ARTICLE: Uruguayan Architecture Education: racing against the clock.

It is well known that the top 10 Architecture  Universities are either in the US either in Europe, or Asia. Many would assume this means South American Universities do not reach their level. This may be true, however, that kind of thinking would mean we are not seeing the elephant in the room: time.

Education is not only about standard or quality but about  time. No matter how specific in your career you want to be, collecting degrees (and experience) is an endless route. But what if the first collectible piece is so far away it sucks in all your energy, motivation, and
more important: time?

 A couple of months ago  I finally got my architect’s degree in Montevideo. It took me 8 years of study, without missing a single year or exam, to get a Bachelor’s degree in Uruguay. I was one of the lucky ones since the overall average is about 11 years, while the world average is, according to the acsa, five years. As lucky as shocked (and demotivated I must admit) when I find out that most people that inspire my work were pursuing their PhD studies at my age.

 I recently started working as a professor assistant for the final project course, where the issue becomes even clearer. Basically the final project course is where Phd students and Bachelor students coexist. How is this even possible? Easy peasy. There is no entrance examination; eight years is a bunch of time in which student’s learning process is not precisely followed up, and (most important) there is no way you can fail a project course. Sick asymmetry is only one of the results, where overqualified and under-qualified students get their architect -Bach- degree.

My aim with this article is not to complain about the education I received (which was insanely long but decently good), but to promote any initiative to speed things up and SPECIALLY, to encourage students to start looking up for their career path and concentrate on it before getting their degree. We may still be thousands of miles away, considering a new architecture-study program will start on 2016, and guess what? This time it will take 7 years to get a Bachelor´s Architecture degree. (Hey, don´t panic, you will still have Master courses level –of every single study area- but no master degree.)

So, for those who haven’t got their degree yet, tip: find your spot. Architecture is so wide you may feel there is so much (and at the same time anything) you can do. Find your strength, focus your knowledge, push your studies towards your interests in architecture/urbanism/3d tech/design/critique/construction. Pick your thesis and final project wisely. You will be working for free, choose working for free at least for your interests.

 For those who already (and just) got their degree: well, time’s up and you won’t get it back. So please find below as consolation prize: a quick guide to do all the paper work and start working as an architect in Uruguay. Hope it will at least save you some time now.

All this was a small thought share but mostly an introduction for the little guide  : ]