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sofie Pelsmakers

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Comments (3)

  • Comment on: AJ poll: 40% of architects working more than 10 hours overtime a week

    sofie Pelsmakers's comment 24 November, 2014 3:22 pm

    From my experience, the over-time is a mix of under-resourcing and taking longer than expected to ' problem-solve' alongside bad project management, but also office culture: I know some offices where it would be taboo if you left before 7pm as you'd be seen to be a 'slacker' - regardless of the fact you might be taking work home; have already finished your work to a high standard or if you had been at your desk before everyone else ! This over-time culture and expectation has really broken things in many practices: while staff are not paid for over-time and rarely given time off in-lieu, often staff are 'rewarded' several years later (those who survive/ do not leave or burn out) after practically living in the office and are promoted to an associate or directorship/partner role; thereby - once in this position - perpetuating their own bad time-management to a larger staff pool while also reinforcing the notion that it is just part of the job on the way to the top/a partnership. Promoting people with bad project/time management skills is a common occurrence as a reward for their 'loyalty' to the practice, but means they demand the same of anyone unlucky enough to be in their team, perpetuating this circle. Such long hours culture means if you do not put in the extra hours you are seen as 'not up for promotion' and hence excludes many people who cannot or do not want to put in these hours. It is not just women who are disadvantaged if they have caring roles; but affects both parents and a diversity of people such as architects with religious practices; people from economically less privileged backgrounds without other financial support or safety nets, whom I have known to work two shifts to make ends meet: architect's practice by day and security agent at a store at night or shop sales person at the weekend - though they would never share this to anyone they work with. We should be collectively embarrassed by this and up in arms to actively make a change. Perhaps time management/project management and team-leading courses would also be valuable for all architects, especially those taking up management roles rather than like most 'learning it on the go' with all the implications that this entails. And, these changes will be good for all of us.

  • Comment on: Leading architects reject calls for RIBA Stirling Prize sustainability threshold

    sofie Pelsmakers's comment 15 October, 2014 9:36 am

    Sustainable, long-lasting design and good architecture are not - and should not - be mutually exclusive. Not including sustainability as a threshold seems to suggest that they are incompatible - and indicates that some of the profession's 'mood of the moment' views are outdated and still 'business as usual'. As Rab Bennetts points out a building which is unsustainable should not win the Stirling Prize; and I think Simon Sturgis and Alan Shingler make a better argument than any other why sustainability should not be a secondary consideration. It is about time the Stirling Prize acknowledged this openly; it might bring about a shift in architectural education too.

  • Comment on: AJ Footprint's Women in Sustainable Architecture

    sofie Pelsmakers's comment 7 February, 2013 6:56 pm

    It is an honour to be listed among these notable women, though I think Hattie Hartman should be listed here too!