Dezeen Magazine

Design schools must stamp out burn-out culture for sake of mental health say students

"Seriously consider whether architecture is worth it"

In this week's comments update, readers are questioning whether architecture students are under too much pressure after revelations from some that they have felt suicidal.

Working nine to five: Dezeen readers who participated in a social-media discussion about design education have divided commenters by claiming that the demands placed on architecture students is leading to mental health issues and, for some, thoughts of suicide.

"Students are being pushed to self-harm in pursuit of skills which they are then told are useless as soon as they reach the job market. Why bother?" asked Jon. "A technically based program built on learning the necessary tools, software, building standards and the fundamentals of project delivery would serve students far better."

Michael Wigle continued: "I could write a book discussing the problems with architecture schools. My biggest problem was the class discrimination I received from professors who felt I didn’t belong in the program because I had to work full time to support it."

"We can discuss architecture's long hours until we're blue in the face," responded Le Ego. "It still doesn't change the fact that if you want to get to the top of the profession, or any profession for that matter, working longer, harder and smarter than your peers comes with the territory. Seriously consider whether architecture is worth it if it's making you suicidal."

Arep agreed: "If you think that architecture isn't for you, then stop immediately. You can work any other job. I have never heard a farmer whining."

This reader disagreed:

Is there too much pressure put on architecture students? Join the discussion ›

Lapee female urinal by Gina Périer and Alexander Egebjerg

Sigh of relief: Gina Périer and Alexander Egebjerg have designed Lapee, an industrial-standard female toilet for festivals and outdoor events, that allows people to pee sitting down quickly and safely, but not everyone is impressed.

"Not a urinal," said JB. "It's an impractical open squat toilet. Also it is simply cringe-y for a product with a feminism claim to be pink."

Steve Hassler was equally unsure: "Can you really be seen from the waist up pulling down your knickers? Do women want that? Does anyone want that?"

"I can only imagine how stinky and germ infested these could get," added Akpezi Victoria Ikede. "The design problem is very real though, hopefully more improvements are made."

"Without doors they'll be much less stinky than a standard cabin toilet that holds all the odour in, they're basically open air," replied India. "As they're one big piece of plastic they can be hosed down and sanitised regularly, too. I'd still be using my hand sanitiser, though..."

Nicole D was relieved though: "Finally."

This reader had a different concern:

Do you think the Lapee urinal is a good idea? Join the discussion ›

Zahira Asmal cancels London lecture

Access denied: readers are debating South African Zahira Asmal's decision to cancel a lecture in London this September – part of a series of talks organised by the Architecture Foundation – after a "humiliating" experience with UK visa services.

"Well she is absolutely right," said To be or not to be. "It's humiliating, overpriced with hidden prices and it's opaque. I received my visa after my scheduled conference."

"The UK will consist of third world countries. And its people only have themselves to blame," added Aigoual48.

This commenter agreed:

"Blame the illegal immigrants not the immigration department," responded Michael. "As for her claims that 'South Africa welcomes people from the UK with open arms,' I think not. The South African immigration officials are dismissive, rude and arrogant."

"It seems wasteful and unnecessarily pollutant to fly thousands of miles to give a lecture when it could be done using video conferencing," concluded Robin.

What do you think of the UK's visa services? Join the discussion ›

Crossed wires: commenters are surprised to learn that Tesla founder Elon Musk has launched tech startup Neuralink to build implants that connect human brains with computer interfaces via artificial intelligence.

"A few months ago he was adamantly against AI. What happened to 'AI is more dangerous than nuclear weapons'?," asked Steve Hassler. "I guess Neuralink got some top-notch back-engineered tech that his bank account couldn't say no to."

Gavin added: "Looks like someone has watched the film Upgrade!"

"I'd love to plant a virus in your brain or press the electrocute/execute key as long as you don't comply," joked Spadestick.

"Is this the future we want?" asked Ian.

One commenter was keen:

Has Musk gone too far by supporting this technology? Join the discussion ›