Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You've got 6 months...

So, in two days, NCARB begins its vaunted 6 month rule. The short of it, every six months you should file IDP hours. Anything falling outside that 6 month block? It gets left behind.

In principle, I get it. NCARB is trying to prevent what many interns have done...wait. Wait until the last possible moment to file their experience, which, done in a rush, is probably inaccurate. After all, can you really tell me everything you've done over the course of one year? And what category it falls under, and how many hours really apply?

But, to he honest, I'm frustrated, annoyed, verging on angry that NCARB has decided to pursue IDP in this manner. Why? Well, though it is great that you want us to get in our hours in a timely and more accurate manner, the 6 month rule does not, in any substantial way, ensure that I complete IDP in a timely manner.

If NCARB can require us, as interns, to show competency in specific knowledge areas, they it should also provide a more substantial method for ensuring that we can, in fact, get that experience. For instance, I have approximately 5 times the amount of hours needed for Schematic Design. But, because of where I worked, and how they executed projects, I am far from completing Construction Document hours, though much of what I was counting for Schematic design would, if our firm was structured differently, fall under Construction Document hours. So what choice did I have? I had to leave a job that I quite good at, since I wanted to get licensed sometime within the next decade.

Effectively, the onus is on us interns to get through it. If our offices do not have the projects that can provide us the range of experience we need, then we must wait or move on. If we have been sidelined, we are supposed to demand change. Otherwise, languish, despite the 3-year limit on your NCARB number.

Look, I am not saying interns should be able to lie back and have the experience handed to them. But, if NCARB sees this as a crucial step towards educating responsible practitioners, then there should be a more rigorous framework that provide those experiences in a timely manner. To have a governing body say "you must" while simultaneously saying "figure it out" is, in my opinion, ridiculous and irresponsible.

Look, I agree with NCARB. The current education that architects receive does not prepare them for professional practice. But, if that is the assessment, then overhaul the system. Move towards the model of other professions, such as medicine. Extend the educational requirements and time frame, provide co-ops or standardized work experiences similar to medical residencies. Schedule the exams in stages after certain experiences have been complete, symbolizing competency and skill in that area. And then, after our education, if we specialize, we head to firms which do that work. But, if we wish to practice generally, we will have had the experience and exposure to graduate as Architects, not as interns.

Instead, we have those who have practiced for years, even decades, who are not licensed, but certainly skilled. And we have those who have completed their licensing exams, but are not truly prepared to operate on their own. We have a mess. Let's recognize that fact. And let's fix it.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moments in Hell #2

Moments in Archi-Hell #2:

Today, our client informed us that they would like to buy a sculpture piece for their living room. It is 22 feet tall and 3 feet wide. To comply with the town building's requirements, we can have 19 foot ceilings. Still, they forwarded us photos of the sculpture with the request: At some point would you tell us if there is a way we could fit it in?
CASwimmer, California

She asked me to include this:

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Introducing....Moments from Hell...

So, as you can see, going back to an office has been less than helpful on the writing end. Let's just say, going back to work is pretty much like pushing the play button on a life you had on pause. The scenery changes, but not much else.

Today, I was gchating with an old classmate, lamenting about certain horrors that have come rushing back now that I am working again. Her converstation, along with an awesome email from another classmate, has lead me to this new series on my blog - a way to kick-start things back here. So, without further ado:

Moments from Archi-hell.

Think of it as twitter updates, or shorts stories along the lines of fmylife. I'll take submissions, if readers out there have some gems they wish to share. Send them to me, with your psuedonym and location. Otherwise, I'll draw from my own archives....

Moments from Archi-Hell, #1:

Today, a client asked me to re-arrange a corner office and a server room. The new arrangement has created a windowless office and a server room with a great view.

-melis, alabama

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