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Imperiled Architects

Scott Timberg lets it all out in his treatise on the decline of the architect for salon.com. The tragic figures in his piece, once highly successful in the field, are now "making less than a cleaning lady". As Olivier Touraine, a French architect working in L.A. tells Timberg, architects' fees are tied to construction costs, which are going down. So "you have to get more work, but you have fewer employees." And there's less work to be had anyhow. But, of course, the recession affects everyone differently: "The bigger you are, the better you can pass through the storm. And if you are rich enough, even if [your firm] is very small, you can be OK, even if you are losing ridiculous money. They are trust-fund babies: Somehow the recession has been good for them; it has exterminated the competition." Lovely. Solutions? Find a way to rebuff the idolatry of starchitects; return to the simplicity of private home design. Read on for a far deeper analysis. [salon]