Mentorship #Architalks #27

This post is part of the ArchiTalks series where a group of us (architects who also blog) all post on the same day and promote each other’s blogs. The Topic ‘Leader’ for this post ‘Mentorship’ is Michael Lavalley…


Writing these posts as an Irish architect (originally from the UK) with a predominantly US based readership gives me the opportunity to showcase the differences between the European architectural systems and their US cousins.

As well as the comparative study & experience routes (for European readers HERE is a blog post that explains the US system).


THIS LINK by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) explains the study/experience route and how you become an architect in Ireland

Generally, it’s a 4 or 5 year honours degree/masters course followed by 2 years mentored practical experience (hey, there’s the mentoring word) followed by your Part III ‘Architect’ exam.


THIS LINK on the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) explains the standard study/experience route in the UK

Again generally it’s a 3 year degree followed by a year practical experience, followed by a 2 year Masters followed by a another years Practical Experience followed by your Part III ‘Architect’ exam. And again the two years Practical experience is ‘mentored’ (hey there it is again).

Note there is actually no ‘Part 3’, or Parts 1 and 2 in Ireland – the three-part system is exclusive to the RIBA. Although nearly everybody still uses these terms!

So you can see in the period of the 7 years minimum to become an architect – 2 years are mentored. So already we can see that mentorship is critical in becoming an architect when you take this route.

But there are also other routes to become an architect in Ireland and both of these also include extensive (more so) mentoring:


Those who have at least seven years practical experience of performing duties commensurate with those of an architect in the State, are at least 35 years of age and have passed a prescribed register admission examination may sit the Architects Register Admission Examination (ARAE) which is provided by ARAE Ltd, a University College Dublin campus company.

The ARAE is an examination for practitioners who have gained seven years of experience at any given time. Since 2012 the cost of the ARAE was lowered to €8,500 ($9,588.23 or £7,406.36). The AAoI submitted to the Joint Committee that this is unaffordable for the large majority of self-taught architects due to the cost of the examination and the loss of income associated with it. AAoI believe that since 2009, only 30 architects approximately out of ̳many hundreds‘ of potential applicants have successfully completed the ARAE examination.

You can READ MORE about this ARAE route from the source document on the ‘REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE TITLE OF ARCHITECT’ from the Houses of the Oireachtas.

I have heard arguments from both sides regarding this route; it’s too expensive (work out how much it cost me to do 5 years education in comparison) to it’s too easy – personally I don’t think it is if only 30 have qualified out of hundreds taking this route.

I was asked recently to provide mentoring to someone going down this ARAE route; after a lot of soul searching and contemplation I decided to assist – I’ll let you know how it goes…

UK – The RIBA Studio Route

I didn’t realise this but you can also take a route to becoming an architect in the UK through mentoring which ‘lies outside of conventional patterns of full-time university level education combined with periods in practice’. You can read more about this route (called The RIBA Studio Route) HERE

Comparing prices; the RIBA Studio Route is £2,468.55 per year, so for a minimum of 6 years the cost would be £14,811.30 (approx €16,923.58 or $19,063.61). So to those in Ireland complaining about the cost, compare to the UK which is substantially more expensive!

To read how the other ‘blogging architects’ have interpreted this theme click the links below – I’ve posted mine early due to time differences and I’ll update this list as they come on line:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
This is NOT Mentorship

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: Mentorship

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Mentors, Millennials and the Boomer Cliff

Mark R. LePage – EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
ArchiTalks: Mentorship

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
teach them the way they should go: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Bad Mentor, Good Mentor

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
The Top 3 Benefits for Architects to Mentor and to be Mentored

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
I’ve got a lot to learn

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Gurus, Swamis, and Other Architectural Guides

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
The Lonely Mentor

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Advice From My Mentor

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Mentoring with Anecdotes vs. Creating a Culture of Trust

Samantha R. Markham – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Why every Aspiring Architect needs SCARs

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Mentorship : mend or end ?

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Mentor5hip is…

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
My Mentor

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
5 Mentors that are in my life

Gabriela Baierle-Atwood – Gabriela Baierle-Atwood (@gabrielabaierle)
On Mentorship

Ilaria Marani – Creative Aptitude (@creaptitude)

17 thoughts on “Mentorship #Architalks #27

  1. An interesting read Mark. Thanks for posting the link to the Oireachtas report which I had not seen before. Thumbs up to you for taking on the Mentorship role for the ARAE candidate. Indeed it is by no means an easy route as I made a Stage 1 submission in 2016 and did’nt get through. I find it hard to believe that only 30 people have successfully achieved registration through this route since 2009 as that works out at just under 4 per year. I think that the bar has been set quite high in both the Technical Assessment and the ARAE route. It would be interesting to get your comments on ARAE as you mentor the candidate, so looking forward to your posts.

    1. Hi Patrick

      Many thanks, I think the bar needs to be set high. There are lot of architects wanting it to be practically impossible!



    1. Hi Jonathan Many thanks for the comment; many architects here disapprove of the Irish system where you can become qualified without any formal education


  2. Very interesting.
    To become architect in Italy
    I did:
    – an entrance examination to get to university
    – 5 years of Academic training at the faculty of architecture in Genoa “laurea magistrale in architettura”(Master’s of Science in Architecture) followed by
    – Graduation thesis to get the Magister’s Degree in Architecture and the title of “Doctor in Architecture”
    – State Examination to became Licensed Architect. I could do it right after the academic qualification no professional experience nor any complementary professional training was required.
    – Registration on a provincial register of the CNAPPC ( to get the architect’s stamp and actually be able to sign designs.
    – Continued training is compulsory since 1st January 2014 (60 credits any 3 years)

    I think that compulsory mentored professional experience (of at lest 2 years) should be added in order to practice.

    1. That’s really interesting – UK and Ireland need that Practical Experience of minimum 2 years – the CPD requirement (Ireland) is 40 hours per year – 20 structured (where you need certificates) and 20 hours unstructured (research etc,,,)


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