Harvard Grad School Tackles Architect Shortage

March 19, 2008 · by DesignIntelligence

RMJM, an international architecture firm with U.S. headquarters in New York City, and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design have launch a $2 million program aimed at stemming the global shortage of architects.

Despite the current building boom, many recent architecture and engineering school graduates are choosing to pursue lucrative careers in high-tech management consulting, according to the Society for Marketing Professional Services, a nonprofit trade association serving the architecture, engineering, and construction industry.

"Our contact with former students reveals that very many qualified graduates do not actually go into the profession," said Spiro N. Pollalis, a Harvard professor of design technology and management. "This may be indicative of a wider trend elsewhere. We have particularly noted an increase in the number of graduates who instead pursue careers in investment banking and management consultancy."

The RMJM Program for Research and Education in Integrated Design Practice will be established with a $1.5 million donation from RMJM and $500,000 from the Harvard GSD. The program aims to encourage more architects to enter the profession by training them to integrate business management principles and knowledge of advanced technologies with design skills to improve project delivery, client satisfaction, and bottom-line results.

"The future of the industry hinges on architects' ability to regain control of the design and construction process," said RMJM Chief Executive Peter Morrison. "We passionately believe that tomorrow's super-designer will be as equally adept and sophisticated commercially and economically as he or she is architecturally."

RMJM's gift will support advanced student and faculty research, the development of case studies an curricula, and the dissemination of resesarch findings.

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