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Stansfield Smith's education

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review: the wider picture When new architecture undergraduates enrol at university in autumn 2001, they will be following courses which take on board the recommendations of the Stansfield Smith report, following long and wide consultations.

The emphasis of the report is on a broader profession with more than lip service paid to the idea that a first degree in architecture fits the graduate to play a wider role in the built environment.

'There is an emphasis on specialisation within and outside architectural practice,' said Paul Hyett, riba vice-president for education. The report calls for qualifications that would lead to two streams of riba membership, chartered architects and, of equal status but not chartered, associate members. The report says: 'A dual membership structure would allow inclusion of those strongly 'associated' with the profession because of their training and work, encourage the development of a broader profession and help consolidate the specific criteria needed for chartered status.'

This approach challenges the protection of title, the traditional fiefdom of the arb. However, the riba plans to work in consultation with arb, and Barbara Kelly, arb chairwoman welcomed the report. 'We will be initiating a debate on both the recommendations themselves and, in particular, arb's role in implementing them,' she said.

Specialisation within practice will come about through setting up specialist registers. By 2000 these should cover sustainable design, conservation, urban design and project management. More should be created in 2001, on areas like history and theory, computer visualisation and architectural teaching, and architectural management. `By 2001 a policy should be agreed by the riba and the arb that the title 'architect', while assuring the consumer of basic core skills, may also signify specialist, multi and interdisciplinary skills.'

Another key recommendation is a move from the current parts I, II and III to a seven-year educational cycle validated as a series of weighted credits. These would allow students to work at the pace and emphasis they chose. Hyett said this is one area over which he felt 'concern'. He said: 'The complexity of the credit system could be chaotic. It would be better to have modularisation within a standard Part I and part II arrangement.'

Leonie Milliner, director of education at riba, said the Institute will rise to the challenges, and was in an 'increasingly strong position', with more than 90 schools with 25,000 students, under the riba validation umbrella worldwide.

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