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Top 5 Intelligence stories 2023

Words:
Eleanor Young

The most popular articles on salaries and project opportunities tells us a lot about architects’ concerns while the popularity of articles on the Building Safety Act and decarbonising designs shows the changes you continue to grapple with

Salaries are an emotive political issue as strikes by white-collar professionals have shown in the past year.
Salaries are an emotive political issue as strikes by white-collar professionals have shown in the past year. Credit: iStock | tacojim

#1: How do architects’ salaries compare with other professionals?
Published 6 April 2023

We’re in a cost of living crisis with a huge amount of pressure on our incomes and action across sectors to push up wages. So it is not surprising that the best performing article of the 2023 across the whole site was focused on salaries. And not just architects’ salaries: it looked at how they compare to the pay of other professions. This piece of original data journalism by Brian Green addresses both our anxieties and our ambitions. And if we see architects salaries rising more slowly than those of other professions perhaps it is some consolation that another article in the RIBA Journal’s regular coverage on salaries shows that they had risen by 15%.

Examine how architects’ salaries match up to those of other workers

A place of architectural opportunity. The ancient minster, townhouses, beck of Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire.
A place of architectural opportunity. The ancient minster, townhouses, beck of Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire. Credit: Daniel J. Rao / Shutterstock

#2 Opportunities Hub: Contests worth the work
Rolling story

Despite salary increases there have been rounds of redundancies as major practices look closely at their pipeline of work. This ever-present concern drives readers to the RIBA Journal’s rolling page of opportunities, where competition and contests are digested into one neat package ready for spotting by those looking for anything from ideas competitions to masterplans to civic refurbishments and health buildings.

See the latest project opportunities

A new lower carbon model for foundations.
A new lower carbon model for foundations. Credit: Steve Webb

#3 Pull the carbon out from under your very sustainable building
Published: 14 February 2023

Articles on sustainability from biodiversity net gain to specifying lower carbon bricks and concrete show that architects aren’t just waiting for the high level announcements from COP and the government but are getting on and educating themselves so they can deal with it professionally. What is rarely tackled in architecture titles is the carbon that is sunk into foundations. With his characteristic elan structural engineer Steve Webb sketches out a lower impact way of designing your foundations on small scale buildings. This is a lesson in asking the fundamental questions of our structures as much as an illustration of foundations themselves.

Learn more on decarbonising your foundations

There are some new education models already operation such as the London School of Architecture – seen here in the midst of design charette.
There are some new education models already operation such as the London School of Architecture – seen here in the midst of design charette. Credit: The London School of Architecture

#4 Education reform: Is this the end of Parts 1, 2 & 3?
Published: 8 February 2023

Thanks to the dual nature of traditional architectural education – switching between universities and practices – everyone in the profession has a stake in the education of future architects. And there are some seismic changes ahead including opening up masters to a wider range of students who have not necessarily already got an undergraduate architecture degree under their belt, and checking learning outcomes at the point of registration. So many readers have come to this article to understand the plans.

Get to grips with planned changes to architectural education

Closed one day a fortnight: Feilden Fowles’ self-built studio in Waterloo, London.
Closed one day a fortnight: Feilden Fowles’ self-built studio in Waterloo, London. Credit: David Grandorge

#5 Feilden Fowles on working a nine-day fortnight
Published: 7th February 2023

A successful design-led studio experimenting with a very attractive way of working – what is not to like? Like many RIBA Journal articles this gives a chance to learn from peers with practice director Edmund Fowles outlining the detail of what works – turnover is up in the same period – and what doesn’t – the team is sometimes still working those days to meet deadlines.

Find out if a nine-day fortnight could work for you.

Evergreen intelligence article 2022 
– the most popular archive article that you kept coming back to again and again
Building Safety Act: full details published
April 2022 and rolling story

All architects need to know the details of the Building Safety Act, which puts them in a critical role and changes the processes around Higher Risk Buildings. We have been helping you grapple with this. The RIBA Journal has been following the legislation since early consultations and this article encapsulates the big moves that the Act set out, while picking up on the details that were only latterly published in August 2023. It has simple links to the key documents and a basic action plan. It is part of suite of articles on this subject that include delving into navigating the central role of principal designer and talking directly to Dame Judith Hackitt who made many of the recommendations in her review of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Get an overview of the Building Safety Act

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