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Economist claims architecture industry suffering 'rapid structural change’

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The Economist has claimed that the architectural industry is suffering from ‘shrinking demand and rapid structural change’

The comments have come after last week’s RIBA Stirling Prize which it said: ‘makes the architecture business seem that it is going from strength to strength’.

But the picture is not as rosy as the awards make out. According to The Economist, the demand for architectural services has ‘flatlined’ since 2012.

The article cites figures from the RIBA - albeit from two years ago - stating that this demand for services shrunk by 40 per cent during the recession.

The changes have forced practices to become more nimble, with many architects forced to go it alone setting up small and medium-sized firms.

Speaking to The Economist, Ian Pritchard from the Architects Council of Europe (ACE), said: ’80 per cent of practices now comprise of less than five people’.

The newspaper added: ‘To survive, larger practices, such as those that normally win the Stirling Prize, have had to look abroad for design work in countries with building booms, such as China and Dubai.’

Only this week the 2014 Stirling Prize-winner Steve Tompkins admitted the win would help the practice to compete internationally.

He said: ‘It may help us to compete internationally and get onto invited competition short lists that might previously have overlooked us  - we are just beginning to look further afield as well as working in the UK.’

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