Research carried out by Rob Cowdroy for the Board of Architectural Education of NSW and the Association of Consulting Architects of NSW, published in 1990 identified issues related to the fitness of graduates for practice. He concluded that higher and more-consistent skills at entry are required in Architectural Practice, Technical Draughting, Graphic Presentation, and Construction and that there was no consensus between graduates, practitioners or employers and the schools of architecture as to the skills required of a recent graduate. The School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Newcastle has sought to address these issues through it’s Integrated Problem Based Learning (IPBL) pedagogy. This approach, in many respects, emulates the processes of professional practice which integrates skills and knowledge across a number of architecture disciplines. It also provides students and graduates with an ability to solve real world problems and is therefore aligned closely to the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Education Policy, 2000 which provides, in part, that "Architectural Education should be directed toward the development of vigorous, adaptive minds capable of accommodating change. The focus should be on core capabilities of creative thinking and design integration – an understanding of the process of problem solving – and away from the product focus and encyclopaedic learning of information." This paper examines the issues of preparing graduates for future practice, the problems of defining what an architect does and what skills may be required of graduates as they first enter employment and what mechanisms are available for evaluation of the achievement of those skills.
2nd International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia. Design + Research: Project Based Research in Architecture: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia (Melbourne 28-30 September, 2003)