‘Architect’s back’ – the occupational injury endured by generations of architects who bent over architectural drawing boards in the days of set squares, tee squares, technical pens and tracing paper – died away with the advent of computer aided design. Ergonomically designed computer work stations help prevent back strain by allowing architects to sit upright with the ears directly above the shoulders which in turn are over the hips. Drafting chairs have a pneumatic gas lift for height adjustment, tilt adjustment, a foot ring to promote leg circulation and a curved back for lumbar support. As well as this freestanding height-adjustable tables also play an increasingly important role in preventing back strain by giving users the choice to sit or stand throughout the day.
Unfortunately some of the newest generation of architectural start ups (and lots of other tech start ups) including that of my son Simon are not working like this at all. They are working on laptops in coffee shops, shared workspaces, clubs, lounges etc . Because the keyboard and monitor are combined in a laptop they can’t be positioned independently for typing and viewing which means incorrect neck and shoulder posture and inevitably ‘architect’s back’ which I think is beginning to afflict Simon. There is a solution which is the use of a docking station that links the laptop to another monitor and keyboard or to a stand that raises the screen to a higher level.
Strange to have come full circle. Time to go ‘back to the drawing board’ (metaphorically speaking) and rethink this one.