Architecture Level Descriptors

EQF Level Descriptors Architecture


The tables presented in the document EQF Level Descriptors Architecture constitute an attempt to formulate the structural characteristics of the profile of graduates in terms of knowledge, skills and competences of levels 6, 7 and 8 defined by the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). For the development of this work, the group used the experience gained during the last seven years through the implementation of the Tuning approach in architectural education in the framework of the Erasmus Thematic Network European Network of Heads of Schools of Architecture (ENHSA) and the advancements made on the outcomes-based architectural education in the framework of the ENHSA-Latin America Erasmus Mundus Program.  The projection of this experience on the logics of the EQF was organised on the basis of the following principles.

Architecture as a manifestation of our life in space is guided by culturally defined values, which permanently change and transform affecting the conception of architectural quality and of the structure of the profile of the architect. As a consequence, the definition of such a profile cannot be diachronic. On the contrarary it must reflect the state of the art of architecture and in the same time be easily adaptable to the fast changes and transformations. Till 1970 architectural education appeared to be part of the sector of engineeing as in this sector the dominant values of rationality and functionality dominating architectural contemplation and practice could be easily expressed. This explains why the majority of Schools of Architecture in this period are part of Polytechnic Schools or Technical Universities. After the ’70s Architecture progressively leaves the sector of engineering to request a place in the sector of the humanities, as at that time its social and cultural nature becomes the dominant reference point of architectural production. However, nowadays Architecture is leaving the sector of the humanities in order to find a place in an environment more compatible with the nature of its own mission, which is to create space. In order to create space Architecture needs engineering as well as the humanities but its proper and essential core as cultural activity is the act of creation. This is why, in this project Architecture appears as part of the Creative and Performing Disciplines as an expression of this dynamic of change.

In order to have the possibility to describe the profile of an architect conceived under this new conception of architecture as creative discipline, we need a structure which will reflect the fundamental characteristics of the creative action. In collaboration with the experts from the other creative and performing disciplines participating in the EQF HUMART project this structure was developed, discussed and approved as an adequate framework to define the skills, knowledge and competences of the graduates’ profiles at all levels of the EQF. This structure is based upon the following parameters of architectural creation :

□        Design Thinking and Doing (DES). Under this heading all competences related to the act of designing are grouped, as this is the fundamental outcome of architectural education.

□        In order to be able to design an architect has to have a significant input from the Humanities (HUM). So the parameter Thinking /considering the human  groups all competences related to this input.

□        In order to be able to design, an architect has to have a significant input from the part of engineering (ENG). Technical and environmental considerations  group all competences related to this input.

□        In order to be able to design, an architect has to develop an architectural culture (CUL). This means that a number of competences have to be developed related to the history and theory of architecture, to the understanding of their operational value and to their impact on the way that graduates conceive architecture.

□        Architects have to communicate the outcomes of their work. Communication is a significant parameter of the profile of the graduate and this heading  covers all competences relative to communication.

□        Architects have to be innovative. Experimentation and Research on architectural innovation is fundamental for architectural creation. This heading  groups all competences related to the innovative thinking, doing and knowing.

The above parameters were labeled as follows:

□        Conceptualising, Designing, Materialising Architecture

□        Re-thinking, Considering and Interpreting the Human Aspect of Architecture

□        Experimenting, Innovating & Researching through Architecture

□        Theories, Histories & Cultures of Architecture

□        Technical, Environmental & Contextual Issues relating to Architecture

□        Communication, Collaboration & Interdisciplinarity in Architecture

□        Initiative & Enterprise through Architecture

The group worked on the EQF Level Descriptors for Architecture starting from the level 7 of the EQF as the achievement of this level is the condition to have access to the professional practice. For the formulation of this level the group considered as extremely important to incorporate all the aspects of architects profile presented in the regulatory framework in order to be consistent with the institutional framework. On the other hand the group made a systematic comparison of the descriptors of level 7 with the points, which the NAAB (National Architectural Accreditation Board) of the USA defines as structural characteristics of the profile of the architect. In parallel the group took into account the similar characteristics appearing in the official description of the profile of the architect made by the International Union of Architects (UIA), which is the international body of the professional architects.

This work is a first elaborated approach to the formulation of a common framework for the qualifications offered in architectural education in Europe. As a starting point it is evident that it demands a critical consideration of a broader milieu and possible adaptations to some of its aspects. However, we strongly believe that this work is an extremely useful tool for the development of new school curricula, the advancement of the debate on architectural education and the broadening of architectural thinking and creating.

Please direct any comments you might care to make in relation to this document to Ingrid van der Meer ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Constantin Spiridonidis (Thessaloniki, Greece, Group coordinator), Selahattin Onur (Ankara, Turkey), Frid Bühler (Munich, Germany) and Karolina Tulkowska (Warsaw, Poland), Alberto Altes (Barcelona, Spain).