Education and Careers

Architecture as a career

A career in Architecture can be very rewarding, but its worth considering in depth before you make the leap.

Employment

By its nature Architecture is predominantly an urban skill consequently most architectural firms in Zimbabwe are located in the major centres. However, with the shift towards rural development and the establishment of rural growth points, it is anticipated that the architect will be expected to contribute to the physical development of both rural and urban areas.

Salaries upon qualification start at very competitive levels and would rise steadily as one acquires more experience and takes on more responsibilities. Excellent opportunities exist in both the private sector and Government for responsible architects skilled in handling local materials and geographical and climatic conditions.

Qualifications

Before anyone can practice as an architect in Zimbabwe, as explained later, he has to obtain certain educational and practical qualifications from a recognized School of Architecture. These qualifications lead to registration as an architect under the Architects Act and to membership of the Institute of Architects of Zimbabwe.

Schools of Architecture

There is one school of Architecture in Zimbabwe under the Faculty of Built Environment at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo. NUST offers the Bsc Hons Architectural Studies degree over a period of five years in which four years are full time on campus and one year industrial attachement. The Master of Architecture degree program is a one year full time course. Other schools of Architecture to note in the region include WITS, UCT, UJ, UKZN and NMMU (South Africa) and the Copperbelt University (Zambia). In some schools the program is split into three catergories with the BAS program running for three years, a year for the Honours program which is a prerequisite for admittance into the year long Master of Architecture. Traditionally most schools awarded the Bachelor of Architecture degree program in a straight five year period.

Most of the locally practicing Architects to date are products of schools in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Neither part-time nor "articled" type professional training is possible without an academic base such as an Architectural School. The increasing complexity of architecture and building, the high standard of performance required of the architect, and the rapid development of new techniques, materials, and the ever widening responsibility of the profession, all point to the need for intensive study of the highest standard.  Schools of Architecture are for the most part either in Universities or in some cases in the United Kingdom and Europe in Polytechnics. The courses offered by different Schools are very varied but usually include the following subjects:

  • Design studio;
  • Construction technology;
  • Materials and their production;
  • Environmental design, including lighting, heating, and ventilation and acoustics;
  • History of art and architecture;
  • Computer Aided Design;
  • Building Services;
  • Society and the built environment
  • Architectural Presentation or Technical drawing;
  • Interior design and photography;
  • Town and Country planning or urban and regional planning;
  • Landscape design;
  • Building economy;
  • Law and cost analysis;
  • Introduction to Professional Practice 
  • Project Management principles

 

As can be seen, it is a rich and very full subject. It demands commitment and enthusiasm, both in training and in practice. Work may go far beyond normal working hours. Finally, the student must learn to work in a team. Full information can be obtained on websites or by writing direct to the Schools for prospectuses. For information on Architectural Schools and Departments that are recognized for registration, your attention is drawn to the "Guidelines for Registration in Zimbabwe",

Practical Training

As previously mentioned, most universites provide a one year break between the third and fourth academic sessions. This inter-weaves practice with theory and gives a refreshing contact with real life. The time may be spent in an Architects office or in other sectors of the building industry such as with contractors, manufacturers, quantity surveyors, engineers, planners or in research - but this varies from course to course.

After qualification, a continuous period of two years in Zimbabwe, which may be with different firms but under the direction and supervision of a registered Architect, is a requirement for registration as an Architect in Zimbabwe. 

Entrance Qualifications

In general terms the minimum entrance qualification for an architectural course is five subjects from specified fields of the General Certificate of Education (these are set out in detail below), including two passes at Advanced Level. It is our policy to encourage a diversity of background subjects and to leave the choice of actual GCE subjects to sixth formers.

If full benefit is to be derived from an architectural course, both Arts and Science subjects should be studied at sixth form level. In some schools the mix of Arts and Science causes administrative difficulties in relation to the Advanced level examinations. If this is the case at your school try to keep up with Arts studies if there is only a "science" sixth form or vice versa if the emphasis in your school is on the Arts. This dual approach forms a valuable foundation for architectural studies. The Institute of Architects of Zimbabwe would encourage the taking of craft and technical subjects as a supplement to the basic subjects, but not instead of those listed below.

Minimum Entry Requirements

Some Schools of Architecture have particular requirements in excess of those set out here and you should check specifically. The General Certificate of Education:

  1. Candidates will be required to have passes in two subjects at Advanced Level of the GCE together with passes in five other subjects at Ordinary Level.
  2. Both the Advanced Level subjects and at least two lower level subjects must be drawn from the following fields of study: English, Mathematics, Science, Modern Languages, Classics, History, Geography, Economics, Music and Art.
  3. The following subjects are usually compulsory: English Language; Mathematics, Geography, Art or Technical Drawing and a science subject.

These compulsory subjects may be taken at Advanced or Ordinary Level. It should be noted that the competition to secure an Architecture place at any school is really high and schools increase their minimum entry requirements periodically. Those wishing to pursue a career in architecture and would require information on schools of Architecture outside Zimbabwe should contact:

The Secretary
The Institute of Architects in Zimbabwe
3 Dorking House
J Chinamano
Tel 704242
admin@architects.org.zw