Small ‘design-led’ practices will face increasingly stiff competition from multidisciplinary giants and must become more business savvy in order to survive in the future, claims an RIBA report
Published today, the RIBA Building Futures think-tank survey said architects must radically adapt if the profession is to survive the coming 15 years.
The report said: ‘[Architects] will need to develop greater financial nous and commercial acumen. [The] long shadow of the gentleman architect still hangs over the profession.’
Design-led studios of between 50 and 120 staff will be most at risk from competition by large multidisciplinary outfits which are expected to dominate the future market place for architectural services.
An influx of Asian companies to the UK could also contribute to the demise of the design-led studio, the report added.
The report said: ‘[The importance of the global market place is] well understood by the larger UK practices, which are already strongly represented overseas. However, accessing these markets is more difficult for smaller firms or sole practitioners – a form of business that seems to be hard wired into the architectural profession’s gene.
‘[The] future for the practice of architecture as a discrete business is uncertain’.
The report added: ‘The profession must face up to the reality that the context within which it now practices is continuing to change so dramatically that the skill set required must also shift - with financial skills now considered to be core.’
Issuing a rallying cry to the profession, the report also revealed that the UK demand for architectural services has plummeted 40 per cent in the past three years.
Read the full report