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How do you become a registered Architect in Namibia?

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

The field of architecture is very exciting and may seem quite glamorous, therefore it attracts many that want to pursue this. When I formed my interest in this career path many years ago I went to some practicing architects to get an idea of what it was really about, for most this experience is an eye opener that can be positive or negative, usually ending any uncertainty and you either want to know more or the interest is removed completely. For me, it was a positive experience but I had absolutely no idea what the requirements are for becoming a registered architect or where to start, this is what I would like to give some answers to for those that may be in the same position today or maybe just want to know a little bit more about this pursuit.

To become eligible to become registered as an architect in Namibia it will start with education at a university. Every university will have its own minimum requirements for example a 50% mark in Maths and English, but a lot of emphasis is placed on the creative portfolios that need to be submitted with applications. It is with this that you need to show your creative thinking and where applicants can stand out to the selection panels.

The creative portfolio requirements will also differ between universities and it is a good place to start by getting this information as soon as you can in order to build on this portfolio. I went to art classes which helped me a lot to create presentable portfolios. It is important to keep in mind you don't need to be an artist to become an architect and architectural drawing has got a lot more to do with perception, expression, and conveying an idea than it has with fine art, so if your not the greatest sketch artist like me don't be discouraged and do a google search on conceptual architecture sketches, this should give you some idea of how "rough" some of our sketches can be, but the idea that one is trying to explore is there.

I would advise applicants to apply to at least two or more universities, because some may have a limited number of intakes a year which may make it difficult to get accepted. You can find the accredited universities or educations that are accepted by the Namibian Council of Architects and Quantity Surveyors on their website, or give them a call if you're not sure. Your university studies will typically consist of a 5 year period and two or three degrees as follows in this order:

- Bachelor of Architecture Degree (3 years)

- Honours Degree in Architecture (1 year) not all universities offer this

- Master of Architecture Degree (1 year or 2 years if there is no Honours program)

Once you have obtained your Masters Degree you will need to register with the Namibian Council of Architects and Quantity Surveyors as an Architect in Training (Candidate Architect in South Africa). There will be a list of requirements and some forms that you will need to complete which can all be found on their website, these include an employment letter from a registered Architect, enrollment with the Namibian Institute of Architects, and an evaluation by the Namibian Qualifications Authority of your qualifications.

As an Architect in Training, you will have to complete 2 years of practical training under the guidance or mentorship of a registered architect. You will be required to submit monthly reports on your training and have to show certain amounts of hours in various categories. Unfortunately in Namibia, there is a lack of good guidance when it comes to training Architects, but it is important to keep focus and ask questions to learn as much as you can during this time. Once the training period is completed a candidate can apply to sit the Professional Competency exams after a final report or portfolio is submitted. These exams are the last step in the process and consist of two papers, one dealing with calculations such as fees and payment certificates, the other with contracts and legislation. The pass mark when I wrote was an average of 75% and if you get 65% you were invited for an oral examination. Passing these exams is no easy task and may take a lot of endurance, but once you have accomplished this last hurdle you will be registered as an Architect and it will be a great achievement.

For any questions regarding this article please contact me and I will gladly assist.

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