May 14: Bring in the Suits!

2016/05/14 § Leave a comment

During this month in 1919 architects from thirteen states joined forces at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Architects to form an organization to standardize the practice of architecture.

That group became the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the supergroup of administrivia in architecture.  NCARB administers the Architect Registration Examination and the Internship Development Program (although the word “intern” is apparently ooky and on the way out [not that any clear designation has been proposed to replace it] [and certainly not the reasonable but hopelessly old-fashioned-sounding ‘apprentice’ even though that is totally what we are talking about] they’re still advertising IDP all over their website), applying the model of standardized testing and one-size-fits-all guidelines in their concern for the “health, safety and welfare” of the public.  That is not a bad trio of concerns, but it certainly is a far cry from the Vitruvian triumvirate for architectural judgement: soundness, utility, and delight.  But thank goodness for testing, and evaluation, and assessment, and licensure, and certificates, and red tape, and all the stamp-wielding poobahs who oversee the process and rake in the fees, payments and other tolls that graduates must pay as they negotiate the  superhighway of architecture practice.  Before NCARB,  the world of architecture was run by unlicensed dopes like the uncredentialed novices who made this and this and this and this and this and need we go on?

Image: reenactment of the meeting in Nashville.  White man with cigar says: “More paperwork!  More regulation!  More file cabinets!  That’s what we need to make this a real profession, by gum!”  White man with white pocket square says: “Darn tootin!  Hey, who let in that dame?  Is she here to bring in coffee or scotch?”  White man perching on desk says: “She was the valedictorian of my graduating class at Berkely and intends to sit for the licensure exam” to which all the men say: “har! har! har!”

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You are currently reading May 14: Bring in the Suits! at Clio’s Calendar: Daily Musings on Architectural History.

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