As the Bolonga Process came into effect in early 2007, all Australian architecture schools were preparing for the transition from Bachelor of Architecture to Master of Architecture. In the past 12 months the National Education Committee (NEC) and the Architecture Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) worked tirelessly in preparation for the change and were faced with a number of new challenges. Despite this, the transition went well and at the time of writing this report, all 15 architecture schools have successfully sought support from accrediting authorities and the RAIA, and are now offering new Master programs to architecture students.
The introduction of the new master program also signifies the current and future development of architecture education not only in Australia but also in a global context. It is increasingly common to see Australian architects working overseas. This is due to a number of factors, including greater demand in the global building industry; overseas graduates completing their studies in Australia then returning to their home country and the success of Australian medium and large firms in obtaining international projects.
These developments have prompted the RAIA to be more proactive with the international community. In 2006 the RAIA was involved with major accreditation and validation authorities such as the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA), the National Architecture Accreditation Board (NAAB), the Canadian Architecture Certification Board (CACB), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Architectural Society of China, Mexico and Korean accrediting authorities sharing concerns at the lack of mutual recognition of architecture education.
Following the RAIA’s attendance at the Second Invitational Architecture Accreditation/Validation Roundtable in Ottawa in May 2007, it was agreed by the participating countries that a formal agreement should be put in place to outline commonly agreed accreditation principles and benchmarks for minimum academic standards.
The Third Invitational International Architecture Accreditation/Validation Roundtable will be staged in Canberra in April 2008.
Since July 2007 the RAIA has been working collaboratively with international accrediting authorities, including representatives from US, UK, Canada, China, Korea and Mexico on developing a framework of substantial equivalency of architecture accreditation/validation systems and a best-practice accreditation model. The ‘Canberra Accord on Architecture Education’ has been developed on this basis and the Roundtable in Canberra will provide the occasion for all participating signatories to endorse and sign the accord. The longer term ambition of the accord is to facilitate the portability of architecture qualifications.
With greater focus on “internationalisation” of architecture education in recent months, the timing of the AACA’s review of Academic Equivalence (RAE) process was perfect considering the current developments in Australia. In late January 2008 the RAIA was asked to put in a formal submission to comment on the RAE process. After consulting with a number of overseas architects who had experience with the RAE process, concerns with the current assessment criteria outlined in the RAE were raised. The current mechanics of the RAE process has reinforced the urgent need to develop substantial equivalency on architecture accreditation/validation systems. Through the review of the RAE it is hoped that RAIA will continue dialogue with AACA.
Highlights in 2007
- Following RAIA’s contribution to the Education for Climate Change Adaptation in the Built Environment Sector report prepared by the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability (ARIES) in early 2007, the former Department of the Environment and Water Resources (DEEWR) announced that funding totaling $2 million for climate change adaptation skills for professionals was available to accrediting and professional bodies. The RAIA and the University of New South Wales have joined forces and submitted a joint application to DEEWR in early December 2007. In addressing climate change adaptation requirements, focus areas include the issue of current knowledge base (benchmarking) concerning climate change adaptation, strategic development to specifically engage practicing architects and design students, development and delivery of a series of targeted Continuing Professional Development programs for professionals in major city locations in Australia. The proposal also outlined RAIA's intention to explore the possibility of aligning AACA competency standards, the RAIA Education Policy and Performance Criteria.
- Monash University has formally requested a preliminary assessment of their new architecture program and the assessment report is currently being carried out by RAIA/AACA/Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV). This addition will bring the total number of universities offering architecture courses in Australia to 17; this number includes Charles Darwin University which currently offers a three year pre-professional degree course.
- Former NEC Deputy Chair, Beverley Garlick, was appointed as RAIA’s representative on the UIA Architecture and Children Work Program.
The RAIA Education Unit and NEC thank the following sponsors for their continual support:
·COLOURBOND® steel - RAIA & COLOURBOND® steel student Biennale.
·BlueScope Steel - RAIA BlueScope Steel Glenn Murcutt Student Prize
·Fletcher Insulation - RAIA Sislation Prize
·LYSAGHT - LYSAGHT Prize
·Graduate Prize sponsors
oBligh Voller Nield
oDaryl Jackson Alastair Swayn
Prof Richard Blythe RAIA