Apprenticeship model

Historically the architect was a master builder, a person of archi and tekton, αρχι and τεκτων (greek). Here the architect and architecture referred to the superior and prior + master of any art (author, creator, planner, carpenter, builder).

Juhani Risku, after his apprenticeships under architects’, acoustician’s, ceramist’s, cabinet makers’, stonecutter’s, carpenters’ and metal workers’ supervision is a retrospective experience to the history of modern architecture and variations of architect’s professional skills.

Apprenticeship is a function of the apprentice, the master and the work in practice and its theory. The apprentice has to be eager to learn, have greater professional goals, motivation and diligence. The master needs to have a mission to teach the next generation so that the apprentices are better than her. The worst case scenario of apprenticeship is, that a phlegmatic apprentice suffers/enjoys under a B-class architect’s supervision, working with a no-brainer project for an ungrateful customer.

Apprenticeship is not a summer job or an internship. Apprenticeship is a reciprocal exchange between the apprentice and the master(’s intentions, will, skills and actions). An apprenticeship, when established, need several requirements to be fulfilled. There is no mediocrity in an apprenticeship. There are no mediocrities in apprentice candidates and masters. Therefore summer jobs at architect’s offices and internships at universities and offices are forms of temporary zero-result-time-spent compared with the master-apprentice full-time interaction.

Vitruvian architect

Even for today’s architect, the Vitruvian architect is an ideal.


There are globally 1179 academic level schools with architectural studies, when counting them on Wikipedia. Most of them apply the Bauhaus curricula with artistic creation methods from drawing, painting, sculpting to drama, and specialising later to different architectural professions. Luckily most of the students get a generalist architect’s skills despite they later act with a constricted architect’s setup.

Industrial modernism and the apprentice

When the industrial modernism with parallel-pipedism, rolling plate and flat based elements and components, BIM and digital 3D design took over the architect’s strengths like ideation, visioning, sketching, endless iterations just before nailing down and crafting the house, the architect lost the game.

Architecture schools and apprentices

Apprenticeship culture is even more important for today’s architect students than ever before. There are several reasons for this:

  1. The 20th century is extremely confusing for the architect: WOW buildings and the hero architect are admired, and still only 1 % of architects can use their skills in an optimal way
  2. The architect has been replaced by generic house models, type drawings, housing factories, copy-paste habits, ready-made houses and DIY TV programs.
  3. Architect in its traditional meaning is not needed but the architect stays traditional in her mindset.
  4. Digitalisation of construction: the architectural creation process has been outsourced to digital sketching and rapid 3D modelling.
  5. BIM has made architectural compositions a jumble of design-by-the-catalogue and steal-from-anywhere art
  6. Biggest architects’ offices plan most of the public and commercial buildings, which leads to global styles and a minimal acceptable quality level in construction
  7. Financial and economical interests are mainly against architect’s possibilities and the quality of buildings.
  8. Architect schools compete with the same assets and outcome, which are generic on the same low architectural quality level (the quality of built environment and houses has not improved since the 1960s).

New abstraction for the meaningful apprenticeship

From the 1179 academic architect schools one on each continent should apply new abstractions on apprenticeship. The new abstraction of apprenticeship at an architect school is a function of education curricula, professors’ quality, students’ agendas, local architect’s will, and local enterprise’s, city’s and citizens’ contribution.

New apprenticeship requires new conveners, who have special interests. The interests of new apprenticeships come from:

  • quality of homes (where you spend 60 % of your life)
  • quality of the city (differentiation between 200 000 towns)
  • success of the construction business (“the GDP essence”)
  • success of the supporting and subcontracting businesses (city trades and businesses)
  • existence of the Architect (architect as a profession)
  • existence of the architect school (schools at quality risk).

Everyone in the city and community has interests of the quality of the environment and the home. Therefore the planning and design  as the DNA of homes and the city is crucial.