If you are an architect from France or Germany and you move to the United Kingdom to come and work here you are allowed to continue to call yourself an architect. However if you are an architect from the USA or Australia (or any other non-EU country) and come and work here, still calling yourself an architect, you are in trouble.
Expect a threatening letter from the Architects Registratiion Board.
Similarly if you are partner in a firm of architects having served an apprenticeship and worked for decades designing buildings who will be in trouble with the ARB if you are caught describing yourself as an architect – if you don't have the relevant paper qualifications approved by the ARB.
Quinlan Terry is a properly qualified architect and duly registered with the ARB (for which he must pay £98.50 a year.) But consider Roger Scruton's account of how this came about. Mr Terry entered the Architectural Association as a student in the 1960s:
He attended classes that showed how to translate insane collectivist propaganda into childish isonometric drawings. Real drawing, real looking, real measuring and real moral understanding had to be learnt elsewhere. Converted to Christianity, which taught him to question all the self-serving dogmas on which he had been raised, including the dogmas of modernism, Terry set out to learn what his professors forbade, travelling to see the great monuments of Western
architecture, drawing the details of country churches, studying the simple streets of our not yet ruined towns, and in general equipping himself with the knowledge that an architect needs if he is to adapt his art to its surroundings, instead of destroying the surroundings in order to draw attention to his art.
Needless to say, Terry’s projects, submitted as his thesis, were failed by the examiners. In satirical spirit he submitted hubristic modernist designs instead, and was allowed to pass.
So the ARB chase after people who call themselves architects – typically these are people who are architects in the sense of that being they do for a living but not in the bureaucratic sense as defined by the ARB. People like Renzo Piano. The ARB carries out this role at a cost of £3 million a year. Their Chairman is a Labour councillor in Liverpool.
None of these activities prohibit someone who they say isn't an architect from designing a building for you. "We protect the title not the function," a spokesman tells me.
There are two vacancies for lay members on the Public Appointments. The pay is £250 a day and the deadline is January 7th. As I wrote earlier we need Conservatives to apply for Quango posts – otherwise we are just surrendering power to the Left.
So please do apply. You might have some positive influence.
An even more positive outcome, however, would be for the Government to abolish this useless, meddling bureaucracy.
Over to you, Nick Boles.