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Editorial

Judging by the reaction so far (deafening silence), the Stansfield Smith review of architectural education might be thought to be just what everybody always wanted, too difficult to comprehend, or of little interest outside the academic world. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but it is surely significant that the review has not aroused the howls of protest that might have been expected, given the strong views within the profession on a subject of consuming interest to people who have had to slog away for seven years to win their qualification. I have yet to meet an architect who does not have strong personal views on this subject.

What the review proposes, in a nutshell, is that architectural education allows for wider career choices on the one hand, and makes it rather more difficult to qualify as an architect on the other. In the process, which will take longer than at present, you would receive formal postgraduate qualifications. A further qualification for the mature professional is also envisaged, a proper version of the old riba fellowship. Parts I, II and III are replaced by Boy Scout-sounding 'certificates of achievement', intended to eliminate the idea that those who embark on only the first two stages of architectural education can only be thought of as 'failed architects'. Probably no bad thing.

There are some doubts which need to be laid to rest, however. One is the worry that the more general intention of the postgraduate qualification is not specific enough to demand mandatory grant funding. More generally, at a broader level, it is regrettable that the opportunity has not been taken to address the need for a common core of learning which should apply to all environmental and constructions courses. Diversity within architecture should spring from such a core - quite possibly the history of architecture and construction. In the meantime the authors of the review deserve congratulation, not least for causing us to think quietly.

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