I would love to read that article. If you ever want to publish it on my blogg please do not hesitate to contact me.

Colt Sievers

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 16:58:10

@Conrad having worked in one of those offices that you mention, I have found your post as much provocative as naive and simplistic. I should make an entire post to explain why... will leave that for later. Thanks, anyway, to keep the discussion alive