On the 18th June 2016 in Sheffield was held an ASN conference on the topic ‘Collaborating across borders’. As a result of the meeting a small manifesto was produced with regards to the topic. The ASN team wants to promote awareness and action upon the following issues:

Manifesto – fairness, flexibility, transparency, equality

  1. Issue: Loose control on the quality of the course – year duration and the intensity of Validation Boards.
  • Proposal: Course validation criteria (independent body). Incorporating year feedback from the student body – direct link between students and the RIBA Validation process.
  1. Issue: Student and staff interaction. There are existing barriers in communication.
  • Proposal: Better student involvement. Better integration between teaching and research.
  1. Issue: Staff contracts.
  • Proposal: Better transparency about teaching and research contracts. Do not separate them. Make sure that staff are available for students to talk to.
  1. Issue: Staff skill set. How to maintain quality control, staff knowledge?
  • Proposal: Pairing senior and junior academic staff.
  1. Issue: How to get students from different backgrounds to mix?
  • Proposal: Encouraging group work elements and modules within the course. Requirement to have a group work? Relating back to practice based environment.
  • Encouraging a more collaborative and less competitive school environment. Group work is hard to assess? Module breakdown between group and individual projects.
  1. Issue: Year Out Visa applications and requirement to have the work experience.
  • Proposal: There needs to be support for a recognized year out course (registered with the university) in order for architecture students to obtain a working visa. Sandwich course model. Bath model?
  1. Issue: Year out and flexibility of recording professional work
  • Proposal: PEDRs and flexibility of recording work before bachelor’s degree. PDP becomes part of the PEDR? Same format – ease of transition.
  1. Issue: Not enough communication skills being taught at university course. Standing up and presenting your work could be quite stressful and is the one point in time that everybody is in the same boat.
  • Proposal: Support for public speaking classes within the first year of education, focus on soft skills and communication.
  1. Issue: Crit model – disenfranchising students (international, language skills, quiet, shy)
  • Proposal: Familiarity with design? Scaling up of presentations (progression of numbers throughout the year). Different peer group to review you.
  1. Issue: Collaboration between universities is very limited and frankly non-existent.
  • Proposal: Introduction of an ‘exchange program’? Universal module? Bilateral agreement between different universities. Twin universities?
  1. Issue: Language requirements? (Coming to the UK, going to another university in Europe?)
  • Proposal: Universities – lower requirements should mean more support. Transparency about the level of language required. Standardised.
  1. Issue: Collaboration and knowledge exchange could be limited – lack of mentoring schemes
  • Proposal: Mentoring schemes within departments should be encouraged.
  1. Issue: Marketing and miss-selling of courses
  • Proposal: Courses need to communicate the differences between different degree programmes. Length of the degree and qualification process required. UCAS – page explaining the difference. BA, BArch, BSc
  1. Issue: Transferability of qualifications – Part 1, 2 etc. – international recognition. Less options for internationals.
  • Proposal: More internationally recognised. Disadvantages international students that do not complete the full qualification process. Explore avenues in recognising the degree.
  1. Issue: Visa – Salary requirements/ Flexible system (illness) / Northern Brain drain (international brain drain) – limiting the vibrancy of the workforce
  • Proposal: The RIBA to top-up salaries? Flexibility of visa extensions / lowering the cap of the salary requirement or having regional specific linked to average earning income? Average of an architecture salary (RIBA Salary Benchmark).
  1. Issue: Humanities are taught from a western perspective.
  • Proposal: Teach from a global perspective.
  1. Issue: PEDR starting point and requirement.
  • Proposal: Start PEDR earlier, more flexible system to complete work experience.
  1. Issue: Over-assessing student courses and visa requirements to pass first time, stress, competition
  • Proposal: Move away from over-assessing – PASS or FAIL system. Medicine model? Portfolio based model.

Quality control: What is a first from one university to another?


  1. Part 1 courses to communicate the differences in BArch BA Bsc etc. and the possible routes and outcomes from such courses especially to international students (E.g. eligibility for sandwich courses)


  1. The brand of RIBA part 1 as a qualification is not internationally recognised everywhere – instances of Thai students and EU students being qualified in some places but not in others.
  2. The global classification of BArch Bsci DipArch are not transferable, and in a global jobs market it often leaves some graduates disadvantaged.


  1. RIBA to create a fund to top up salaries of students not able to meet the salary requirements for visas
  2. FLEXABLE SYSTEM WITH VISAS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS. The Visa system doesn’t allow for re-sitting etc. which puts much more pressure on students to only pass first time. We’re not robots – it is about learning progression.
  3. Salary top-ups for the rest of the UK: With a visa requirement for a high salary it is forcing international graduates can only find work in London


  1. Humanities should teach a global viewpoint.
  2. Recognise ALL work experience earlier in a part 1 – start PEDR’s early. Helps international students get future work experience.
  3. Move away from the over assessment – it gives greater freedom of exploration, and also encourages students to pitch to their interests within the jobs market rather than seeing the pass / fail.
    1. Additionally the student mental health
    2. Makes it less competitive
    3. Develop yourself rather than compete
  4. The part 1-2-3 system doesn’t fairly reward international students who don’t fully complete the system.

The Challenges of ‘Future Cities’ For Architectural Education and UK Universities

It is time for the next ASN event – The Challenges of ‘Future Cities’ For Architectural Education and UK Universities

It will take place on 3rd of April in Anglia Ruskin University.

We would be really happy to have each school represented and take part in the discussion – what is the role of the architect today and in the ‘Future City’. The scheduled talks will address the criteria for architectural education that is needed to reflect on the challenges of the ‘Future Cities’ and faced by future practitioners.

Although it is the beginning of the Easter break we thoroughly recommend that people take this opportunity to make connections with students around the UK and see Chelmsford.

We are hoping for strong attendance.




2015 Student Degree Shows – Full Details

If you have any updates or would like to have your school added, please email info to asn@theasn.org


Kingston University

Dates 30 May – 5 June

Where Kingston University, Knights Park, Grange Road, London

Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design

Dates 26 June – 4 July

Where The Cass, Central House, London


Bartlett School of Architecture

Dates 12 – 26 June

Where Bartlett School of Architecture, 140 Hampstead Road, NW1 2BX


Royal College of Art

Dates 25 June – 5 July

Where Dyson Building, Battersea Campus, Howie Street, SW11 4AY


University of Westminster

Dates 25 June – 5 July

Where 35 Marlyebone Road, NW1 5LS


University of Greenwich

Dates 13 – 28 June

Where 11 Stockwell Street, Greenwich


Architectural Association

Dates 28 June – 18 July

Where AA, Bedford Square


Central St Martins College of Art and Design

Dates 24 – 28 June

Where The Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, N1C 4AA


Welsh School of Architecture

Dates 26 – 28 June

Where Londonnewcastle Project Space, E2 7DP


University of Newcastle

Dates 17 – 24 July

Where Dog Eared Films Studio, 25 – 28 Field Street, London


University of Cambridge

Dates 7 – 9 July

Where The Brewery, London



Mackintosh School of Architecture

Dates 13 – 20 June

Where Bourdon Building, Renfrew Street, Glasgow


Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Dates 30 May – 7 June

Where Sculpture Court, 74 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh


Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment

Dates 18 – 24 June

Where Garthdee Road, Aberdeen


University of Strathclyde

Dates 8 June – 19 June

Where Level three, James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow


University of Dundee

Dates 23 – 31 May

Where Level six, Matthew Building, University of Dundee



University of Newcastle

Dates 13 June – 10 July

Where Newcastle University



Manchester School of Architecture

Dates 13 – 24 June

Where Benzie, Chatham and Grosvenor Buildings, Manchester Metropolitan University’s All Saints Campus


Liverpool School of Art and Design

Dates 29 May – 12 June

Where 2 Duckinfield Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 5RD


Liverpool School of Architecture

Dates 26 June

Where Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, Merseyside L69 3BX


University of Central Lancashire

Dates 12 – 20 June

Where Harris and Edward Buildings, University of Central Lancashire, Preston



Sheffield School of Architecture

Dates 19 June – 31 July

Where Floors 16 & 17, Arts Tower, Sheffield


Sheffield Hallam University

Dates 13 – 26 June

Where City Centre Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield


Leeds School of Art, Architecture and Design

Dates 06 June – 12 June

Where City Campus, Leeds, LS1 3HE


Huddersfield School of Art, Design and Architecture

Dates 13 – 25 June

Where University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield



Birmingham School of Architecture

Dates 15 – 20 June

Where Parkside Building, City Centre Campus, Curzon Street, Birmingham



Leicester School of Architecture

Dates 13 – 18 June

Where De Montfort University, Mill Lane, Leicester


Nottingham Trent University

Dates 6 – 12 June

Where Arkwright building, NTU City Site, Nottingham


University of Lincoln

Dates 5 – 19 June

Where School of Architecture and Design, College of Arts, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, LN6 7TS



University of the West of England

Dates 4 June

Where Block R, Frenchay Campus, Bristol


Plymouth School of Architecture, Design and Environment

Dates 13 – 24 June

Where Floors 5 & 6, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth



Portsmouth School of Architecture

Dates 1 – 5 June

Where Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue


Kent School of Architecture

Dates 1 – 5 June

Where Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue


University of Brighton

Dates 5 – 14 June

Where Circus Street Municipal Market, Brighton, BN2 9QF


Oxford Brookes University

Dates 30 May – 10 June

Where The Glass Tank, Abercrombie Building, OX3 0BP


Canterbury School of Architecture

Dates 30 May – 12 June

Where University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury Campus



Queen’s University of Belfast

Dates 18 – 26 June

Where Architecture Studios, David Keir Building, Stranmillis Road


Belfast School of Architecture

Dates 5 – 12 June

Where Belfast School of Architecture, University of Ulster


Thanks to the Architects Journal for some of the information.

The ASN will be running a morning session at Radical Pedagogies Symposium on 4th June 2015, London, CASS School of Art!

Event's Poster

Event’s Poster

The ASN have been invited by Harriet Harris and Daisy Froud to lead a special ASN student-only morning session focussing upon generating a students manifesto for architectural education.

This is part of the one day symposium they are hosting on the launch of their new book – Radical Pedagogies: Architectural education & the British Tradition.

This manifesto will be used to inform the evening panel debate on future models. The event will be captured in pod-casts, articles, illustrations and a special edition of the Oxford School of Architecture magazine.

Date: Thursday 1st June 2015
Time: 10:30 – 13:00
Venue: CASS, 59-63 Whitechapel High St, E1 7PE London

Places are limited so please confirm your attendance by booking at the link below under the student category:

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.  Do spread the word with anyone else you’d like to invite. If you aren’t able to attend the event and would like to contribute, send us an email or tweet @The_ASN

ASN Futures Conference Programme Release

The ASN Futures Conference will take place on the 21st of February in Manchester School of Art. The focus will be on the new RIBA Education review and the future of architectural education in UK. If you would like to participate, there is still time to contact your representative or send an email to asn@theasn.org. Attached is the programme for the day. Looking forward to seeing all schools there! programme asn

The ASN: Lines Drawn Press Release 25.03.14

Download Press Release here.

ASN calls for change – students discuss the state of UK architectural education

Students seated waiting for the conference to begin.

70 Part 1, 2 and 3 students included those on their placement years across 22 schools of architecture gathered together to address and unify their voice in calling for improvements to the current pedagogy of UK’s architectural education to reflect a changing society.

The weekend conference entitled ‘Lines Drawn’ took place between 15 and 16 March and was hosted by The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in collaboration with The Architecture Students Network (ASN).

Over the course of the weekend, students were broken up into different workshops discussing the merits and pitfalls of the part 1, 2 and 3 route to qualification, aspirations of a flexible education system, the new EU directive, bridging links between academia and practice and the future of the profession and education system.

The Saturday evening saw Will Hunter, executive editor of the Architectural Review, Oliver Wainwright, architecture and design critic of the Guardian, Pam Cole, head of Portsmouth School of Architecture and Patrick Hannay, CAT tutor take part in an open panel discussion. Chaired by Vinesh Pomal, ASN representative, the panel debated the merits and pitfalls of UK’s architectural education and questioned whether the 5+0 or 4+2 was the preferred route in line with the revised EU directive.

Pam Cole put forward a proposal for an alternative route to qualification in line with the EU directive which prompted a positive response by the students.

‘You complete two years of undergraduate then at the end you decide – or your tutors decide if you are eligible – to go straight through to the masters level qualification. You can also have a placement year after the 3rd year (EU Directive requirement).

‘So 2 + 2, with a placement year after the 3rd year which in effect is 3 + 1 + 1, with only one Part 2 award, and no part 1 (but the 3 is not the Part 1 or degree equivalent). Those who want to exit with a degree would follow a different 3rd year and effectively reroute onto the 3 + 1 + 2 route.

‘The current system complies with the EU directive and we should be looking at what we want education to be within the EU’.

Whilst there was a general consensus amongst the panel and students to reduce the amount of years required for qualification, it was agreed that it should ultimately be about how competent you are in becoming an architect rather than the length required. Students acknowledged that the current route to qualification had some key merits which needed to be incorporated into any new course structure.

Students commented on the fact that ‘the current system has the flexibility to come out of Architecture if you’re not sure after three years but with easy access if you later decide you want to continue to become an architect’.

Ruth Jennings, a student from Sheffield School of Architecture said that there was a constant assumption of being an architect as the end goal, gateway into the profession and not a celebration.

Another student said ‘the course has given me a wide range of skills and the opportunity to apply myself to other aspects of life/ career paths, this is undervalued and should be realised.’

The ASN believes that the course content throughout part 1, 2 and 3 and the length needs to be re-evaluated to reflect the changing needs of the profession, especially with the rise in tuition fees and associated university costs. Students value the flexibility of the different stages and the various opportunities it gives them to diversify, specialise and develop as an individual.

Views were also expressed by students on the importance of practices playing a role in their academic and professional training. Matthew Murnin, a student from Queens University Belfast (QUB) valued the depth of practical experience part time tutors brought to his education. Discussions also lead to students wanting more emphasis on practitioners attending project crits, reviews and tutorials. Students appreciated that whilst this could dampen creativity, a degree of reality needed to be incorporated to help prepare students for practice.

Emily Partridge, a student from Cambridge and former student of CAT echoed the importance of live projects.

Live projects, which are prevalent in many schools of architecture today were seen as a positive step in engaging with the real world although the interpretation of what one was differed across the country. Projects ranged from conceptual projects working with a ‘real client’ to building pavilions and buildings for communities.

Students from the Royal College of Art in London (RCA) are currently engaging in a live project with the London Borough of Brent to design a structure next to Wembley Stadium. They commented that although it has been difficult, it’s made them appreciate and develop the other skills required in becoming an architect; most importantly teamwork.

Projects that allow creativity & imagination while being based in the reality of building and within a context is a key strength of architectural education. It allows people to develop a moral, ethical and social approach to the built environment, an ideal, that is unfortunately often not in practice, while learning how to design a building, the process of making, ’

When the students were asked what they valued most about their education, the design studio and its culture came high on the agenda. Students saw the diversity and talent of their student peers as an inspiring driving force with one-to-one tutorials seen as a good opportunity for critical dialogue and self critical analysis.

I value being taught how to develop an idea. To start a design process and being asked to think in a way that allows you to develop a finished product that has so much integrated in. I value that I am ’

However, whilst the design studio is seen as a place for critical dialogue and sharing ideas, Eleanor Grair, a student from Newcastle University felt there was a real lack of design methodology in architecture schools. Olly Wainwright expands on this.

‘It was interesting to hear how many students felt that the design process itself is so absent from the courses – not that there is a single approach that can be taught, but that the discussion of different design methodologies goes strangely unspoken, with such an emphasis on superficial presentation rather than how to make good buildings and spaces.

It really felt like momentum for change has finally reached a tipping point. I look forward to hearing what will come next and how the ARB and RIBA – and ultimately DCLG – will respond to the collective cry for radical reform. Otherwise, with such brilliant and affordable education available overseas, we risk losing our best students.’

The intense weekend of debates and discussions will be compiled into a detailed report which will be published on the ASN’s website in April. This report will be presented to the Architects Registration Board (ARB), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), The Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture (SCHOSA) and other influential bodies within the built environment to ensure the student voice is heard and addressed.


Lines Drawn 2014 Press Contacts:

Vinesh Pomal, ASN representative and co-founder asn@theasn.org
Zlatina Spasova, ASN administrator asn@theasn.org

Photos from the event can be downloaded below.

Photo Copyright – Vinesh Pomal and Zlatina Spasova

Note to editors:

– Lines Drawn 2014 was hosted by The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales in the Wise Building designed by Pat Borer and David Lea. CAT offers a unique Part 2 qualification where students learn the art of building and materiality through sustainable design. Students attend residential weeks throughout the course. The conference was a good opportunity to showcase an alternative model for a part 2 course.

– The conference was organised by: Vinesh Pomal, ASN representative and co- founder, Architect at Levitt Bernstein Associates; Zlatina Spasova, ASN administrator, Masters student at Manchester School of Architecture and Duncan Roberts, Programme Leader, Professional Diploma in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies (Part 2) at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

– The following schools of architecture were represented at the conference: Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Dublin, De Montfort, Glasgow, Huddersfield, Kent, Lincoln, Manchester, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Queens University Belfast (QUB), Ravensbourne, Royal College of Art (RCA), Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, Ulster, West of England and Westminster.

– The Architecture Students Network (ASN) is an independent network of student representatives from schools of architecture within the United Kingdom. It was established in 2011 to replace the former national student society Archaos. The aims of the network are to work to support and promote architecture student events, harness student opinion, and engage with other established, relevant educational organisations both nationally and internationally.

– The ASN works with The Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture (SCHOSA) in raising student issues and sit on the RIBA’s Equality and Diversity committee Architects for Change (AfC) committee promoting Equality and Diversity in the profession in both academia and practice.

Full quote from Olly Wainwright, architecture and design critic of the Guardian:

‘Architectural education has stagnated as an arcane, inward-looking pursuit for far too long – a situation now made all the more questionable by the exorbitant rise in fees – and at the ASN conference there was a palpable sense of urgency for change.

It was really encouraging to see such an engaged and articulate group of students coming together from such a wide range of schools to really question the value of the education they are receiving and discuss alternatives for how the current model might be adapted – particularly to make it relevant for a world in which the role of the architect has radically departed from the 1950s, when the three-part system of architectural education was first established.

It seemed there was a general consensus that the length of the course could be considerably compressed, with many frustrated by the amount of wasted and misdirected time, along with a feeling that they were graduating without the necessary skills to be useful in practice. It was interesting to hear how many students felt that the design process itself is so absent from the courses – not that there is a single approach that can be taught, but that the discussion of different design methodologies goes strangely unspoken, with such an emphasis on superficial presentation rather than how to make good buildings and spaces.

It really felt like momentum for change has finally reached a tipping point. I look forward to hearing what will come next and how the ARB and RIBA – and ultimately DCLG – will respond to the collective cry for radical reform. Otherwise, with such brilliant and affordable education available overseas, we risk losing our best students.’

2014 RIBA Aedas Stephen Williams Scholarship

Hayley Russell, Education Projects Coordinator, has provided us with the following information to share with you:
The RIBA is calling for applications for the RIBA Aedas Stephen Williams Scholarship 2014.
The scholarship provides £5,000 to support one student for a period of postgraduate study lasting up to 12 months in the UK or abroad. Aedas will appoint a mentor to the student throughout the period of their scholarship. This year, the remit of the scholarship has been widened to welcome applications from students who will be entering their first year of Part 2, in addition to second year Part 2 students.
Applicants must:
  • have graduated from a Part 1 programme validated by the RIBA in the UK
At the time of application, students must either:
  • be enrolled in, or have been granted a placement offer for, an RIBA-validated Part 2 professional qualification in the UK or abroad
  • be enrolled, or have been granted a placement offer, in a Masters course (non-RIBA Part 2) related to architecture, at a university department that also offers courses validated by the RIBA in the UK or abroad
The RIBA Aedas Stephen Williams Scholarship was established in 2008 thanks to the generous support of Aedas Architects and is offered in memory of Stephen Williams, a past Director of Aedas. The scholarship, named in Stephen Williams’s honour, serves as an appreciation of his tireless devotion to the profession. Stephen was a strong advocate for good design and thoughtful consideration of the built environment. Always committed to promoting education and further knowledge, the award serves to continue his legacy.
The deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 9 June 2014. For more information, visit www.architecture.com/aedasscholarship
Students should contact Hayley Russell (hayley.russell@riba.org 020 7307 3678020 7307 3678020 7307 3678020 7307 3678) for help with their applications.