Support Annual Review

/ Brian Park / Creative Workspace

The Part 3 exams giving entry to to the profession have just happened. For any architect, they will remember it as a tough threshold to cross - the point at which one emerges from being a student of architecture and becomes legally entitled to carry the title of Architect.

The first years of any architectural education focus on learning how to design, the latter half how to put that into practice. Learning how to be an architect and learning to run a viable architectural business are actually similar learning processes. The difference is that for students of architecture, there is an external support network, whereas in business that support network is, to a large extent, self-generated and self-supporting.

The student of architecture sitting Part 3 is required to become a jack of all trades, to know a little about everything, from winning the project, managing it, ensuring that it pays for itself, meeting auditable requirements and supporting it with office accommodation, technology and processes. This role, to a large extent, continues in practice - however, the activity becomes real rather than theoretical.

Other than in exceptional circumstances, the ability of one person to carry out all these activities in practice is beyond comprehension, Any office needs to construct some sort of shared model of responsibilities. In the office environment a shift takes place in accepting that as architects we can't do everything. What is best is that we do what we are good at. This requires us to model a collaborative framework, ideally volunteering for roles that suit personal skills and energise us through achievement..

Essentially it becomes about how individuals as members of the office team create the shared support structure that ultimately supports themselves as an individual - whether finance, business development, property, resourcing, IT or administration. The result, curiously, is the antithesis of what we all learn for Part 3. Yes, you have to be aware of the big picture but accept you can only contribute in lots of little steps towards that bigger whole.

For those sitting the Part 3, that is in the future. So a big welcome to the profession to Marianne Keating from our office who has just passed her Part 3 exam - an exciting but different future is guaranteed!