What is Architecture – Introduction, Apprenticeship, ALE

There’s a lot of myths or misconceptions about architecture as a field. Other people might think it’s all drawing while some think it’s all “aesthetics” or beauty. Although these two are involved in such, them alone is a massive understatement of the field. 

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What is Architecture?

Architecture refers to the practice or the art of designing and constructing different buildings. It may take on a lot of definitions but in summary, it is the combination of art and science which involves the planning, designing, and constructing spaces and structures. 

According to the famous architect, Vitruvius, architecture should have three central themes. These are firmitas, utilitas, and venustas. Firmitas meaning form, utilitas meaning utility, and venustas meaning beauty. 

This being one of the theories in architecture, it can be argued that if an architecture lacks one of them, it may not be the most efficient or the best solution to the problem of space. 

Related: 13 Reasons Why Choose Architecture

How Many Years Does it Take? (Philippines)

In the Philippines, the architecture major runs 5 years to finish. You can take up 1-2 years of masters depending on the specialization and the university. In other countries, you may have the choice of a doctorate program for 3-3.5 years

After graduating with the bachelor’s degree, you’ll be needing 2 years of experience as an architect’s apprentice or a junior architect before you can take the board exam. 

For a more detailed explanation of the practice in other countries, check out ArchDaily’s post here.

What’s an Apprenticeship?

An architecture apprenticeship is like an on-the-job training only, it can be more intense and learning-oriented. Of course, every experience will depend on the company training the apprentice but more or less, the goal remains the same. 

Architecture apprenticeship involves practical experience in the field as opposed to pure academic training in a university. You will also earn a salary which may vary from every firm you work for.

In the Philippines, for you to be able to take an Architecture Licensure Exam (ALE), you’ll be required to submit a logbook of diversified experience in Architecture (DEA) which consists 2 years of experience or 3, 840 hours (including both overtime and work on holidays).  Click here for more info.

A master’s degree in architecture is equivalent to 1 year of practical experience.

Related: Choosing the Right Architectural Firm For You

Architecture Licensure Exam (ALE)

The board exam for architecture in the Philippines is called Architecture Licensure Exam (ALE). Before you can take the exam, there are certain preparations you’ll have to make which are the following:

1| Ready your requirements

According to PRC, requirements for ALE include:

  • Birth Certificate (NSO/PSA)
  • Marriage Contract for married female applicants (NSO/PSA)
  • Transcript of records with scanned picture and remarks that says “For Board Examination Purposes” (For first timers and repeaters)
  • PTR, IAPOA number of architect mentor for first timers
  • A valid NBI Clearance (For first timers and repeaters)
  • 2 years of diversified training and experience after graduation (Logbook of Diversified Experience)
  • Affidavit of Experience signed and sealed by a registered Architect with updated ID
  • Master’s Degree in Architecture (equivalent to 1 year practical experience)
  • Affidavit of Experience signed and sealed by a registered Architect with updated ID
  • Php 900.00 for payment of the processing fee

2| Complete the online form

You’ll be needing to complete the PRC online form in order to apply for an exam date. It’ll ask from you your personal information, required photo, and the licensure exam you’d like to apply to (in this case, ALE), and the schedule you prefer. You may also choose to pay the application fee online or over the counter.

Print your completed form when done.

3| Go to PRC

If you’re done with the online registration, you would have made an appointment with PRC already. When you’re there:

  • Get documentary stamps (Php 21.00 per piece) from the PRC Customer Service
  • Submit all requirements at the Processing Counter
  • Accomplish your Permanent Examination and Registration Record Card (PERRC) immediately.
  • Submit the metered mailing envelope including your processed application form and your requirements at the Issuance Counter
  • Claim your Notice of Admission (NOA). Your program of examination and metered mailing envelope will be attached to this.

4| Testing

Check the PRC official website 2 to 3 days before your scheduled exam to find your room assignment. The ALE typically lasts for 2 days. You will not be allowed to leave the room and will be prohibited from communicating and borrowing materials from each other. You’ll also be required to bring your own food and snacks for the duration of the whole exam, to be placed in a transparent bag.

Results are usually released after 3-7 working days and are posted on the PRC website.

Courses in Architecture

Each course may be called differently depending on the university but if we’re going to base them on ALE, the courses include:

  • History and Theory of Architecture
  • Principles of planning and architectural practice
  • Utilities systems
  • Structural conceptualization
  • Building materials
  • Construction
  • Architectural design and site planning

Related: Anki Flashcards for Architecture School

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