SBOA Report — Fall 2015

SBOA Report — Fall 2015

JCorkill_croppedJohn F. Corkill Jr., AIA
Director, MD State Board Liaison

The State Board of Architects welcomed the report by Legal Counsel Milena Trust, Esq. that the legislature has passed the Firm Registration Law, covering Landscape Architects and Surveyors, as well as Architectural Firms. After previous legislatures had failed to pass the Firm Law when the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation sponsored it, this year private sponsors were found and the bill passed into Law. Several architects have since noted that in the DLLR “By Design” newsletter, it was stated that the separate Engineer’s Firm Law has no fee, unlike the recently-covered trio of design professional firms, who have to pay a two-year fee.

Several staff members of DLLR have been attending SBOA meetings, observing how Terry White, SBOA Secretary, serves the Board. Mr. White, whose last day before retirement will be 18 December, 2015 has seen his position approved for a replacement and with that, posting advertisements about his job’s availability. Whether one of the two staff persons doing the observing will actually apply for the job is yet unknown. Whoever attempts to fill the incumbent’s shoes will have many subtleties beyond the taking of minutes (and then the adjustments and corrections to those minutes noted by alert Board members). As the telephone voice of the Board to wannabe architects, the Secretary sets the tone for the young rising architects as they go through the registration process, so it is not simply presenting knowledge about how to get registered, but how that knowledge is imparted.

Pam Edwards, Executive Director’s job is a different one, in that there is a political aspect to the ED’s appointment, and there is no civil service guarantee of a 30 year career. The new incumbent might have a short or a long career getting to know and administer the five Design Boards, and the past years have tended toward the short career, with five ED’s serving over the past 15 years, and between each tenure, Pam, served as interim. After leaving for Florida, Pam will find it difficult to commute to Charm City to bail out DLLR.

In NCARB land, the easing of “rigor for rigor’s sake” continues, with the lot of the current group of emerging professionals having the best luck of any of their architectural colleagues for the past 30 years, since the imposition of the Intern Development Program. The Twentieth Century and early Twenty-First Century IDP, including its increasingly stiff requirements even while the administration of the program stayed so user-unfriendly, surely added to the 50% fallout of young architects from the profession between graduation and registration. Even while the IDP aspect of NCARB’s stewardship is praiseworthy, there continue to be disturbing currents flowing on K Street, DC.

Having hired futurists and other experts to prepare polls to question architects about the trajectory of our future, NCARB in its new 5.0 Architects’ Registration Examination, and in the polling NCARB is doing right now to confirm its view of our future, seems to see a future of super specialists in a fragmented  profession. To help guide the poll-taking architects, NCARB prefaces the questions with short, confident statements about the future: One of them follows (emphasis added below):

“Trends affecting Project Management

“Market Specialization: The field of architecture is becoming increasingly specialized (e.g. healthcare, preservation, education, etc.) such that architects typically no longer practice as generalists or experts in all design areas. Projects where the architect collaborates with architect consultants continue to increase providing local clients with specialized levels of service.”

NCARB knows that a large percentage of specialist architects will work for giant firms serving the “1%,” but in consigning those poor architects who don’t and who often need to be generalists to the scrapheap of history, NCARB ignores small practitioners serving the “99%.” And when the giant firms lay off thousands of architects, wouldn’t the many unemployed who set up small practices (and their clients) profit from professional awareness of buildings other than high rises and high schools?

In all of this crystal ball gazing seeing the uber architect, what about the 99%’s health and safety?

Is the Canadian ExAc registration exam with no design or tech questions the future of the ARE?


SBOA Report — Summer 2015
SBOA Report — Winter/Spring 2015