According to writer Ana Lui, architecture is an "unlevel playing field." From unpaid internships to the C-suite, the profession has made itself awfully difficult to break into - unless you come from privilege, of course. However, there is one factor contributing to the profession's inaccessibility that you may not have considered: the prohibitive costs of design software for young, budding architects.
As Lui points out in her article for Archinect, the times have changed since Maya Lin won the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial competition "with a blurry, hand-rendered sketch of a thick black line in the haze." Today, "the winning entries of recent widely-published architectural competitions, like eVolo, are thick with unearthly renderings. Recently issued RFPs and many contract docs, even for small projects, include BIM deliverables. LEED certification — or other more holistic methods of “sustainable design” — require energy modeling; and new advances in thermal calculations and daylighting rely on digital building data. Whether or not we continue analog methods for design and how they are integrated in an architectural process is besides the point: to be competitive, cutting-edge digital design programs are integrally necessary. [...]
Yet when it comes to purchasing software, the costs of programs like Autocad and Rhino could be resulting in a self-selecting pool of designers who are able to compete, at least initially, at a higher level."
Do you think Software is a significant barrier to entry in architecture? Should software be more accessible to all? How could we alter the profession to be more inclusive? Let us know in the comments below.
Read Lui's article in full at Archinect