Dezeen Magazine

graphic of architecture education reform

ARB proposes scrapping UK architecture education's three-part structure

The UK's Architects Registration Board has announced plans to reform architectural education and training that will scrap the current three-part structure in place of two accredited qualifications.

The proposal would scrap the current education and training system that exists as Part 1, 2 and 3 and replace it with a "flexible framework" that introduces new entry points and different pathways for prospective architects.

The reformed structure will impose that undergraduate degrees (Part 1) accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) would no longer be required for architects to complete their training.

Instead, as well as architecture bachelor's degrees, relevant degrees or professional experience will be accepted.

Improve diversity into architecture

The ARB hopes that these frameworks will help broaden entry and improve diversity in the profession.

"Some people may not have a degree at all, but be able to demonstrate professional experience that a learning provider deems appropriate and sufficient to enable them to achieve the learning outcomes," explained ARB.

"We believe that this approach will widen access to the profession," it said.

"Not only will students with relevant experience or qualifications be able to access a masters level qualification without having to 'return' to the start of an accredited undergraduate course, but it will allow learning providers to use their expertise to design courses that meet the diverse demands tomorrow’s architects will face."

In 2021, a report led by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre found that architecture is one of the most privileged industries in the UK. The report revealed that 73 per cent of workers in the architecture industry are classed as privileged.

The ARB is the governing body for the registration of architects in the UK, the board regulates the profession of architecture to ensure that standards of practice across architecture are appropriately maintained.

Proposal suggests "an outcomes-based approach"

Qualifying architects will have to demonstrate competency across 49 different outcomes under five categories, including professionalism and ethics, design, research and evaluation, contextual and architectural knowledge, and also management, practice and leadership, which would be tickbox achieved during a person's education and or training.

"Our proposed framework for educating and training architects moves to an outcomes-based approach in which our regulatory focus is on what an individual must know, what they must be able to do, and how they must behave, rather than how and what they are taught," said the proposal.

"The new framework is more flexible and is based on two points at which we would continue to have regulatory oversight, meaning we would set requirements at two stages only."

The reformed structure will also implement that ARB-accredited qualifications must meet standards that mean the learning experience for students will be focused on the delivery of quality and consistency across a student's training and education.

From September 2027, the ARB stated that anyone embarking on becoming an architect must be trained and educated through the new structure and learning systems.

A final, three-month-long public consultation was announced on 8 February which invites students, educators and architects to share their views and discuss the proposal.

In 2022 the head of the London School of Architecture, Neal Shasore told Dezeen of his plans to make the school a beacon of inclusivity and argued that "decolonising" architectural education can create a more diverse industry.