It is well known in the practice of architecture the existence of situations that seem to be canonical and irreplaceable, such as extra hours of work without pay or strenuous days that cause burnout in people, undermining their health. Recently groups and organizations of architects have emerged seeking to change one of the great paradigms of architecture, seeking to turn the architectural practice into one that is much more equitable and resilient.

Examples of these movements are “I am an Architect” from the Ar. Vikas Pawar in India, United Voices of the World’s Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW) in the UK, and the Architectural Workers United in the United States, who seek to make visible and speak from their perspective about the challenges we face to dignify our profession and all the rituals deeply ingrained in it.

Romanticization of Architecture

The next time we are going through a titanic task and pushing our physical and mental health to the limit to meet a deadline, we should ask ourselves: What is the reason why I am doing this? Is it really sustainable? Under the perspective of Karl Marx, work should dignify people and have conditions for it, this becomes a motivating factor.

From an early stage in the formation of architecture, it is possible to identify signs of what will be a work environment in the future where the main focus will be hyper-productivity. Through the growth of an architecture student and of young architects, it is possible to see the romanticization of contradictory behaviors, which would seem canonical, and where concepts prevail such as experience compensating for a low salary, the absence of a contract and social disarmament are the foundational elements. for the development of an architect.

Why should architectural workers be an organized group? - Sheet1
Tired Portrait_©Mel Elías

It is normal to see that many architecture students receive the value of the experience as “retribution” for the extra hours worked during their internship. Of course, experience has a load of value since it allows us to grow and be able to develop skills that in the end, we will fine-tune until they become valuable skills, but our work per se already has a value from the beginning and that the remuneration for “experience” cannot and should not pay. It is extremely important that we realize this. To redirect the perception of what architects do, we must rethink our values.

Why should architectural workers be an organized group? - Sheet2
No Title_©Verne Ho

A great point regarding the value of architects is that through the community we can ensure that the practice of architecture, whether through individual or group practice, through design firms, is seen by society in general as a modern and resilient profession that adapts to new realities and generational changes. This will mean that the world sees architects and architecture firms as real potential agents of change to face the challenges that will come as a result of the climate crisis and challenges that we cannot even imagine in the future.

What is Currently Being Done? 

Section of Architectural Workers (UK) / Architectural Workers United (US) 

Over the last few years, groups have emerged that seek to change the paradigm of architecture through organization and dialogue with design firms. 

The Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW) in the United Kingdom and the Architectural Workers United have been two organizations that emerged to promote fairer conditions through a commitment to the profession so that it can move forward and be much more resilient. Both organizations work from the concept of being an organized group to deal with the issues associated with the practice of architecture, to be able to speak collectively since there are many aspects of it that we love, but others that need a change of direction.

Why should architectural workers be an organized group? - Sheet3
Architects Need Unions_©Architectural Workers United

The efforts of these two groups are promising since they set the precedent that architecture can be a profession that, in addition to generating a positive impact on the surrounding context, can also achieve it internally within each workgroup through organization and to speak through one united voice.

Why should architectural workers be an organized group? - Sheet4
We are Tired_©UVW-SAW

‘I am an Architect’ by Ar. Vikas Pawar 

Ar. Vikas Pawar during his speech shows an overview of the current architecture and some structural problems associated with it and rooted through the architectural fraternity where he shows us that as professionals we are not communicating enough with the rest of society, but we only speak and do architecture for architects.

I´m an Architect and_©Ar.Vikas Pawar, RTF

Uniting and committing ourselves as a community to society is one of the positions that Ar. Vikas Pawar proposes, where he tells us “I’m an architect and…” accompanied by his thoughts and his opinions of society, and motivating many more colleagues to express his voice and share it through different platforms.

Through a fresh and new approach to these perspectives, such movements and organizations show us the new trends that young architects are seeking and promoting to change the paradigm in the world of architecture and how they are inspiring more people and architects to organize in order to achieve profound and significant changes.


  1. Architectural Workers United [online]. Available at: [Accessed date: 15/01/22].
  2. Section of Architectural Workers [online]. Available at: [Accessed date: 15/01/22].
  3. ‘I am an Architect’ Speech by Ar. Vikas Pawar | Rethinking The Future [YouTube video] Available at:
  4. Section Of Architectural Workers. (2021). @uvw_saw [Instagram]. Available from:
  5. Architectural Workers United. (2021). @ architectural.workers.united [Instagram]. Available from:

Mexican architect, LEED Green associate & CPABE. Design lover in all its expressions with a strong interest in sustainable development and accessibility. Enrique Tovar lives through dedication and passion. He firmly believes that creating a narrative through writing and photography is a vital tool to reach a deep understanding of design.