Architecture’s Afterlife: The multi-sector impact of an architectural qualification is a pan-European study intended to identify the multi-sector impact of an architecture degree and the extent to which skills taught to architecture students are needed in other sectors. Awarded in 2019 by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme, the study seeks an answer for why on average, 40% of European architecture graduates choose to work in the creative and cultural professions other than architecture. Practicing architects and students of architecture are eager for new paths forward, looking beyond the arbitrary limits of the profession to address systemic crises such as global warming, human displacement, and pandemics. And for many, leaving the construction industry at this time offers an opportunity to apply architectural training in new and resourceful ways, to both question the conventional notion of practice, and to find new careers and new sectors where architectural expertise is welcomed and valued. Trained to synthesize complexity, architects can prove to be fundamental players in designing solutions to systemic crises. The current state of emergency has prompted new discussions on the fluid boundaries of our discipline – its autonomy vis-à-vis its trans-displinarity – often favoring a broad understanding of the architect’s role “as integrator, professional generalist, and practical idealist” as Rachel Armstrong has recently put it. Subject to discussion since antiquities, a new definition of the architect’s expertise is desperately needed. The question of how easy it is to change career paths and sectors comes down to how transposable an individual’s skills – and not just their qualifications – really are. The answer lies in another dimension to the study: skills mapping. It stands to reason that if architects are leaving architecture in order to become professionals in other sectors, it’s because they are proving to be desirable hires for employers. The study seeks to define which of the skills that architects learn in school are most appealing to other sectors, since this will indicate not only the skills shortages in other sectors, but also the most valuable dimensions of architectural education.
Professor Harriet Harriss (RIBA, PFHEA, Ph.D.) is a qualified architect and Dean of the Pratt School of Architecture in Brooklyn, New York. Her teaching, research and writing focus upon pioneering new pedagogic models for design education, as captured in Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education & the British Tradition, and for widening participation in architecture to ensure it remains as diverse as the society it seeks to serve, a subject she interrogates in her book, A Gendered Profession. Professor Harriss has won various awards for teaching excellence including a Brookes Teaching Fellowship, a Higher Education Academy Internationalisation Award, a Churchill Fellowship, and two Santander awards. Before joining the RCA, she led the MArchD in Architecture at Oxford Brookes and was appointed a Principal Lecturer of Student Experience. Professor Harriss was awarded a Clore Fellowship for cultural leadership (2016-17) and elected to the European Association of Architectural Educators Council in summer 2017. Professor Harriss’ public consultancy roles include writing national construction curriculum for the UK government’s Department for Education and international program validations and pedagogy design and development. Across both academe and industry, Professor Harriss has spoken across a range of media channels (from the BBC to TEDx) on the wider issues facing the built environment, is a recognized advocate for design education and was nominated by Dezeen as a champion for women in architecture and design in 2019.
Dr Michela Barosio is a full time researcher and assistant professor at the Department of Architecture and Design of the Politecnico di Torino. During 2018/19 she coordinated the reform of the Bachelor program in architecture at Politecnico. As a researcher and aggregate professor of the Department DAD, Michela is a chartered architect holding a Phd in Architecture and Building Design. She teaches both in undergraduate and in master program of Architecture in multidisciplinary Design Units. Her research is focused on three main axis: architectural education methods, shared design of public spaces and urban regeneration of industrial dismantled areas. She has been engaged in many national and international research programs such as “Architecture- Market-Democracy. The evaluation of architectural quality as an issue: aesthetic criteria’s in programs for housing between market and democracy” (2011-2013), or “Architecture and Places: local landscape valorisation between identity development and promotion. From ‘parish maps’ to ‘territorial brands’ ” (2010-2012). She actively participates in the EAAE education academy workshops since 2016.
Dr Carla Sentieri, research director of design projects department in Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, senior lecturer and coordinator of the Innovation Group ICApA (Innovation and Quality on Architectural Design Projects and Process) has collaborated in different UPV innovation projects related to development and increasing of transversal competences and skills. She was UPV coordinator at OIKONET, a global multidisciplinary network on housing research and learning (2014-2017). She has been involved in EAAE since 2016 and participated in different workshops and research with students of architecture and architects. The focus of her projects, research and teaching aligns around the architecture of educational, housing and public spaces. Her practice is developed in Sentieri architects studio, she has won numerous awards in architectural competitions. She has held public and guest lectures and critics, acted as jury member in student and professional design competitions and participated in public debates. Currently she is the director of “a Thesis: The architecture of the future from teaching today” and aims to diagnose the teaching of architecture from the perspective of Teaching for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, as defined by the United Nations.