A View of the Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ) on the
"UIA Accord on Recommended International Standards of Professionalism in Architectural Practice (April 1998)"
and an attached document
"Recommended Guidelines for the Accord Policy on Accreditation/Validation/Recognition (April 1998)"

October 12, 1998

Toshio Ojima
Architectural Institute of Japan

1. Introduction

The Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ) constantly pays profound respect to the UIA for its continued contribution to the development of the architectural profession in the world.

As the president of AIJ, which comprises those concerned with architectural education, architects, and engineers concerned with architecture, I would like to express our opinion on the "UIA Accord" and Guidelines. We hope that the UIA fully understands our requests and appropriately deals with them by thoroughly examining our proposals, to develop the architectural profession the world over and to ensure and enrich the diversity of future architectural education.

AIJ has just begun to investigate reform of architectural education, including the formulation of a realistic and effective accreditation system, in association with the Japan Institute of Architects, Japan Federation of Architects and Building Engineers Associations, and other organizations. We would like to enrich Japan's architectural education and narrow the international gaps between individual educational systems. To this end, we hope that sufficient flexibility is ensured in the contents of the UIA Accord so that a wider variety of choices can be ensured for our educational reform.

The goals of our proposals are as follows:

1.1 We would like to contribute to the cooperation between architects and related professions, as well as to the development of the architectural profession. The UIA Accord policies on the architectural education and accreditation are intended to enrich architectural education, but can conversely make the educational framework uniform. As a result, they could fix the concept and scope of the work of architects in narrow areas. We would insist that the framework be more flexible to ensure a large latitude for various possibilities of architectural education.

1.2 Sufficient attention should be paid to the effectiveness of architectural education provided in a wider framework including structural engineering, building equipment engineering, etc., as is the case in the Japanese system. Also, the possibilities of joint programs between architectural education and related fields should be ensured in various ways. We are of the opinion that a greater diversity of architectural education will contribute to the development of architectural practice and technology in the world.

2. Items requested to be modified

2.1 To acknowledge the significance of joint programs between architectural design education and education in related fields (structural engineering, building construction, building equipment engineering, etc.) and of comprehensive architectural education including all the fields concerned with architecture.

2.2 To clearly express that the formulation of an accreditation system that suits local situation is permitted, as there are wide international differences of architectural education and its social conditions, though the appendix "Recommended Guidelines for the Accord Policy on Accreditation/Validation/Recognition (April 1998)" are stated "non-binding."

3. Specific modification proposals

3.1 Insert the underlined phrase in the policy of the "Fundamental Requirements of an Architect" under the "Policy Issues":

The UIA will also seek to ensure in association with architects and related professions that the fundamental requirements will be constantly kept under review so that they remain relevant as the architectural profession and society evolve.

3.2 Insert the following between the policy issues "Education" and "Accreditation/Validation/Recognition":

Joint program and comprehensive architectural program

The UIA acknowledges the significance of joint programs in which students study architectural programs centering on architectural design together with programs in related fields at an early stage of education to deepen their understanding of individual fields and by which the students can proceed along respective fields according to their aptitude. The UIA also acknowledges the significance of more comprehensive architectural education programs in which a wider range of education concerning architecture and architectural engineering is provided and by which students can select courses as they proceed with their learning according to their individual aptitude. The UIA affirms education of architects in this framework.

Various attempts have been made in some countries, acknowledging the possibilities of joint programs between architectural education and education in related fields. Also, the main stream of architectural education is in some countries carried out as part of engineering education in departments of engineering in the framework of comprehensive education including engineering.

The UIA attaches importance to cultural and historical aspects of architecture and architectural education and considers local traditions of architectural education. In order to ensure flexibility of architectural education as well, the UIA acknowledges the significance and possibilities of joint programs with related fields and more comprehensive programs including engineering as potential courses of development in future architectural education in various countries.

3.3 Insert the following at the end of the policy of the "Accreditation/Validation/Recognition" under the "Policy Issues":

It should be noted that in the case of joint programs and more comprehensive architectural education programs, the UIA permits methods of accreditation/validation/recognition that suit the local situation in regard to the intervals, organization, content, etc., even when the accreditation/validation/recognition is carried out by an independent organization.

4. Reasons for modification requests

4.1 We proposed 3.1 and 3.2 above to contribute to the development of the architectural profession by making flexible the framework of educational systems for architects, as well as to form close links with other professions related to architecture.

The proposal was also made to ensure possibilities of and not to restrain the efforts for a more flexible reform of educational systems, including the formulation of an architectural (design) education program by linking undergraduate joint programs or more comprehensive educational programs (4 years) and professional specialization education at graduate schools (2 years), which is one of the most realistic and highly feasible reform of Japanese architectural education.

4.2 3.3 above was proposed to make the implementation of the accreditation system efficient and smooth, as well as to enlarge the latitude for the creativity and ideas of those concerned with education.

4.3 In Japan, two national validation systems are in practice by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Construction, but there has been no experience of private professional accreditation. In order to realize private accreditation in Japan, it is necessary to form consensus for professional systems in Japan and coordinate with the national systems. To this end, it is necessary to ensure a wide variety of choices for formulating a new accreditation system, while allowing for flexible approaches.

5. Background--Current situation of architectural education in Japan

5.1 Most departments of architecture in Japanese universities are included in faculties concerned with engineering, where education of structural engineering and building equipment engineering related to architecture is unified with education of architectural design.

5.2 Also, most architectural departments and departments related to architecture have graduate schools, where many students proceed, eventually receiving education for six or more years.

5.3 Currently, students receive comprehensive education during the four undergraduate years, while choosing the fields they will specialize in taking account of their aptitudes. This system of four-year undergraduate education is on the whole functioning appropriately and ought to be maintained as long as the undergraduate education at architecture and architecture-related departments of Japanese universities address the examination for the First-class Kenchikushi.

5.4 On the other hand, graduate schools are allowed to provide highly professional education in addition to training of researchers. There is also a movement for restructuring the graduate school education into professional education. In many instances such education conforms to international standards. The conditions for establishing a system have been fulfilled, in which multiple professional education programs including architectural design are incorporated.

5.5 In Japan, professional and educational systems for both architectural and engineering fields are currently changing, and investigation of these subjects is under way from an international standpoint as well.

5.6 The engineering field also explores the establishment of a professional engineer system and a system for the accreditation of such engineers. An accreditation system in the framework of comprehensive architectural education should be formulated in line with this movement.

5.7 Departments of architecture and departments related to architecture of Japanese universities have been validated separately by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Construction. If they are further subject to accreditation for separate professions, such as architecture, structural engineering and building equipment engineering, this can be too heavy a burden on such educational institutions.

5.8 It is unrealistic to apply the accreditation guidelines of the UIA intended for the specific field of architectural design education based on small classes to architectural departments of Japanese universities, most of which are in charge of a large number of students.

5.9 There are a number of departments with similar names and functions to architectural departments, such as departments of residence. It is not desirable to excessively restrict free development of such educational units.

5.10 To alter the content of the accreditation by strengthening the examination of individual graduates may be another choice.

5.11 Accordingly, when formulating a new accreditation system in Japan, a system specific to Japan will inevitably be selected from a number of possibilities.

6. Description of AIJ

See the attached Constitution and other references for details of AIJ. The following is additional information concerning the institute:

6.1 AIJ is an organization founded in 1886 with the aim of promoting science, technology, and art pertaining to architecture.

6.2 AIJ is a non-profit association comprising teachers of nearly all the faculties of architecture and architecture-related departments of Japanese universities, as well as researchers in architecture and architecture-related fields, architects, architecture-related engineers, planners, and public officials. Its members total 38,000.

6.3 AIJ represents the opinions of all its members. At the same time, it is the only institution that can represent the opinion of all the architecture and architecture-related educational institutions in Japan.

6.4 AIJ includes the Council of Educators of Architecture and Building Science consisting of 156 members representing 156 educational institutions of a university level related to architecture. It discusses architectural education issues.

6.5 AIJ organizes special committees on education and qualification systems, whose discussions involve the representatives of AIJ as well as those of Japan Federation of Architects and Building Engineers Associations, and Japan Federation of Architect Office Associations, Japan Institute of Architects, the Building Contractors Society, Japan Structural Consultants Association and Japan Building Mechanical and Electrical Engineers Association.

Note: The characters of these organizations are explained as follows:

Japan Federation of Architects and Building Engineers Associations
Founded in 1952. Total membership: 142,000
The federation consists of 47 prefectural associations. The membership of each association is limited to Kenchikushi (registered architects and/or building engineers under the Kenchikushi Law). The number of the First-class Kenchikushi is 272,000.

Japan Federation of Architect Office Associations
Founded in 1962. Total membership: 21,000
The federation consists of 47 prefectural associations. The membership of each association is limited to Kenchikushi offices and design divisions of contractors registered under the Kenchikushi Law.

Japan Institute of Architects
Founded in 1952, reorganized in 1987. Membership: 6,300
The membership is limited to free and independent architects.

Building Contractors Society
Founded in 1911. Membership: 85 general contractors
The society is composed of major construction contractors.

Japan Structural Consultants Association
Founded in 1981. Membership: 3,600
The membership is limited to qualified structural engineers.

Japan Building Mechanical and Electrical Engineers Association
Founded in 1989. Membership: 19,000
The membership is limited to qualified building, mechanical, and electrical engineers.

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