The fourth edition of the Sector Study commissioned by the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) shows that the architectural profession is a growing, flexible, resilient and international profession. While the economic background continues to be difficult, it reveals some encouraging trends and perspectives, as well as a renewed optimism in the profession.

ACE Press Release, 12. 2 2015

The ACE Sector Study is a biennial survey that collects and analyses statistical, sociological and economic data on European Architects, the architectural market and architectural practices. Based on responses from 18.000 Architects in 26 European countries, the 2014 edition of the Study has been enriched with new research areas, making it, without doubt, the most comprehensive study on the architectural profession in Europe and an essential reference tool for all those interested in the architectural profession and the built environment.

The Study allows us to draw insightful comparisons between European countries and thus to shed new light on national situations. It helps us to better understand how the profession has been affected and transformed by the economic crisis and offers a detailed picture of the new reality the architectural profession must face.

The research confirms that architecture is a growing profession – the number of Architects in Europe-31 is estimated to be 567.000, an increase of 6% since 2012. Architecture is also a flexible profession – in response to the crisis, architects often set up in their own if they are made redundant or cannot get a job. The survey shows that the number of single person practices has increased by about 22% since 2012. Architecture is moreover a resilient profession: on average, practice revenue and profits for all but one person practices have increased. For the first time, the Study looks at the cross-border training and work of the Architects, showing that Architecture is an international profession: 18% of European Architects were at least partly trained in another country, and 5% worked in another country in the last year.

The 2014 Study reveals encouraging trends. Compared to 2012, unemployment has fallen; there are more architects working full-time; practice revenues have risen slightly, and for the first time in the history of the Study, more architects expect their workload to increase in 2015 than decrease. Overall, architects are more optimistic this year than in any of the three previous surveys and the improvement in confidence appears to be substantial and convincing.

However, the situation differs greatly from one country to another and these positive developments are not felt everywhere and should not hide the fact that the economic background continues to be frustratingly difficult. The demand for architectural services remains muted, with construction output continuing to fall in several key countries.

The 2014 ACE Sector Study can be downloaded in English and French on the ACE website.

The Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) is the representative organisation for the architectural profession at European level: it aspires to speak with a single voice on its behalf in order to achieve its aims. Its membership currently consists of 43 Member Organisations, which are the regulatory and professional representative bodies in all European Union (EU) Member States, Accession Countries, Switzerland and Norway. Through them, the ACE represents the interests of over 565.000 architects from 31 countries in Europe.