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Architectural Education Provision in Ireland

HEA and RIAI study on architectural education provision in Ireland.
In September 2004, the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI), the representative body for professionally qualified architects in Ireland, approached the HEA to discuss what it saw as the very rapid growth in the numbers of higher education institutions who appeared to be considering the introduction of a course leading to professional qualification as an architect.

The RIAI was concerned that the development of new courses might impact on the quality of architectural education and wished to discuss an approach with the HEA to manage this process.

In considering the development of new architects' courses, it was agreed with the RIAI that, from a system perspective, three elements were essential, i.e. the level of student demand, the level of employer/economic demand and finally, the capacity of individual colleges to offer quality courses, which would be coherent with other provision in the sector.

It was also noted that the principle of autonomy should be safeguarded, while maintaining respect for both the overarching need for the sector as a whole to respond to national needs, and the need to maximise the effectiveness of public funds. In this context, it was noted that the first duty in regard to the development of new programmes must lie with individual institutions, which would need to consider the issues of student demand, national needs and their own capability to offer a distinctive and high quality course in the area of consideration.

It was agreed with the RIAI that an international expert would be jointly commissioned to assist in this process. Building on the quantitative review of numbers required in Ireland, the expert would consider the changing roles of the architect going forward, and make recommendations as to how any new higher education courses should be developed as a means to best support those needs.

Prof. John Worthington, was commissioned to prepare the discussion paper. Prof. Worthington was a founder of DEGW (a distinguished international architectural consultancy group) and holds professorships in architecture at the University of Sheffield and Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg. He has extensive international knowledge and experience.

This study, entitled ‘A Future for Architectural Education in Ireland,’ has now been completed and the relevant institutions have submitted their feedback and comments. These comments have been taken into account and the RIAI has produced a contextual preamble to Professor Worthington’s paper. The final report is available for download below:

A Future for Architectural Education in Ireland

Since the completion of the HEA/RIAI report in 2005, three higher education institutions have sought approval for the development and implementation of new or upgraded architectural education programmes. Copies of the reports from these review processes are available below:

Architectural education Panel Report UCC-CIT

Architectural education Panel Report WIT

Architectural education Panel Report IT Sligo


During the most recent of these processes, the review of the IT Sligo proposal in July 2008, the review panel recommended that the HEA should not consider any further applications for the approval of the development and implementation of new or upgraded architectural education programmes until 2010. The Authority accepted the report and its recommendations at their meeting in July 2008.


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