Major reforms to architectural education outlined by ARB
The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has set out a new vision for the way that future architects are educated and trained which, if approved, could be the most significant changes to architectural education and training in 50 years.
The ARB currently fulfils its role as the professional regulator responsible for setting the standards for registration as an architect by setting criteria and processes that institutions teaching architecture must meet in order for their students to qualify and register as architects.
However, the ARB said its evidence suggests that the existing educational model of Parts 1, 2 and 3 is inflexible and needs modernising to address key challenges facing the sector. The current system has produced thousands of excellent architects, but it’s also created significant barriers to some people becoming architects at all, it added. The cost of education and the requirements for work experience can create barriers for people from less affluent backgrounds or without existing networks in the profession.
ARB said its aim is to help develop a profession that reflects society, adding that new routes to becoming an architect must be developed if the UK is to have an inclusive profession.
The body is proposing to replace the current criteria with a new set of learning outcomes, underpinned by clear educational standards. Instead of setting the topics that architecture students must be taught, ARB will set the competencies an individual must be able to demonstrate at the end of their education and training.
The most important factor will be what a newly qualified architect should be able to do – not how they got there. ARB wants to enable institutions to innovate and use their expertise, within a quality assured system, so that architects of the future are able to take on new leadership roles, help address the climate emergency and build a culture of safety and professionalism.
ARB has published its vision for modernising architectural education and training in a paper and is inviting architects, academics, employers, students and all other interested parties to share their views through a survey.
Hugh Simpson, chief executive and registrar of the Architects Registration Board, said: “Architects have a crucial role to play if we, as a society, are to rise the challenge of climate change, enable social mobility and promote a culture of safety within the construction industry. Feedback from the sector is that reform of initial education and training is needed to address these challenges.
“The journey to becoming an architect needs to be more inclusive so that the profession can become more diverse and reflective of society. This means we have to make our regulatory framework more flexible to encourage new, different and cheaper routes to becoming an architect.
“Given the scale of change we are proposing, it is important we take the time to get them right, but in future years we don’t want to look at the Register and see the lack of representation that we see today.
“We want as many people as possible to complete our survey to help shape our reforms. I’m particularly interested in the views of architecture academics and students, so I’m keen that they look at our vision for the reforms and tell us whether it’s on the right track.”
Wendy Colvin, architect and senior lecturer, and chair of APSA (Association of Professional Studies in Architecture), said: “A review of routes to registration has been discussed for many years and, given the context of current events, the timing of this seems entirely appropriate. This is a necessary and proactive move that ARB is making to potentially and fundamentally review the requirements for registration as an architect. The outcome of this review could improve access to the Register, whilst strengthening the accountability of the process. APSA encourages anyone interested in the future of this profession to get involved and to not miss this opportunity to engage with the process.”
Visit arb.org.uk/consultations to find out more and take the survey, which will close on January 10 at midday.
ARB will also be running a series of events on the review.