To qualify in the US, an architect needs to meet the requirements of the individual states. To do this it is necessary to be registered with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards [NCARB], who has a NCARB member in each state. Registration is based on accredited education and examination followed by designated experience. Many of the states also require degree status with National Architectural Accrediting Board accreditation. This ensures that an appropriate level of professionalism has been reached. Greenway Communications LLC, in collaboration with the Design Futures Council, publishes a yearly list of the best design and architecture schools.
Universities are now recognizing the contributions that younger professionals can make to the training of future architects, with the upsurge in green technologies and the Building Information Modeling [BIM] technology. There are a number of excellent architecture schools in the USA, the best being confirmed by the companies who hire the graduates. Illinois Institute of Technology featured at the top of the 2007 list, together with Rhode Island School of Design and Auburn University. There are many other good architecture schools on the list, including Texas A & M and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. The National Architectural Accrediting Board evaluates the courses being offered at each of these universities / institutions and sets the minimum standards they expect graduates to meet. Architecture schools are quite selective in accepting students to their courses but they also acknowledge that they are going through changes which will have an impact on the future training of architectural graduates.
In the UK a register is kept of all the architects, following the establishment of the Architects Registration Board and the Architects Act in 1997. This is designed to standardize the training and knowledge of all architectural graduates and to investigate businesses that designate themselves to be architects when, in fact, they are not registered. One of the largest and most respected architecture schools in the UK is the Oxford Brookes University, School of the Built Environment which, since it was established in 1927, has built up a global reputation for its teaching and its research facilities. Each academic year sees 100 students commence an undergraduate course in architecture. A further 30 each year study the undergraduate BA interior architecture course. There is also a diploma course and masters’ courses in architecture which attracts a further 120 students, plus an additional 40 studying the MPhil/PhD program.
The reputation of the Oxford Brookes University is such that the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awarded their School of the Built Environment the role of providing the base for the RIBA’s Office-based examination [OBE] program, for both Parts 1 and 2. The reputation of this university has ensured that it becomes involved in designs for modular buildings and vernacular architecture to sustainable designs, with a million euros of grant income being allocated every year. The Royal Institute of British Architects [RIBA] provided details of the top architecture schools around the world, naming McGill University in Canada as being Canada’s best. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that you needed to have a degree to become an architect. There are still quite a few countries which don’t require their architects to be university-trained. But to be able to build and showcase a top class portfolio, acquiring requisite credentials is always advisable.
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