What is Behind Architectural Education? Soft Skills Competences in 6 European Schools of Architecture

Carla Sentieri Omarrementeria presented a paper at the ICERI2022 15th International Conference of Education held in Seville, Spain, between November 7 and 9, 2022. Transversal skills, sometimes also referred to as soft skills are those aptitudes or characteristics that a person develops independent to the field of work to which they are devoted and makes reference to aptitudes, values, abilities and personality traits which improve a person’s efficiency and which may allow them in the future to adapt to any number of activities. As professions change more and more quickly, these skills are increasingly valued as they allow adaptation to different contexts. However, the training of architects in different schools around Europe is centred on specific skills and very few qualifications specifically take transversal or soft skills into consideration. The European Architecture´s Afterlife Project: The Multi-sector impact of an architectural qualification, carried out by five European institutions by way of a survey of graduating architecture students in Europe, indicates which skills are those most widely taught to architecture students and which skills are the most widely required. After the carrying out of the survey, in which 2,600 graduating students took part, qualitative research was done by way of interviews of graduating students in five European countries which revealed which skills they considered themselves to be better trained at and which skills were the most required. Subsequently, a comparative analysis of architecture schools from five countries: Italy, Spain, Belgium, Croatia and the United Kingdom showed differences in the predominance of certain skills and after the analysis of each one of these schools, it can be observed that certain approaches to the study programme might be having an effect on the training of the students and should be reviewed in order to orientate this training – taking into account the soft skills which they consider most relevant – in order to respond adequately to the social requirements presented by present and future contexts.