From NCARB, These Are the Trends Shaping Architectural Licensure

09/17/2019 By Valerie Dennis Craven

A group of architects, emerging technologies experts and architectural licensing board members have identified several trends that are shaping the future of architectural practice.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is sharing insights from its Futures Collaborative group, established in 2017 to look at challenges and opportunities facing the profession and the path to licensure.

The group will evaluate and update programs to reflect modern practice, explains Kristine Annexstad Harding, 2016-2017 NCARB president and Futures Collaborative Chair. “We can’t do this effectively without understanding the complex and evolving relationship between technology and practice.”

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Based on findings, the Futures Collaborative group has identified three technologies that it believes will shape the future of architectural practice and licensure. The technologies that will have the greatest impact on the profession in the years to come are:

  • Generative Design: This software – where users input project goals and quickly evaluate solutions—is changing the design process, the group found.
  • Computational Analysis: With this technology, design solutions can be tested in a virtual environment for various performance factors before physical work begins.
  • Automation: Code compliance is being automated through Building Information Modeling.

With the technologies, Annexstad Harding explains, potential design solutions can be conceived, assessed and optimized in a very small amount of time. “For architects this means we can advance our value proposition from ‘this is a good design solution for your needs’ to ‘this is the best possible solution for your needs based on your priorities’ and back that statement up with data,” she says.

For two years, members met with people in the architecture, engineering and construction field who are using new technology, data analytics tools and design solutions. Through these conversations, the Futures Collaborative is working to understand the trends that affect how NCARB and its members facilitate the licensing and credentialing of architects. This information could also guide NCARB education, examination and certification programs.

“As an organization, we need to understand how technology is impacting the practice of architecture, what this means for regulators who protect the public, and what licensure might look like in the next five to 10 years,” Annexstad Harding says.

In the future, the group’s findings will be used to inform updates to NCARB’s education, experience, examination and certification programs.

“While we won’t ever have all of the answers, NCARB and our member boards have a duty to ensure architectural licensure keeps pace with the world around us,” NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong said in a news release. “Understanding emerging trends and influences will help us prepare for the future—whatever that may bring.”

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