Interview with NCARB President Kristine Harding

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Earlier this summer, Kristine Harding, the principal in charge of the Huntsville, Alabama, studio of the KPS Group, became president of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). She has been a member of the Alabama Board for Registration of Architects since 2005, serving as chair from 2007 to 2008, and has held numerous NCARB leadership roles. She is the first woman at the organization’s helm since 1999. RECORD talked with Harding about what’s in store for NCARB.


Architectural Record: What are some of the most important recent developments at NCARB?

Kristine Harding: One of the really exciting initiatives is the Architectural Experience Program, or AXP, which we launched on June 29th. It replaces and streamlines the Intern Development Program (IDP), reducing the work experience that licensure candidates must document from 5,600 to 3,740 hours. Also, instead of the 17 experience areas that candidates needed to document, we now have only six categories. They more intuitively follow the way we practice and include activities such as programming, schematic design, and design development.

In addition to that, we’re launching the new version of the Architect Registration Examination, ARE 5.0. Starting November 1, candidates won’t have to muscle through that old, clunky CAD program.

Nearly half of all graduates from accredited architecture programs are women. However, the number of women pursuing licensure still lags behind the number of men. What is NCARB doing to encourage more women to become licensed architects?

One of the things that NCARB has done is to make it possible for exam candidates to start logging their professional experience in AXP sooner—potentially as soon as they graduate from high school. Previously, you had to wait until after your third year in an architecture program. In addition, we’ve changed the policy regarding how frequently licensure candidates can retake the registration exam from every six months to every sixty days. These changes should accelerate the process, giving women—and anybody coming in to the profession now—more opportunities to complete licensing before they start families or decide to take a hiatus from practice.

Are there issues that the organization is tackling that aren’t directly related to licensure or registration?

Yes. I’ve formed a resiliency and sustainability workgroup in response to a request from the Delaware Board of Architects. That sate’s governor asked the board to look at how sustainability could be incorporated into the state’s laws. The board said to us, “This is something that NCARB could help us with.” So, I’ve handpicked people from places all over the country that are facing different environmental problems. We’ve got people from Delaware, New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana, California, Hawaii, and Alaska. The group will be looking at NCARB’s role in promoting resiliency sustainability.