This House Believes Architectural Education Is Failing to Produce 21st Century Professionals

The right skills

debate shot

Jeremy Till – Westminster University with Harriet Harris – Oxford Brookes University

Jeremy Till Harriet Harris

Adrian Forty – UCL with Paul Monaghan Partner at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Adrian Forty Paul Monaghan

Winter, 26th November 2009



Architectural education requires graduates to invest heavily in the profession from an early stage. It is not cheap and in return for this time and expense, graduates have a reasonable expectation of reward at the end. However, faced with the dual challenge of economic and environmental crisis is our system of education equipping graduates with the right skills to take on 21st Century realities?

The economic activity of 2009 has dealt architects and the profession a heavy blow with practices of all scales making redundancies, streamlining and seeking to take on those who might work for free. Recent figures published by HECSU suggest a rise of 22,000 in graduate unemployment- amounting to one in ten unemployed 6 months after leaving university this summer. With the sector hit particularly hard, architecture graduates are likely to feature heavily. There is a danger that graduates will lose interest and that talent and expertise will be lost for a generation. At a time when the role and function of architects is constantly being challenged this lack of confidence risks further damaging the public value of the profession. Is the content and structure of the education system to blame or has practice capitulated at the demands of the client? Can we afford to luxuriate in the art of architecture or do we need a robust period of innovation and review?

Building Futures hosts an evening scrutinising architectural education and its purpose.

Chaired by Dickon Robinson, the Chairman of Building Futures and featuring contributions from Adrian Forty, Professor of Architectural History at The Bartlett, the Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London with Paul Monaghan Partner at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and architect and educator and Jeremy Till, Dean of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster with Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, focusing on socially responsive place-making and Building Futures Advisory Group member, Harriet Harris.

For more information on this event contact

UCL Urban Lab