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Education needs time to take its course

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Having just picked up an old copy of the AJ (12.2.04) and read the various views expressed on the effects top-up fees are likely to have on the future of architectural education, I would like to add my own comments.

Problems such as this are selfinduced: we invite upon ourselves negative economic pressures, by an insufficient understanding and presentation of our very educational support. The blame must lie with the ARB.As a representative and regulatory body, it is not sufficiently promoting the role of trained architects within wider political and regulatory structures.

Shortened study is just a costcutting exercise; it is negative and should be resisted. It is on a triedand-tested basis that the course is as long as it is. In fact, if we look to the continent, students in Germany, Spain, France and so on realise that study for even longer than seven years is necessary.

Closer to home, an increasing number of students find their study is shortened already through having to work externally to fund their education.

More training could be argued for, which might include the following: more readily examinable aspects such as the stricter applications of geometry and logic (without, of course, attempting to kill design thought by excessive defining and delimiting); the place of architecture as a branch of just about everything else; research and development of materials, computers, perception; analysis and integration of current costs in the construction industry; the list goes on, and in fact so does architectural learning.

Erosion of the ground structure makes only for collapse. As my former teacher, David Dunster of the University of Liverpool, points out, 're-examination is necessary, but re-evaluation of training should not undermine the foundations of what makes for good architectural - and political - vision'.

Paul Lally Dublin

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