|Lloyds building, London|
When I was visiting London I noticed that an exhibition about the architect Richard Rogers was being held at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. I decided not to pay the entrance fee to find out more about the man described in the literature as "one of the most successful and influential architects in the world".
The fact that Richard Rogers has achieved such a high standing in the world of architecture just goes to show that you don't need to be academically gifted to be an architect - you just need to be extremely privileged.
As I've written in my book, BRICK WALL, Richard Rogers was accepted into the famous AA Architecture School in London without university entrance; he passed no A-levels nor did he have a portfolio of work to demonstrate he could even draw. He was accepted because his Uncle Ernesto (Ernesto Rogers) was a famous architect and the AA wanted him to lecture there. Of course this fact is unlikely to be mentioned in the exhibition but I find it interesting how these famous architects gained entry to architecture schools. The ones with no formal qualifications (with immense contacts) are the architects most likely to be celebrated throughout the world.
A doctor's son/nephew/daughter/niece cannot become a doctor without passing the required university entrance exams. A dentist's son/nephew/daughter/niece cannot become a dentist without passing the required university entrance exams. A lawyer's son/nephew/daughter/niece cannot become a lawyer without passing the required university entrance exams. Yet you can get into architecture school having passed NO exams and with NO portfolio. Architecture departments really do make up the rules as the go along.
If you have good A-levels/Highers in Maths, Science, English, Art etc (those specified by the architecture schools) choose a subject where your ability and brains will matter, you will not be rewarded in architecture. If you don't believe me, read The Favored Circle, written by a former lecturer at a university in Sydney who has come to the same conclusions as I have. Doing well in architecture is a matter of privilege and a game of chance. It has very little to do with ability and talent.
Sadly, it's the same the world over making this the most unlikely profession for a clever, working-class person to succeed in. On the other hand, privileged people who have done poorly at school can do extremely well in architecture and when they do eventually qualify the first thing they will do is to design a house for their parents or grand-parents. This is how Le Corbusier, Richard Rogers and countless other famous architects start out.