December 06 2011

Architectural Education in the United Kingdom: Is it Worth it?

How much was your architectural education worth? And how much did it cost you? £5,000, £18,000, £45,000? As Universities across the United Kingdom increase their own valuation they are at risk of putting off a generation of talented, but ultimately poor students.

What are the options and what are the necessities? Put simply, in order to charge £9,000 a year, the quality of education has to improve. Students are now paying customers, who will expect a bit of bang for their buck (i.e. a decent standard of education). The days of one tutorial, one lecture and plenty of “learn it yourself through doing” per week will no longer cut it. The Universities are really going to have to up their game. Furthermore, they will have to improve their marketing strategy in order to really sell the potential degrees to students. Good will and word of mouth will no longer be enough for the twitter-literate generation.

Ideally the Royal Institute of British Architects needs to take a bigger role in providing support for students. This could be by ensuring there is a real improvement in educational standards, providing bursaries for students from low-income families, or organising a link up with practices in a work-for-fees agreement. In the long term they could address the question does the degree still require 5 years in University? Perhaps the simple answer to the issue of increasing costs is to reduce the course by a year or two and concentrate more on apprenticeship style training in offices.

The architecture profession is at a branding crossroads. For years it has struggled to shake its image as a job for white, middle class males and as a white, middle class male this Global Site Plans blogger is hardly doing much to dispel this inequality. Fortunately role models like David Adjaye and Zaha Hadid are having an impact that is gradually seeping into practices. But how can we continue this diversification and strengthening of the profession? Is it really by making the educational process up to 9 times more expensive to complete? What are some of your solutions?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources.

Ashley Roberts

Ashley Roberts is a recent graduate of the University of Nottingham, England, with a Diploma in Architecture and is now studying for his part-three accreditation. Still living in Nottingham, but with strong links to Liverpool and London, he has a passion for the continued and sustainable development of all three cities. Ashley has a particular interest in how we can use green technologies as a catalyst to improve the spaces around us. Follow him on twitter: @ashjroberts

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 at 8:47 am and is filed under Architecture, Branding, Education and Careers, Engineering. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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