Working Lives Toulouse: Architect

WATCH: Architect Bernard Voinchet works on new builds and also restoring older buildings

Bernard Voinchet is a man who loves his work so much he has no plans to give it up.

At a time when many in Europe are worrying about how long they will have to keep working to pay for their pension, Bernard Voinchet is an exception. He is 68, with no thoughts of retiring because he says he finds his work as an architect and restorer of old buildings very fulfilling.

He has worked on many of the listed buildings in Toulouse and prefers old brick to modern concrete - saying work on new projects is "harder and more stressful". He earns around $100,000 (£63,000) a year.

One of his current projects is restoring the ancient complex of the Jacobin convent in Toulouse, where he is managing a large team of masons, carpenters and painters.

Mr Voinchet believes strongly in fair division of wealth and labour; when France introduced the 35-hour working week he tried to make it work by introducing a pay freeze in his firm in order to create another job. However, he says, he has been disappointed by the measure.

"Some people have not wanted to share work and money. It's a big problem that our society can't address that issue calmly."

He says his colleagues are important to him and that his inspiration comes not only from the beautiful structures he restores, but from his co-workers too.


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