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2008 AIAS

Š 2008. All Rights Reserved. American Institute of Architecture Students, inc. AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS 1735 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20006 The AIAS is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The AIAS mission is to promote excellence in architecture education, training and practice; to foster an appreciation of architecture and related disciplines; to enrich communities in a spirit of collaboration; and to organize students to combine their efforts to advance the art and science of architecture. The AIAS serves more than 6,200 student members enrolled in accredited and non-accredited design-based programs as well in community colleges and at the high school level. There are 140 AIAS chapters worldwide representing the United States and its territories, Canada, Mexico and other countries. The AIAS provides several member programs and benefits including design competitions, member discounts, workshops, publications, conferences, etc., To learn more about AIAS programs, services, membership or how to support the AIAS, visit

2008 AIAS



INTRODUCTION Among the many issues and venues in which the AIAS has provided visionary leadership over its distinguished history, the presence of the student perspective in the process of architectural accreditation has been particularly poignant. In 2008, we proudly contribute the 2008 AIAS Issue Brief on Architectural Education to further inform and shape the educational process of twenty-first century design professionals. The 2008 AIAS Issue Brief on Architectural Education is positioned as a critical and anticipatory document which highlights issues relevant to the future education and practice of the profession, citing opportunities for necessary and visionary change. It frames the voice of future practitioners, educators and leaders who will inherit the legacy of our current decisions. In this way it provides “futureforward” insight and catalytic challenge for our collective future. Observations and recommendations herein may serve as a primer of the attitudes, priorities, expectations, and interests of a future generation of design professionals. In keeping with this approach, the brief conveys major areas of focus, trends in priority setting, and expectations of how emerging professionals will need to perform as future architects; and therefore, the means and methods in which they will need to be trained. Additionally, in the spirit of the contemporary design education and accreditation process, the 2008 AIAS Issue Brief on Architectural Education offers recommendations strictly framed as performance goals.

It is not the intention of this document to consider the insignificant exercise of specific wording changes for the NAAB conditions; but rather, to provide a holistic and visionary perspective of the landscape in which current and future professionals are challenged to operate. To be successful in educating architects for twenty-first century practice, the direct concern of “condition wording” must give way to broader and more meaningful dialogues, motivated by a vision larger than the cyclical revision process of the NAAB Conditions for Accreditation. Moreover, this document will constitute a “measuring stick” by which proposed changes to the conditions (by way of the NAAB Board of Directors, the Emerging Accreditation Model Task Group, or the Evolution of the SPC Task Group) will be considered. Lastly, an evolution of thought relative to contemporary architectural education and practice necessitates revolutionary change in accreditation. Such change occurs neither quickly nor easily, and thus it is the hope that the perspective evidenced within this document lasts longer than the 2008 accreditation review cycle, aging with maturity while inciting more progressive change.

PROCESS OF THE AIAS ISSUE BRIEF The 2008 AIAS Issue Brief on Architectural Education is the result of eight months of intense dialogue, both within and beyond organizational, constituent, academic, professional and disciplinary boundaries. Through participation in cross-collateral discussion groups, co-authoring of multiple collateral issue papers, and an internal visioning and data collection process, the perspective contained herein has been carefully constructed. Sincere thanks are extended to the AIAS ARC Task Force, a diverse and vibrant collection of student leaders whose talents and characteristics provide just one example of the multiplicities, complexities and pluralities in which we operate. Their geographic, educational, racial, ethnic, gender and ideological diversity has provided a true snapshot of the AIAS constituency, and indeed, even a window into the multifaceted future of our profession. Additionally, the 2006-2007 AIAS Board of Directors provided solid ground on which to construct this visionary stance, and the 2007-2008 AIAS Board of Directors offered the focus and leadership to exact such a comprehensive and future-forward understanding of architectural education. They have reviewed and approved this document, proudly offering it as provocation for dialogue within the broader design community. As the AIAS wades deeply into the issues of an increasingly relevant education and responsive practice of architecture in the twenty-first century, we approach these issues with the following core concepts:

1. Today’s architecture students will be tomorrow’s architects and design professionals. As such, they inherit the legacy of these decisions and share equally in the stewardship of the future. Furthermore, the student perspective provides valuable insight and vision to be leveraged into measureable results. 2. The only thing that is constant is change. The context of education and practice is radically evolving to meet the demands of an increasingly complex world. Students embrace this change and are prepared to answer its call with passion and enthusiastic determination. 3. At its best, the Academy serves as an incubator of ideas and values which shape the future of architectural practice. As such, the accreditation review process provides students a powerful opportunity to provoke visionary change.

A NOTE ON EVOLUTION VS. REVOLUTION While the AIAS finds great value in the current accreditation system (in both its established process and content), there is eager anticipation of progressive, evolutionary change to keep pace with contemporary trends and forces affecting the profession. It is therefore the stated goal of the AIAS to urge the NAAB process to leverage broad vision into transformative change. Accreditation must seek to be an agent in a process which is increasingly nimble, inclusive and evidencebased.

The AIAS decision to provide broad performance goals for this accreditation review process rather than specific changes to the linguistic construction of the NAAB conditions is, in itself, neither a direct acceptance nor dismissal of the current accreditation system. Rather, we remain open to change – both evolutionary and revolutionary – as may be necessary to accomplish the presented goals. We could begin to imagine several general trends in the way NAAB evolves the accreditation process. For example, a general compilation of school conditions and student performance criteria under several core perspectives or values within architectural education could streamline the process, create clarity on the most important issues in contemporary architectural education, and preserve/promote diversity in the response of programs to these key objectives. Additionally, an evolution in the accreditation review process should allow for substantial investment, inclusion and care in the process of preparing for changes in accreditation; and therefore, facilitate more meaningful and transformational change that is anticipatory, rather than reactionary. Lastly, part of the dialogue surrounding the 2008 accreditation review conference has focused on evolutionary versus revolutionary change. While neither the current mechanisms for affecting change within the Conditions for Accreditation nor the 5-year rolling clock related to this process are supportive of revolutionary change, we feel that an evolution of thought relative to contemporary architectural education and practice necessitates revolutionary change in accreditation.

Thus, it is this balance of an iterative process (evolution) combined with long-term, broad reconsideration of ingrained assumptions (revolution) that will instill greatest value in architectural education. The perspective evidenced within this document (as well as within AIAS Studio Culture and related publications) must last longer than the 2008 accreditation review cycle, and instead, catalyze a long-term critical exploration of architectural education.

A NOTE ON URGENCY The current process of setting new performance goals for architectural education through the accreditation process, while thorough, is not nimble. Recommendations from the 2008 effort will not fully impact graduates until 2013 and beyond. Given the rate of change in the architectural profession – and more broadly in global professional communities – there is a narrow window in which to affect positive future change in order to keep pace with the trajectory of contemporary practice. This “time-lag” is of great concern to the AIAS, and as such, the organization recommends that the NAAB review the following recommendations to determine both immediate opportunities for modification as well as long-term methods of effecting transformative, visionary evolution within architectural education and accreditation.


It is not surprising that future professionals – those who will inherit the ecological legacy of today’s architects and designers – are focused on issues of sustainability in the built environment. Such issues will define the profession of practitioners who are currently receiving their professional education, and who must be keenly prepared to practice with sophisticated ecological sensitivity. Issues of ecological literacy and sustainability require from accreditation, above all else, integration into architectural curricula in both breadth and depth. Indeed, ecological literacy requires a fluid manipulation of both “hard and soft” skills, quantitative and qualitative, technical and conceptual. Such skills must be evidenced in topics that range across the curriculum, including eco-climate awareness, regional and vernacular sensitivities, systems thinking methodologies, materials and methods research, preservation and adaptive reuse strategies, active and passive design concepts, and the inclusion of ecological decision making in professional ethics canons. Future professionals are in search of a holistic “re-stitching” of design curricula along a green thread, integrating an ecological understanding as a fundamental aspect of design at all levels. Thus, the charge to embed ecological literacy as part of the DNA of architectural education could not more meaningfully justify an imperative to thoughtfully embrace disciplines beyond traditional borders. Furthermore, the gravity of the ecological imperative facing the design profession urgently necessitates accreditation to foster ecologically restorative goals for

architectural curricula and the development of an ethos of stewardship within the academic environment that is both conceptually and practically rooted.

The AIAS has maintained public policy statements on the integration of sustainability into curricula since 1994 (PP 3.2 and 4.3.3).




SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY As architecture continues its pursuit to engage and enrich communities, the task of educating future architects as socially responsible professionals remains a critical priority. The landscape in which future professionals will operate is increasingly politically charged, and will necessitate fluency in civic engagement and leadership beyond traditional professional capacities. Architects will be called upon as instruments of change in situations that are increasingly complex, requiring an ability to craft physically, socially and economically equitable solutions within the built environment. Moreover, the vast majority of the world public who cannot afford design services – a segment rapidly growing within the world population – requires the engagement of a more socially aware and responsive design profession. To answer this call, the AIAS encourages the accreditation process to empower schools to nurture civic engagement and social responsibility in future professionals, supported by the necessary skills and competencies to be acutely aware, actively engaged change agents within society. Such skills include, but are not limited to an awareness of policy and the political process, community outreach, sociology and human dynamics, community outreach and engagement methodologies, and marketing and public communication techniques. Further, the demand for future architects to perform not only as designers but as knowledgeable citizens necessitates greater emphasis on communication, advocacy and marketing skills for public engagement.

Globalization of markets, processes, resource networks and cultures in the contemporary marketplace is unprecedented. Specifically, the profession of architecture has been confronted with the creation of globalized product delivery methods, exploding markets abroad, expanded resource allocation networks, outsourcing, off-shoring, global talent streams, increased human mobility and the reciprocity of educational accreditation and professional registration/licensure. Such forces of globalization have given rise to new models of practice and reconfigured the architectural process. Recognizing that such radical changes are not only underway, but will continue to revolutionize the way in which architecture is practiced, the education of future professionals must prepare them to work within a highly globalized profession while still supporting a more robust and finer-grain understanding of unique regional and vernacular contexts. Among many key competencies, an understanding of the larger global economy and its dynamic forces must create leaders who are broadly experienced and entrepreneurially trained. Additionally, graduates must understand the complexities and implications of the global network in which they operate, developing a heightened crosscultural awareness as a foundation for successful future teaming strategies. Thus, an increased emphasis on developing collaborative leadership skills among future graduates will fully prepare them to engage a rapidly globalizing, team-oriented workforce.



PROFESSIONAL AWARENESS LINKING ACADEMY AND PRACTICE PROFESSIONAL AWARENESS: LINKING ACADEMY + PRACTICE There has been rich and fruitful dialogue within our profession that has called for a more thoughtful integration of academe and practice. Indeed, this is a long-term goal to which the AIAS is committed, as there is infinite value in the potential of this relationship. Students, educators and practitioners can share equally in learning from each other. Issues of accreditation may begin to marry these topics around several critical points of congruence. Regarding the development of a balanced, wellrounded faculty, accreditation must play a supportive role in encouraging new pedagogical approaches and teaching methodologies that enhance collaboration (i.e. team teaching strategies). Additionally, the AIAS and its members value the perspective and unique experience of practicing architects, and believe that accreditation should facilitate the development of a balanced faculty for all institutions; a faculty which values and equally represents academic rigor and practice expertise. Furthermore, the AIAS firmly believes that if a license is to be a universally valued achievement within the architectural community, then educational, accreditation, regulatory and professional organizations must work together in a spirit of collaborative advocacy to establish a professional license as the equivalent of a “terminal degree” within and beyond the realm of higher education. The AIAS sees research as a potential unifier between academia and practice. As such, research must take on a dynamic and valued role in architectural curricula, simultaneously translating between theory

and application within the built environment. Even more importantly, however, students must be equipped with skills and abilities to engage research if they are to be future integrators between these two currently disparate worlds. The AIAS strongly supports voluntary participation of students in the Intern Development Program (IDP), as well as encourages students to open a council record with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) at their earliest point of eligibility. With equal vigor, the AIAS supports aggressive and continued refinement of the IDP, leading to a holistic evolution of the program into a more integrated and effective process, concurrent with and subsequent to obtaining a professional degree in architecture. While we strongly support this program’s purpose in the process of becoming a licensed professional, the AIAS finds it neither within the purview of accreditation to stipulate mandatory enrollment in a proprietary program, nor responsive to the diverse reasons for which a student may seek professional education in architecture. Moreover, such action currently requires a fee; a cost to which students should not be obligated since educational fees and expenses already create barriers for many who wish to enter the profession. The AIAS does recognize, however, that the data gathered through a universal entry process in professional architectural education would be of significant value, and must be a shared resource among collaterals in order to more thoughtfully build a solid foundation for the future of our shared profession.

Further, we support the intention that more students – indeed all students – must be aware of and knowledgeable about the process and value of obtaining an architectural license. While we do not hold that mandatory enrollment in the IDP will directly facilitate this fundamental awareness, the AIAS strongly encourages NCARB, in collaboration with the collateral organizations, to more actively and effectively educate practitioners (who will be mentors), educators (who will introduce the preliminary notions of careers in architecture) and students (who will be peer advocates and future license holders) about these processes. We believe this strategy, as a valued part of a professional education, will yield lasting and sustained improvement in the success of professional licensure. Finally, while we do not wish to make recommendations for specific adjustments to the existing Conditions for Accreditation, it is important to note that existing references to professional practice issues are usually fulfilled by a single “Professional Practice” course within the curricular sequence. It has been the collective impression that the number of requirements related to teaching students about professional practice creates an unfair burden upon any one particular course (or instructor). The potential expansion of performance goals in this area, one which should be considered with enthusiasm, necessitates careful consideration of their structuring within curricula.

The AIAS maintains many Public Policies related to this issue, including PP 4.3.2 (Practice in Education), PP 4.4.4 (Innovation in Teaching), PP 4.6.3 (Mentor Programs), PP 5.1 (Professional Experience before Licensure) and PP 5.3 Student Internship.

As architects continually become master orchestrators of an increasingly complex and dynamic building process – one which must meaningfully engage and leverage a diversified team of expertise – the development of a well rounded graduate with sophisticated professional and multidisciplinary capacities will be increasingly relevant. While architectural education and accreditation have long valued these capacities, they have neither been a defined focus of professional education in architecture, nor have the skills, techniques or knowledge base of these capacities been formally structured into architectural curricula across institutions. Thus, the AIAS strongly recommends that accreditation measures expect curricula to explicitly include formal methodologies for teaching the following professional and multidisciplinary capacities with priority in architectural education: business and management skills, including the subspecialties of communication/ marketing, public relations, and financial management; collaborative and leadership skills; capacity and consensus building; research abilities; and exposure to and engagement of allied disciplines. Additionally, the need for designers to innovate and adapt in a rapidly evolving global community necessitates institutions to be an incubator of entrepreneurship where a culture of lifelong curiosity and learning are instilled. Developing a culture of research and invention, while embracing a broad liberal education made relevant to architectural studies allows the future practitioner to be nimble and relevant in a context of constant global change on many fronts.




DESIGN CULTURE Beginning in 2000, the AIAS launched the Studio Culture Initiative, a multi-year effort to critique and positively improve the quality of the student experience within design studios. The AIAS has published several documents on this topic, including the Redesign of Studio Culture (2002) and the Studio Culture Summit Report (2004). Additionally, the NAAB included condition 3.5 Studio Culture in its Conditions for Accreditation (2004), requiring all schools to formally document a studio culture policy as a condition for accreditation. Since these initial efforts, the AIAS has collected and peer-reviewed the 44 studio culture policies authored by schools and submitted as part of the accreditation process to-date. After careful review and study of these policies, the AIAS will release Toward an Evolution of Studio Culture: Report of the Second AIAS Task Force on Studio Culture, later this year. Among the findings of the task force, however, is a renewed interest in thoughtful examination and design of the culture within which future professionals are educated. Additionally, while the focus of the effort remains on the studio as the nexus of architectural education, new interest is given to the relationship of “studio culture” to the broader “design culture” in which all professionals operate. As such, a spirit of lifelong learning and curiosity coupled with an appreciation of the traditions and ethics of architecture yield a more holistic notion of design culture. Specific recommendations, best practices and lessons learned will be put forward in the forthcoming publication on Studio Culture; however it is important to note that in direct response to collateral requests, the task

force recommends NAAB Condition 3.5 to be modified such that its challenge to schools is “more intense, collaborative, specific and informative.” A proposal for these modifications is in draft form at the time of this writing and will be submitted under separate cover, as appropriate, to respond directly to evolving accreditation system proposals.


The AIAS maintains many Public Policies related to Human and Cultural Diversity, including PP 4.2.1 (Diversity), PP 4.3.1 (Universal Design), and PP 4.3.6 (Cross Cultural Exposure). Furthermore, AIAS publications on Studio Culture have cited these issues with key importance to the future of education and practice.

HUMAN AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY Intimately related to other themes in this issue brief, a respect for human and cultural diversity is an inherent necessity for twenty-first century architectural education and practice. Graduates and practitioners consistently work in a multicultural landscape, relying on successful teaming strategies across generational, cultural, geographic and linguistic boundaries. The need for emerging professionals to gain a new set of skills and sensitivities, along with an understanding of diverse cultural perspectives, traditions and means of communication will be vital to their performance in this new context. It is in this sense of plurality that emerging professionals must be confident, perhaps even fluent. The breadth of issues which are influenced by human and cultural diversity – defined as a celebration of complex similarities and differences – is infinite. Ranging from an understanding of and value for multiple perspectives of faculty and students within the design studio, to nondualistic (western/non-western) canons of architectural history and theory, design pedagogy must begin to address the global and kaleidoscopic landscape of contemporary society. Furthermore, education must embrace a growing sense of nationalism (pride in one’s heritage and nationality) within, and relative to, a broader context of internationalism (appreciation for an increasingly global community). Thus, the AIAS encourages an evolution of the NAAB conditions which foster a pluralistic (rather than dualistic) understanding of, and exposure to, architectural history and theory, as well as human culture, traditions, and modes of understanding. Moreover, mechanisms for

addressing issues of diverse representation to ultimately reflect an increasingly inclusive image of the populations served by architecture should also be included.

Technology and media increasingly shape the methods by which architectural projects are designed and delivered across the globe. It is not surprising, therefore, that emerging graduates are faced with the need to be increasingly techno-literate in both design and production capacities. As such, much study has centered on the impacts of a digital design process on pedagogy, learning processes and outcomes. Technology has also had a dramatic effect on the learning environment, shifting the culture of the architectural studios into a hybrid culture, where the computer cluster is as vibrant a creative space as the traditional studio desk. Global shifts toward new mediums such as wikis and content sharing websites like YouTube now allow a pedagogy of sharing, creating, and using; and thus, are demanding an increasingly content-literate marketplace. Architectural practice has seen a similar set of cultural shifts, including the rise of manufacturing, prototyping and similar design methodologies that have radically changed the established norms of production. Building information modeling promises to revolutionize (or at least significantly alter) the process by which buildings are conceptualized, designed, manufactured and constructed. Integrated practice and integrated project delivery methods suggest that many of the issues of collaborative leadership and the architect’s management of diverse expertise will be realities of twenty-first century practice. Given that technology continues to transform both educational and practice trajectories, the AIAS encourages the NAAB conditions to evolve such that

technology and media are embraced as a disciplinary focus. Emerging professionals must be confidently facile with methods of thinking, designing, communicating and producing digitally, while also able to adapt dynamically to the rapid pace of change induced by these tools. Moreover, emerging professionals must remain technologically agile while appreciating traditional methods of representation and establishing a sense of individuality within an increasingly homogeneous set of tools and programs. Most importantly, the AIAS wishes to convey that this agility with technology and media does not come from direct training in discrete tools of an industry; but rather, holistic education about the means and methods by which technology drives process change and product development.




URBANISM With rates of urbanization rapidly growing across the globe, future architects will operate in a much more complex, demanding and increasingly urban context. The American economy has already seen the rise of infinitely large international markets for architectural services in Asia and the Middle East, among others. Massive urbanization in these regions of the world have placed increased burden on designers to address issues of housing, community and place-making, heritage conservation, and sustainability, among the needs of this new population. As such, emerging professionals must be ready to tackle issues of a growing international urbanism, as some portion of their practice will directly involve or be indirectly impacted by this condition. AIAS encourages NAAB Conditions to reconsider architectural education in light of increasing pressures of urbanism, and the multifaceted skills necessary to operate in this expanding context, including the importance of urban design and planning, sociology, policy, international awareness, adeptness with regionalism and the vernacular, issues of sustainable development, landscape design, and the importance of historic preservation and adaptive reuse.



AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS For more information on the collateral positions, see their position papers: AIA: White Paper for NAAB Accreditation Review Conference NCARB: Position Paper for the NAAB 2008 Accreditation Review Conference ACSA: Architectural Education + Accreditation, ACSA Report for the Accreditation Review Conference



These tag cloud visualizations list and scale the fifty most commonly used words and phrases in the ARC preparation documents from the AIAS, NCARB, AIA and ACSA. Through this investigation, one can see the relative frequency of certain themes by looking at the term’s size and boldness relative to others. For example, the AIAS has placed great emphasis on the topic of culture in their document and the ACSA on the environment.


SUMMARY + NEXT STEPS It is the hope of the American Institute of Architecture Students, through this 2008 Issue Brief on Architectural Education to bring critical focus to areas of necessary change within architectural education. Current conditions within the architectural profession and the perspectives of our members indicate that a transformational evolution of the profession of architecture is underway. It is this evolution which warrants thoughtful, yet visionary response from architectural education, such that the trajectory of emerging professionals keeps pace with the rate of change in the profession. The 2008 Issue Brief on Architectural Education highlights several areas of critical focus, and challenges the NAAB Conditions for Accreditation to evolve in a number of ways. Some of these changes may be acute modifications to the Conditions for Accreditation, while still others may be long-range transformations in the way we approach pedagogy and accredit educational processes. Thus, the product of this paper is intended to be a road map of sorts, charting territory long after the 2008 Accreditation Review Conference. It is the hope of the AIAS that the NAAB approach these issues with both immediate urgency and holistic vision.

UPCOMING PUBLICATIONS Toward an Evolution of Studio Culture: Report of the Second AIAS Task Force on Studio Culture: Lessons Learned, Best Practices and Guidelines for a More Effective Studio Culture Document Release Date: June 2008 Focus 2020 : Imagining the Future Design Professional A collection of diverse perspectives from experts across disciplines on the future of architectural education and practice, paired with a study of students from across the country on their vision for a future in Architecture Release Date: July 2008






TONY P. VANKY, ASSOC. AIA Vice President

SARAH ABEL University of Oklahoma

JONATHAN BAHE Past President

JONATHAN BAHE University of Washington

JW BLANCHARD Director, South Quadrant

ANNA BEVILL Auburn University

BRIAN DENNEN Director, Midwest Quadrant

ERIKE DEVEYRA Philadelphia University

DANIELLE MCDONOUGH Director, Northeast Quadrant

WILLIAM DORAN Louisiana State University

HENRY SCHNEIDER IV Director, West Quadrant

CATHERINE MCNEEL Mississippi State University


RYAN MURPHY University of Illinois


MATTHEW PITZER Northeastern University

MICHAEL V. GEARY, CAE Executive Director

MELISSA SCHRICKER Auburn University RUSSELL SCHUTTE Montana State University ADA ROSE WILLIAMS Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture

American Institute of Architecture Students 1735 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20006 The AIAS is an independent, non-profit, student run organization.

AIAS Issue Brief on Architectural Education  

The policy paper of the American Institute of Architecture Students related to the future of education and accreditation.

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