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DO YOU FEEL UNDER PRESSURE?

AGENDA

Scientific evidence set to be unveiled today (03.11.05) will prove that almost all members of the architectural profession should be concerned about the possible damage their working conditions are doing.

The root cause of this is stress. According to PhD research by a psychology post-graduate, stress is more common in architecture than was previously thought.

Kate Sang's study is extraordinary. The Loughborough student's figures paint a picture of a profession on the brink of collapse.

Some 80 per cent of architects display some aspect of stress, her research reveals, while some 30 per cent are considering leaving the profession due to stress.

As you look around your office, there's a very good chance that every one of your colleagues is feeling under the cosh. And that includes you.

But why? Sang said there are a variety of causes.

Unsurprisingly, one of the major causes of stress in the profession is the relationship between those managers and employees and the degree of autonomy allowed to architects.

This also relates to the amount of recognition 'footsoldier architects' are given. It doesn't take a vast leap of the imagination to picture a 'young creative' getting stressed about other senior figures taking credit for their ideas.

'There is a sense that they are removed from the clients, ' Sang told the AJ, 'and that they often do not have much of a relationship with the end users.

'There ought to be more awareness at the start of the seven-year training course of just what it is an architect does.

There is widespread frustration among architects that they are not designing the next Gherkin.' The other area that triggers upset in the profession is the age-old problem of pay, hours of work and job security.

One final, and perhaps surprising, conclusion is that architects worry about what other people make of them.

'Because architects are quite badly paid, they think that they rate a long way down the food chain of professions, ' Sang said. 'This does not make what they are doing look good.' And this seems the most compelling evidence that there is something very wrong. Worrying about the opinions of others is not something one could have associated with the age-old 'arrogant architect' stereotype.

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