Sunand Prasad, RIBA President 2007-09

The world-views of architectural education and practice have drifted too far apart. But that does not mean that education should be targeted to the needs of practice. The gift of education is to enable each person to think for themselves in their own circumstances and to equip her or him with the basic tools for understanding, creating and communicating. As in other industries, academia in the built environment is often ahead of practice. But in other industries there is quicker route for knowledge and innovation from academia to practice, and more focus in education on the realities of practice. Unfortunately the neglect of technology, cost and sustainability in architectural education threatens to emasculate young architects.

The heads of schools of architecture, student representatives and the RIBA are agreed that architectural education needs radical reform. There are many excellent ideas concerned, for example, with clarity of curriculum and validation, the length and nature of courses and routes into the profession. These will be hammered out over the next year or so.

I will push for more exchange between education and practice, and I keenly support the current ‘Vice President’s Initiative’ on Practice Based Education.