When An Architect Spends $36,890 on Shots at a Bar, How Bad of Shape Could the Industry Really Be In?

Maybe we’ve been too reactionary over the past couple of years when it’s come to news of the struggling architecture industry. We’ve sounded the alarm bells whenever the AIA‘s Architecture Billings Index plummets and felt sorry for all those sad graduating architecture students, but maybe it was all for naught. Reason being is that the Australian is reporting that “an architect working for the US government,” Kaz Miura, had to shell out a record-setting $36,890 for rounds of shots at a bar in Tokyo. There’s explanation of how this all happened, how one can spend that much on alcohol in an evening, but it involves a leather drum at an establishment whose theme likely wouldn’t fly here in the States, and we don’t understand it entirely. Not that we entirely care either, as the meat of the story, to us, is how an architect in 2010 can so relatively-nonchalantly blow close to $40,000 on booze for people he doesn’t know and not be a Gehry or a Stern or a Hadid (the paper quotes him as saying “No bonus. No windfall. I’m just paying for it out of my pocket and hoping that my wife understands,” which seems decidedly less than how we would have reacted in that situation, which is, “Oh sweet lord, what have I done?!” followed by pounding our head against the bar until we passed out). So either this architect in particular has done very well for himself in the midst of a recession, Tokyo is the place to make lots more money in the business of building than it is over here, or we’ve been completely wrong about how difficult this recession has been on the industry. Whatever the case, we need a shot.