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New GSD Program Aims To Get More Architects

British-based architectural firm RMJM recently donated $1.5 million to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) in an attempt to increase the number of architects who enter the field. 

The donation—which the firm presented to the GSD in mid-March—will establish the Integrated Design Program at the school that will arm potential architects with business management and advanced technology skills.

A start date for the program, which will also receive $500,000 in funding from Harvard, has yet to be determined by RMJM and the GSD.

According to the Society for Marketing Professional Services, more students have been choosing to pursue consulting, which is more lucrative than architectural .

RMJM CEO Peter Morrison said he hopes that his firm’s gift will help to curb this trend and boost the number of people in his field worldwide.

“Architects have lost their position in the construction process to project managers and other consultants,” said Morrison, who heads up the international design company that boasts 16 offices throughout the globe.

He also said he hopes the collaboration will help to shape architects who have many perspectives on life as well as within their industry.

“It will bring attention to the fact that we believe that the future of the architecture industry rests with ensuring that architects are much more rounded than they have been in the past...not just in the architectural, but the environmental, economic perspectives of life,” he said. 

Despite extensive publicity, some GSD students said news of the initiative has not had a great impact on the student body. 

“They say that developers aren’t that interested in architects—that’s all I know,” said Sara Queen, a second year architecture student. “They tried really hard to publicize it but it was bad timing with our midterms.”
 
Students said they were still interested in finding out more about the new program due to the financial incentive.

“I think I’ll try find more about it, especially as it’s so much money,” said Yair Y Keshet, another second year architecture student. “I’d like to tap into that.”

Requests for comment from the GSD were not returned yesterday evening.

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