Do you know how sometimes people talk about the first day of the rest of you life? Well, for me, that day was yesterday.
I came to the uk in September 1998 to complete my studies in architecture but all became tangled up. It is a bit long to explain but in essence, as I found out later, I was made to study many more years than I should have.
In Europe, or at least in Spain, the legal and planning framework, budgeting, eurocodes and urban planing are weaved in within the years of university, implicitly and explicitly. In the UK, on the other hand, maybe due to the amount of overseas students who come, study and leave, non of it is part of the curriculum. Instead, they have chosen to postpone any exposure to those way beyond the end of your degrees.
As such, one completes a first degree, works a year to gain experience, takes a second degree, works for two years and then, one needs to decide whether or not to register.
If you are to return to your country of origin, obviously subject to country to country or European agreements, after your second degree you are an architect and can practice on your own. In the UK, the one country where it is actually not necessary to be or to contract an architect in order to design or to build, on the other hand, you are not allowed to use the tittle until you take your professional examination and register.
Generally, people try to go for it, and if they have gained relevant experience, they take a further course (professional studies) before they sit their professional exam.
In my case, my working demands have been such that my job has not allowed me the time off to even consider taking the course and sitting the exam. It has, admittedly been rather annoying to explain for years why i was defined as a project runner, if my role would have been that of an architect. Based on my skills , seniority and the work I was doing ( I am rather demanding with the quality of my work) people could not understand the logic behind all of this but, the way I saw it was; those are the rules, cant worry about them, lets get on with it and do a good job.
A few weeks ago though, the project I have worked on for the past… six years, a multi million regeneration scheme in the east of London, was completed, just on time to receive the papers that were handed over to those getting ready to take the exam in autumn.
Wrote an abstract case study, sat the written exam, sweated through a rather tough interview and yesterday , i received the confirmation that I can now register and, if I ever wanted, “call my self architect”… However, i think, I’d still quite like to continue to be called Cristina “the little helper” (of my lovely and brilliant team).