Architecture is the most artistic field. Junior designers share their stories of how these tall, high-rise buildings and these breathtaking designs ignite a fire in them to be an architect, to be a famous designer. It is a dream of many young enthusiasts. The design field is the Amazon jungle. No matter how greener it looks from outside, it sure has a wild side. And that wild side is the unhealthy practices that are happening around the field. 

Not only young designers and clients are part of this jungle but also contractors, builders, interior designers, students, institutional bodies, and many others. All of them have an equal contribution.

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Information Architecture Illustration, Tubik © dribble.com

Architecture is sure on the rise in the market but also failing towards modern time. Other industries such as pharma, software, engineering, animation are progressing at the speed of light. But still, architecture has a lot to progress. Not that we lack competence but in compassion. There are many unhealthy practices in architecture, and we will look at them step by step in this article—starting from where this dream begins as a young architect or a student.

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When youngsters dream of being an architect, they soon try to grasp how to become one—enrolling in classes to appear for the entrance exam. After grabbing a seat in a college, these little dreamers may think that their step towards architecture is done, but it’s not the truth. There is a world outside which is waiting for them. And to be very honest, this world of architecture is not a fairy tale!

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But how much these colleges are preparing their students to face the world outside. Just theory is not enough. Practical and technical things are way more different from how they look in the books. Architecture is trial and error. Students confessed about their experience after the internship. Every six in ten students said their experience was shocking and less exciting. They have to face many aspects of the general and basic knowledge, such as anthropometry and standards. 

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Information Architecture Illustration, Tubik © dribble.com

It is mentioned in the syllabus, but how can students focus on these minor details when they have too many dozens of assignments and exploration to do. Hence, it deviates their attention from the main knowledge.

Hence, it is one of the main unhealthy practices in the design industry.

  • Unpaid services and internship, jobs

Student life is not more than a hustle, but an actual battle begins after graduation when these young designers take a step into the field. As an intern or as an architect, the struggle is real. The unhealthy practices surely have a mild effect on this industry. Some offices claim to provide paid internships, but after months of joining, they ignore this and hence don’t pay their interns. This is a very sad reality because, as a junior designer, such experiences are disturbing. Not every child comes from a privileged background. They have to pay for their daily needs. 

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Information Architecture Illustration© frickpik.com

Especially after overcoming this battle, when a young graduate moves to another cosmopolitan city for the opportunity and to earn a living. Most of the time, the experience is unexpected. Low paying job to survive in a big city, you have nothing left except for some bucks!

Not only do architects fail to pay their employees, but also clients are no exception. Want to make a castle at the price of Starbucks coffee. Hence high expectations with low investments. It gets difficult for the architects to cover their expenses with clients who don’t pay on time most of the time. Hence and somewhere, it is the reason why few architectural offices pay very low because they really can’t afford people at work but still need a hand in the field.

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Information Architecture Illustration© frickpik.com
  • Unfair practices and plagiarism

Unfair practices are not always directly unfair in a straight manner, but they are unnoticed and invisible. Finding inspiration for the design is a good sign of an enthusiastic designer but copying design elements is nothing but plagiarism. People might not notice, but many designers copy-paste design elements from star architects who will mention this as an inspiration. 

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Plagiarism Illustration © frickpik.com

There are many cases of plagiarism in design industries, such as Zaha Hadid’s design was copied by Chinese Company SOHO. The judiciary process is quite lengthy, but it doesn’t stop designers from complaining and raising their voices. 

It is not only about plagiarism but also about design ideas that are stolen from company to company. It is a very dark side of the design industry. Like the word, “design” is all about design and ideas; it can be stolen by the people from the people.

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  • Material mixing

The side no one talks about is the political side of design industries. Big renowned builders and contractors do contribute majorly to this system. Materials are the key ingredients of the design, but there are many cases regarding material mixing. Using low-quality materials, saving revenue, and attaining a profit in a big fat project is nothing new. 

This illegal practice is the most devastating side of the construction industry. The import and export of materials need testing and audit reports. Even if auditors follow these steps, sometimes the reports are manipulated in the field.

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Illustration, Abel © pngtree.com

Unhealthy practices in architecture impact the market strata. Right from the education sector to the core industry, there is an acute need for thorough discussion and sessions for the progressive aspect of the design fraternity.

Students, teachers, architects, and everyone who contributes must come together to bring a change. Because for a better future we must look for the betterment of the people and their ideas.

  • Student’s unbalanced life leading to a decline in mental health

It is of no surprise when teachers want 100 explorations in a single night. For a newbie, it is easy to get depressed with so much workload. However, teachers think of this as a strategy that students can learn how to manage the workload. But this is not always going to work. Putting all pressure in a single unit is a bit too much. 

A constructive approach should be taken. Hitting one notch at a time is something good to enhance. This strategy always works when tasks are aligned one by one with the level of degree. Not only students but also teachers can manage courses and submissions.

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Illustration, Joe Adrey © thehill.com

Sometimes this unbalanced life leads to depression, and many architecture students have low mental health. Hence, this might not be an unhealthy practice, but yes, ignoring students’ mental health and pressurizing them with no strategy to deal with. It is definitely going to hit the system.

Architecture is surely one of the best fields in terms of many things. Yes, it sure has unhealthy practices, but that does not mean a junior designer should stop dreaming of making a living in this field. As a reader, if you are a student, designer, or practitioner, don’t lose hope. 

As every coin has two sides, this article may cover the regressive side, but architecture has more beautiful elements too. Like a battle, overcome it and bring a change.

References

Brady, R. (2017). Architecture Education is Unhealthy, Expensive, and Ineffective. Could Online Learning Change That? [online] ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/884590/architecture-education-is-unhealthy-expensive-and-ineffective-could-online-learning-change-that.

carleton.ca. (n.d.). Failure in Architecture. [online] Available at: https://carleton.ca/aah/2014/failure-architecture/ [Accessed 16 Sep. 2021].

‌Journal. (2018). 10 Architectural Sins Committed in Suburbia – Architizer Journal. [online] Available at: https://architizer.com/blog/practice/details/failed-architecture-suburban-housing/.

Author

Ar. Ritu Gosavi is a published co-author of the two anthology " A poet's Pulse" and "Slice of life" , graduated from College of Architecture Nasik .A brilliant content writer since 2019 bringing light on social and patriarchal norms through her writing page called "Ruminant". An architect, author, and audacious , a classical and japanese literature lover.

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