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A most sobering survey...

At the opening of the AJ Small Projects exhibition, as he examined the 24 projects on show, a rather dour architect muttered to me, ‘I wonder how many of these practices will still be in business next year’.

At the time, I thought him a gloomier architect than most – others on the night tended to refer to the recession with a touch of cynicism and a wry joke at least. But, according to the first half of the AJ State of the Profession survey, it seems this bravado was masking a dire mood among our readers.

Over 300 architects, Part 1 and Part 2 graduates and students from across the UK and Europe filled in the AJ’s online survey, which is a large enough sample size to paint a very accurate picture of the profession. The results show an industry plagued by redundancies, fee cuts and fears for the future of the industry (see pages 8-11 for the full results).

You’ll be pleased to hear that it wasn’t all misery, however. Those working in conservation said they felt little affected, and expected a steady flow of work in that sector to see them through the recession. Optimism about the strength of the education, healthcare and infrastructure sectors showed through as well. Respondents from Europe reported no redundancies at all, suggesting architects are faring better on the continent (perhaps a good place to look for a job). Best of all, 40 per cent of respondents foresee economic recovery in 2010 – that’s less than a year away.

And just to prove that our readers aren’t as sullen as that architect at the Small Projects show, it was nice to see a bit of humour creep in. Asked what sectors would sustain architects through the recession, one typed: ‘Taxi driving and selling watercolours in airports.’ In response to a question about letting clients defer payments, another said, ‘It’s not a case of letting them, they just do it’.

I’d like to say a quick thank you to everyone who filled in the online form. The AJ would love to hear what you make of the results. Are you shocked? Nonplussed? Horrified? If you’ve something to say, please get in touch. We’ll be revealing part two of the results in next week’s AJ.

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