Yesterday, Monditalia - one of the three exhibitions currently being prepared for this year's Venice Architecture Biennale - tweeted out a neat little graphic showing the number of architects, per inhabitant, in 36 countries around the world.
The graphic shows that Italy has a shockingly high percentage of architects in its population: for every 414 Italians, one is an architect. According to the graphic, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Greece all have ratios of less than 1,000 to one. Of course, there are plenty of other architect-heavy places missing from the list; not even mentioned in the graphic is Chile, a country that - according to its latest census - has one architect per 667 inhabitants, nor Mexico which has about 724 inhabitants per architect. On the other end of the spectrum, China has only one architect for every 40,000 persons.
Of course, since Monditalia has only released a sneak peek of this graphic via twitpic (more information will undoubtedly be shared when the Biennale launches in early June), we have some serious questions about the data (where do these statistics come from? Are they accurate?). But the graphic still raises some interesting lines of questioning.
In the light of the Recession, we've tackled the topic of markets over-saturated with architects quite a lot, as well as the great migration of architects happening around the world. We've even asked you readers to give us insight into which countries are the best for architects to find work (compiling the answers in a list you can find here). However, this graphic allows us to frame the question in a slightly different way: is there a "golden ratio" of architects to inhabitants? And, if there is, what is it? 1:3000, as in the Czech Republic? 1:40,000 as in China? How many architects is enough? Moreover, should the ratio shift according to economic growth or decline? Should we attempt to control the number of architecture students in order to enforce this "golden ratio"?
We'd love hear what you think about the number of architects in your country in the comments below.