Tony Fretton has claimed entry requirements for architecture school should be ‘much higher’ and has advocated a tougher four-year course ‘with a high failure rate’.
Speaking to the AJ, the founder of Tony Fretton Architects and recently a visiting professor at ETH Zurich, said: ‘There should be a shortage of architects in the UK: fewer bad architects, fewer good architects.’
While there was a small drop in the number of applications to architecture schools, according to UCAS, 35,042 would-be architects applied for full-time courses this year. In 2003 just 18,516 students applied.
Fretton also thinks that ‘there are too many architecture schools’ and ‘it would be better if there was more concentration’.
He added: ‘The problem is that you need strong practitioners as teachers and quite often it’s difficult if you have a large number of smaller schools for local practitioners to be available. The model that’s interesting is Switzerland (three major schools) and Holland (two major schools). They become large but attractive to high-level teachers. Facilities are concentrated.
‘The schools there reach into policy, they have the capacity to do research that helps local authority interaction with practice and public building.’
He added: ‘I would go for a number of highly facilitated schools that are very hard to get into and I think that course could be four years. Schools need an overall didactic system; it should be much more structured: demanding, with a high failure rate.’