South Africa is currently experiencing a shortage of Professional Architects (Pr.Arch) required to deal with the building needs of the country.
The current SACAP accredited Schools of Architecture have limited enrolment capacities at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and at some of these institutions there are fewer positions available into the post-graduate programmes than are being graduated at under-graduate level. This is resulting in a bottle-neck of students forced to remain in practice until a place possibly becomes available at an academic institution.
There are also many Senior Professional Architectural Technologists who are eligible to progress to a Masters level in education with the aim of achieving Professional Architect status. Most are unable to return to full-time study due to life commitments and those that can study full-time, often find it difficult to gain admission into an academic institution, constrained by student intake restrictions.
Current statistics reveal that the bulk of previously disadvantaged persons in the field of Architecture are registered at Draughtsperson, Technologist or Senior Technologist levels. In many cases it is affordability that precludes advancement of qualifications and it is impossible for these students to give up their employment to continue their studies. In some cases there is little recognition for their previous architectural qualifications and access to post-graduate education is almost impossible.
OpenArchitecture aims to offer a universally recognised alternative to main-stream graduate and post-graduate architecture education. It is provided in the form of a synthesis of online and office-based quality architecture education, supported by strategic intensive face to face block release engagements, offered to employed architectural persons currently registered with SACAP who are seeking to further their education and skills, and to enable them through graduation, to gain entrance to the Council's examination at the level of Senior Architectural Technologist and Professional Architect.
It seeks to address the log-jam of architectural graduates who wish to further their studies to become Senior Architectural Technologists and Professional Architects. The model aims at portability – easy access via the internet from the office of a registered architectural practice under the guidance of a SACAP registered architectural practitioner. It also offers access to students situated away from the major centres where there is limited access to traditional universities.