For the past 100 years, NCARB has been the foundation of the architecture profession. As we celebrate our Centennial, we’re taking the time to celebrate our accomplishments, highlight important milestones, and dive deeper into the Council’s past, present, and future. NCARB has a rich history, and we're excited to share it with you.
DAVID L. HOFFMAN, FAIA
2019 NCARB PRESIDENT • KANSAS
“Heretofore, it has been those members of the profession which wished to establish a professional standard, looking toward public safety as well, that headed the movement toward securing such legislation. … [It] now appears that the movement is beginning to take its proper position as a demand from the people.”
THE WESTERN ARCHITECT
Emery Stanford Hall (Left), Emil Lorch (Right)
Did you know?
In 1922, only 27 percent of the country’s communities with over 5,000 people had any kind of building code.
“The Council is no longer an experiment. It is an established agency performing an effective work in a manner apparently satisfactory to its constituency.”
EMERY STANFORD HALL
NCARB EXECUTIVE • 1924
Emil Lorch is elected NCARB’s first president.
The Council adopts its first constitution and bylaws.
NCARB sets up shop in Emery Stanford Hall’s Chicago office. In the first year, the Council processed 45 applicants seeking reciprocal licensure.
“Many states do not have license laws for architects, but their necessity is being more universally recognized. It is but a question of time when all states will have registration laws for architects, and it is to be hoped that these laws will be uniform throughout the nation and not capable of many interpretations.”
Architecture and Building Design Magazine
The first exams prepared by NCARB are given in Illinois to 19 architects—17 from Illinois and two from Iowa. There were two types of exams: the Standard Junior Exam for people seeking to get licensed and the Standard Senior Exam for architects who had been grandfathered into licensure wishing to practice in their states. All 19 applicants passed.
NCARB members pass their first three resolutions, adding a past president position to the Board of Directors, approving the financial report, and approving a report from the Committee on Registration of Architects.
NCARB meets with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Education Committee and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) to discuss how the three organizations could work together. Representatives of AIA and ACSA were surprised at how much NCARB was able to accomplish in just over a decade.
“Mr. Hall stressed two chief questions to which the N.C.A.R.B. was struggling to find an answer. One was how to determine the list of accredited schools. The other was how to organize an internship for architects—a matter assuredly not so simple as in medicine. He added that the epitome of the Board's experience was that in 75 percent of cases, the first year's practical experience was wasted.”
Minutes between aia, acsa, and ncarb
joint conference • 1932
NCARB implements a mentorship program to match graduates with an architect to guide them through the type of experience needed to earn a license. The Great Depression and World War II prevent the program from gaining momentum.
“The profession is pleased to call itself a learned profession. If this assumption is to be supported, then it is paramount that broad and high standards of qualifications shall be maintained.”
EMERY STANFORD HALL
NCARB EXECUTIVE • 1926
Did you know?
While NCARB had helped architects get licensed in multiple jurisdictions since 1921, it formalized its record keeping process in 1930. Record holder #1 was McDonald Lovell from Illinois who was issued a Record in April 1930. He used his Record to get licensed in Wisconsin and Indiana. He would eventually get NCARB certified in 1946, so he could get licensed in Texas.
“A good many years ago we operated without anything, mostly in the red. We tried to carry on, and once in a while we would take up a little donation to help. In the thirties we just about gave up.”
1938-39 NCARB President • Iowa • 1954
Did you know?
Twenty schools were included in the first round of NAAB accreditations in 1945. The number had doubled by 1955, and more than tripled by 1965. Today, there are more than 150 programs accredited by the NAAB in over 130 institutions.
NCARB relies on the insight and knowledge of volunteers to develop its programs and initiatives—from architects to educators to public members.
THE FIRST OHIO STATE BOARD OF EXAMINERS OF ARCHITECTS FROM 1931
NCARB’s members are the boards of architecture in each jurisdiction. They are the bodies who issue licenses to practice architecture and are responsible for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
NCARB formalizes its certification program. The first NCARB Certificate is issued to Nelson Spencer of Illinois.
1938-39 NCARB President William Perkins of Iowa becomes NCARB’s secretary after the death of Emery Stanford Hall. As a result, the NCARB office moves to Chariton, Iowa.
NCARB, AIA, and ACSA form the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) to handle accreditation of schools of architecture.
NCARB creates a Board of Review to help the secretary handle planning Council meetings and reviewing appeals from applicants denied certification.
NCARB releases its first newsletter.
“It seems obvious to me that the first step in the furtherance of any organization is a vigorous and vital publication.”
WEEKLY NCARB BULLETIN
“There could be no better demonstration of the need for this Council than what it is accomplishing and the work it is doing in these difficult times of the war emergency. It has been of assistance not only to the public and to the architectural profession, but to the federal government in the endeavor to select the proper men for important war work.”
LOUIS J. GILL
1943 NCARB PRESIDENT • CALIFORNIA • 1943
Did you know?
NCARB has called four cities home: Chicago (1919-1939); Chariton, IA (1939-1957); Oklahoma City (1957-1962); and Washington, DC (1963-Present).
Did you know?
The NCARB Board of Directors expanded to include regional directors in 1968. The Board expanded again in 2008 to add a public member and member board executive. Both moves help add diversity to the Board—both in terms of overall make up and opinion.
1968: WORLEY WONG
First Asian-American to serve on the Board
1979: LORENZO “PETE” WILLIAMS
First African-American president
1985: LAURA N. CRONENWETT
First woman to serve on the Board
1997: ANN R. CHAINTREUIL
First woman to serve as president
2008: AVA J. ABRAMOWITZ
First public member on the Board
2008: CYNTHIA J. MCKIM
First Member Board Executive on the Board
Developing and maintaining a national examination has required the work of hundreds of dedicated volunteers. Explore the ways the exam has evolved throughout NCARB’s history
NCARB provides a national seven-part examination to its Member Boards. It incorporates multiple-choice questions and questions that required graphic responses.
NCARB and the Architects Registration Council of the United Kingdom agree on a reciprocity arrangement. The agreement lasts until the 1980s.
“The lack of enforcement of standards after licensure is no longer being tolerated by consumers, legislators and other regulatory bodies. They are asking that practitioners demonstrate their competence on a regular basis.”
SAMUEL T. BALEN
NCARB EXECUTIVE • 1979-1997
THE EXPERIENCE PROGRAM
The national experience program has gone through many iterations since its launch in 1977. Learn more about the way requirements have changed.
“If we are not uniform, consistent, fair, and honest, we flirt with the destruction of one of our finest achievements—reciprocity.”
DWIGHT M. BONHAM
1981 NCARB PRESIDENT • KANSAS
Following pilot programs in Texas, New Jersey, and Colorado, NCARB Member Boards vote to establish the Intern-Architect Development Program (IDP). A year later, Mississippi becomes the first state to require the IDP for licensure. In 1979, Dwight Dobberstein becomes the first person to complete the IDP.
A new examination from NCARB launches, the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). The exam was taken over four consecutive days and took candidates 32.5 hours.
“I believe the ARE is one of the best exams we have ever prepared.”
1983 NCARB PRESIDENT • ARKANSAS
A professional degree from a NAAB-accredited program becomes a requirement for NCARB certification.
“I think it's important to note that we feel that the certification standard should be as close as possible to or equal to the highest standards set by the states. Many states are now requiring the five-year Bachelor of Architecture degrees and in light of this we feel that the certification process should bring itself up to at least a close level or the highest levels of the states.”
Robert E. Oringdulph
1985 NCARB PRESIDENT • OREGON
The Council experiments with computer-based testing for the ARE. Field tests were completed between 1988-1991. The costs proved too high, and the Council decided to stay with pencil-and-paper testing for the time being.
Did you know?
The ARE was also used by Canada to license architects. Two provinces began using portions in 1986. By 1991 all provinces were using the exam and it was translated into French for Quebec in 1992. While still administered in Canada, the country launched their own exam in 2008.
Did you know?
NCARB released its first monograph to help architects earn Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) continuing education credit in 1993. Energy Conscious Architecture was the first of over 25 titles that would be released over the next two decades.
"One of the most significant ways NCARB assists you is the verification and exchange of credentials. Our challenge as we move forward in this century is how we mesh that system with others around the globe to ensure the public's well-being."
Lenore M. Lucey
NCARB CEO • 1997-2011
BLUE-SKY THINKING & STRATEGIC PLANNING
The Strategic Plan is an important part of the way NCARB sets and accomplishes goals, both long-term and short-term.
The [Architect Development Verification Program (ADVP)] is a program whereby a Member Board will have the mechanism to verify that the public health, safety, and welfare is being considered in the continuing education program.”
MINNESOTA • 1992
The ARE moves to computer delivery. The exam becomes available year-round.
“The exams were written by the states at one time, and then it began being written by NCARB. The professionalism through which it was produced [and] the transformation to the computerized exam [should be huge points of pride for the Council.]”
2004 NCARB PRESIDENT • VIRGINIA
NCARB introduces its first Strategic Plan.
NCARB implements the Broadly Experienced Architect (BEA) Program for architects without the degree from a NAAB-accredited program to earn the NCARB Certificate. To earn NCARB certification, architects without the degree will need to compile a portfolio and be interviewed by a committee of their peers. Two years later, a similar program is created for foreign architects.
The Tri-National Mutual Recognition Agreement with Mexico and Canada goes into effect.
The ARE has a security breach. NCARB begins a multi-year update of the IDP to IDP 2.0.
“The findings presented in NCARB by the Numbers serve as a solid foundation for ongoing efforts to understand how and why the architectural profession has changed, but they're only pieces of a very large picture. We look forward to providing a more complete analysis of the path to licensure as our data warehouse and analytical capabilities grow."
NCARB CEO • 2011-present
Members vote to recommend 12 hours of HSW continuing education each year.
“We have proven that we can do things quickly. I don’t think we have done that before on anything of [CE standard’s] magnitude. It also proves that we can work and play well together. … This opens the door for much greater issues, and proves that we can work together to accomplish solutions.”
Kenneth J. Naylor
2011 NCARB President • Utah
NCARB by the Numbers is launched. A Practice Analysis is conducted to inform all of the components for licensure.
NCARB BY THE NUMBERS
Each year, our NCARB by the Numbers publication features the latest statistics on the path to licensure.
Did you know?
In 2012, NCARB held its first Intern Think Tank (later renamed to the Think Tank), which was comprised entirely of licensure candidates. NCARB uses the Think Tank to gain feedback and insights on licensure programs.
Did you know?
The first IPAL students successfully graduated in 2018, earning licenses shortly after graduation.
NCARB’s new Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) initiative—designed to help students complete education, experience, and examination requirements concurrently—launches, accepting its first programs.
The IDP becomes the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). ARE 5.0 launches.
"Streamlining the IDP requirements will reduce complexities while ensuring that intern architects still acquire the comprehensive experience that is essential for competent practice, and result in a program that is both justifiable and defensible."
2015 NCARB PRESIDENT • IOWA
A new mutual recognition arrangement between the United States, Australia, and New Zealand is launched.
NCARB celebrates 100 years of facilitating licensure.
VIDEO: CELEBRATING A CENTURY OF NCARB
Join us as we look back on the challenges and accomplishments of our 100-year history.