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Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)

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    Is There Global Competition for Students and Graduates?

    Pascale Vonier Sep 24 '13 2

    By Michael J. Monti, ACSA Executive Director

    This year’s meetings of the European Heads of Schools of Architecture took up familiar themes of managing change within budgetary and other constraints, but one day’s discussion was particularly relevant to the North American context. In October, the European Parliament will vote to update the Architect’s Directive, the law that is the basis for the recognition of professional qualifications across the European Union. As reported by keynote speaker Howard Davies of the European University Association (roughly akin to the American Council on Education in the United States), the Architect’s Directive will soon change to have new educational qualifications.

    Previously, the minimum educational qualifications were 4 years of study. Now the minimum qualifications will be 4 years in university + 2 years of practice or 5 years in university + 0 years practice. The 11 points (see below) that outline the architect’s core knowledge and skills will remain the same, and, in fact, have remained the same for decades.

    The Directive’s qualifications are the legal basis by which one E.U. country must recognize the credentials of an architect from another E.U. country. What this will mean for European schools was the matter for discussion.

    The 5-year degree model matches the Bologna Accord’s structure of 3 years undergraduate study + 2 years of master’s level study. If there are no obligations for internship after this, then what are the obligations of 5-year programs to address practical experience? And in a 4+2 architecture framework—which does not match the Bologna Accord and is not followed by most of the schools in Europe—is 4 years of study sufficient preparation?

    Countries in the E.U. can, and do, have higher standards for licensure than the minimums established by the European Union. But if country A has regulations that meet the Architect’s Directive and provide a license in 5 years, and country B requires 6 years or longer to become an architect, then a new architect from country A can automatically move to new country B to practice, while students and graduates in country B are still training.

    If the bar for admission to the profession is lowered by E.U. regulations, then over time will the system migrate toward the minimum standards? The Architect’s Directive opens up clearer competition between countries for students and interns. But does it also increase the level of competition between Europe and other countries or economies?

    The demand for talent in architecture firms is now global. NCARB reports it takes on average more than 7 years from graduation to licensure. Assuming a 5-year professional degree, that’s 12 years to licensure. So do economies that have a faster path from education to practice put their graduates at greater advantage?

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    The 11 Points of the Architect’s Directive

    1. ability to create architectural designs that satisfy both aesthetic and technical requirements;
    2. adequate knowledge of the history and theories of architecture and the related arts, technologies and human sciences;
    3. knowledge of the fine arts as an influence on the quality of archi­ tectural design;
    4. adequate knowledge of urban design, planning and the skills involved in the planning process;
    5. understanding of the relationship between people and buildings, and between buildings and their environment, and of the need to relate buildings and the spaces between them to human needs and scale;
    6. understanding of the profession of architecture and the role of the architect in society, in particular in preparing briefs that take account of social factors;
    7. understanding of the methods of investigation and preparation of the brief for a design project;
    8. understanding of the structural design, constructional and engineering problems associated with building design;
    9. adequate knowledge of physical problems and technologies and of the function of buildings so as to provide them with internal conditions of comfort and protection against the climate;
    10. the necessary design skills to meet building users' requirements within the constraints imposed by cost factors and building regulations;
    11. adequate knowledge of the industries, organisations, regulations and procedures involved in translating design concepts into buildings and integrating plans into overall planning.
     

     
    • 2 Comments

    • A.GUIGNARD
      Sep 26, 13 12:15 am

      I would love to read a follow up of this article after the verdict is in. What would this mean for non E.U. students who are looking to obtain their masters abroad in E.U. countries?

      NCARB
      Sep 27, 13 10:34 am

      Thanks to Michael Monti for helping raise awareness about the potential larger implications of the upcoming vote by the European Parliament. He’s right, as we reported in NCARB by the Numbers, the mean time from graduation to initial licensure in the U.S. is about seven years. For those who pursue licensure sequentially, adding a 5-year professional degree to that total indicates a 12 year path to licensure. Those who proactively take advantage of early eligibility shortcuts can shorten the timeline. The historical tracking indicates that these shortcuts are starting to have an impact, with a downward trend over the last several years.

      We at NCARB agree that the licensure path in the U.S. should be as efficient as possible. We’re currently exploring additional pathways through the work of a new Licensure Task Force that is considering how education, experience, and examination might be better integrated and whether there are alternatives to speed up the process, such as a licensure upon graduation model. We’re also exploring new ways of streamlining and reinventing the Intern Development Program (IDP).

      While our research shows a slow downward trend is occurring in years to licensure, the primary two existing shortcuts remain under-utilized: early ARE eligibility in most jurisdictions allows concurrent completion of the IDP and the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), yet few take advantage of this opportunity; and early IDP eligibility allows internship to start upon graduation from high school -- yet many are still waiting to start the IDP until after college. Another under-utilized benefit is the Emerging Professionals Companion, published by the AIA and providing core IDP credits. Despite the comprehensive nature of the EPC, a small number of interns have used it over the entirety of its existence. As NCARB and others across the profession explore ways to streamline the path to licensure in the near- and longer-term, we hope to see greater encouragement to use these shortcuts today. We look forward to working with all aspects of the community in promoting opportunities -- current and future -- to emerging professionals.

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The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is a nonprofit membership organization, founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. Our members are over 250 schools, including all accredited programs in the USA and Canada, schools seeking accreditation, and non-accredited and international programs--representing over 40,000 architecture faculty and students.

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