Young Architect of the Year Award Shortlist Announced

Ferreries Cultural Centre by [ARQUITECTURIA]. Image © Pedro Pegenaute

This week the shortlist for this year’s Young Architect of the Year Award (YAYA) was announced. The YAYA, organized by BD and now in its 15th year, has become a high-profile springboard for many practices led by architects under 40.

For the first time, this year the award is open to architects from outside the UK, allowing any practice based in the EU a chance to apply. The shortlist reflects this new opportunity, featuring practices from Belgium and Spain among the list of five.

The 2013 YAYA Shortlist includes:

Richard J Williams Talks Modernism & Sex

© Iñigo Bujedo-Aguirre

In this interview with BD, Richard J Williams discusses his recent book “Sex and Buildings,” which analyses how some places, such as his home town of Edinburgh, ”wear their morality on their sleeve,” while other places. such as Brazil, have an idea that “modernism can be sexy.” He also talks about the US attitudes to sex and modernism, bringing up the ‘Playboy townhouse’ of the 1960s and the TV show Mad Men, as well as architects Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler and John Portman. You can read the full interview here.

How to Start a Practice

“Successful practices have launched in earlier recessions, and will do so in this one. It is wise, however, to be armed with as much knowledge as possible”, concludes BD‘s most recent research paper “How to Start a Practice… and Keep it Running”. The document, containing advice on every aspect of setting up a practice, from naming it to chasing late payments, aims to provide just that knowledge.

Read more about ‘How to Start a Practice’ (including how to get a 50% discount) after the break…

UK Survey Reveals Gap Between Large and Small Practices

According to the survey, large firms such as Foster + Partners make up just 3% of practices, but employ 40% of architects. Image courtesy of Foster + Partners

recent survey by the RIBA of over 2,100 practices revealed there is now a widening gap between ‘massive’ and ‘micro’ practices, with a ‘squeezed middle’ in between, as reported by BD.

This was the first mandatory survey of its members conducted by the RIBA, and gives a glimpse, for the first time, into the workings of every chartered UK practice. The RIBA’s executive director of membership and profession Richard Brindley described the findings as a “tale of two professions operating in different universes”. The polarized profession is most damaging to the practices in the middle; those of 10-50 employees which are large enough to have costly overheads, but not large enough to absorb them.

Large practices, employing 50 people or more, include just 3% of practices, but, thanks to their size, include 40% of registered architects. At the other extreme are practices of 10 employees or less, who account for 53% of practices despite employing a meager 10% of architects. The survey found that the majority of practices employs fewer than six people.

Read on for more results and analysis of the survey

The Reality Behind those UK Unemployment Statistics

"John Morefield, laid off twice in the past year, took a novel approach to find work." Photo © Jim Bryant/Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The findings of the recent BD employment survey in the , revealing that 22% of British architects are unemployed, certainly makes for unpleasant reading, but it is important to look beyond the upsetting numbers to figure out what they mean.

Much more than a simple number showing the rate of UK unemployment, a closer look at the results highlights problems, exposes trends, and dispels myths – from the assumed truth that London is an employment “oasis” to the supposed strength the profession has shown in this economic crisis.

Read more analysis of the survey results, after the break…

BD Survey Reveals 22% of UK Architects Unemployed

Courtesy of

A survey conducted by BD has revealed that 22% of qualified architects in the are currently unemployed. The survey included fully qualified architects as well as graduates who are still in training, and paints a bleak picture of the current state of the British architecture industry. Other trends which the survey highlights are a reduction in job security as many architects move to freelance work to stay active, and an average 30% wage reduction for those still in employment.

More results of the survey after the break

Renzo Piano is not an architect

© Building Workshop

Well, according to the UK’s Architects Registration Board (ARB) he isn’t.

Last week, BDOnline received an email from the ARB asking them to refrain from calling Renzo Piano and Daniel Libeskind an architect, since “they are not registered with the ARB they are not entitled to be described as such”.

The statement said: “BD referred to two eminent individuals as architects – neither of whom are on the UK register. This is one of a number of peripheral areas, and architects often contact us when they are concerned about the use of the title ‘architect’ in the press although no breach of the legislation in fact occurs.”