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UPA-BUA Union Professionnelle d'Architectes
Beroepsunie Van Architecten

IV. Europe and the prolific years

A short history of belgian architects and their professional organizations

Part IV .

The status of teachers had also been amended, as a year earlier the 1976-1977 Budget Proposals Act prohibited the combination of paid professional activities with teaching duties beyond a standard of income : this provision, which excluded the practitioners from teaching will be strongly criticized for years because it leads to the sclerosis in the education of architecture. We’ll have to wait until 2006 to see it suppressed.

But the political world doesn’t forget its plan to rationalize this teaching spread out over many sites: the Royal Decree No. 460 of September 17, 1986 will require the architecture institutes to have at least 100 students for the two applications (50 students in the case of the last school of a network). This modification has the immediate result of causing the (official) merger of the two ISA Saint-Luc de Wallonie and the three Academies (which constitute the ISA intercommunal) to avoid disappearing. These different institutes will actually continue to operate more or less independently but this in more difficult conditions (except perhaps with regard to ISA Victor Horta Brussels, which is hosted on the campus of the ULB).

On the Flemish side, let us also note the somewhat daring initiative of the University of Ghent to create a degree in architecture (distinct from the training of engineer-architects) to replace the Academy of Ghent, which has disappeared as a result of this restructuring. This license, not officially recognized, will have to be removed soon after.

The construction of the architects' Europe

The idea of a Europe of architects is quite old since in 1957 there is already a first project of "European Directive on Architects" launched at the initiative of the Commissioner of Crayencour. This project will be torpedoed by engineers but it will eventually lead to the "Architects" Directive of 1985.

Pending the political decisions, the architects will decide to meet regularly to exchange information and begin to organize concerted actions thanks to the installation, in 1970, of the Liaison Committee of Architects of the United Europe (CLAEU) which has in particular, to seek agreements between the representatives of each Member State on training and professional qualifications.
Note that it will take 15 years to see the creation in 1985 of the European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCE) and the European Council of Town Planners (CEU).

The world of architecture teaching follows with the creation of the European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE) which should allow the leaders of this teaching to exchange their points of view and form a network. This initiative follows a seminar held on March 10, 1975 which resulted in the creation of a discussion group hosted several times by J.-F. Mabardi in Louvain-la-Neuve. The EAAE will be officially constituted as a non-profit organization in Brussels on 11 December 1987.

Architecture students will come together through the creation of the "European Architecture Students Assembly" (EASA) following an invitation issued in 1981 by architecture students in Liverpool to other European students to reflect on problems of their city. Since then, EASA has organized a thematic assembly each year in a different city in Europe, bringing together between 400 and 500 people.

Thanks to the work of CLAEU, 1985 will be the year of the important European "Architects" Directive (85/384 / EEC): it is a sectorial directive - which is quite rare - which specifies that only the titles architects and civil engineer can now give access to the architectural profession in Europe. In the wake, the European Commission will set up the "Advisory Committee for Training in the field of Architecture" (CCFA) responsible for approving architecture training now recognized at European level.
A year later, the Valencia Declaration will issue recommendations on the training of architects (six years of study, university level, practical training and additional professional experience, specificity, etc.) some of which are still not met today and are still the subject of much debate in the Council of Architects of Europe.

Prolific years

In the evolution of their building practices, architects are more and more often confronted with a new type of competition: the turn-key projects, which had already led to the promulgation of the Breyne law in 1971. To counter this competition, the francophone architects of UNSFA have the idea to build, in 1981, the system of Architects-Builders, with the consent of the Order.
The following year, the UPA-BUA celebrates its fiftieth anniversary under the dynamic impetus of its new president, Yves Castiaux, and organizes a major conference in Hélécine during which it makes this initiative known to Belgian architects. It will not take more for the movement of Architect-Builders (A-B) to be formed in Belgium in 1984. This new type of alternative practice will obviously meet the opposition of general contractors but also some architects. It will develop, however, but in a relatively limited way.

The beginning of the eighties proves, with hindsight, very fruitful since on January 14, 1982 the academic session of creation of the National College of Experts-Architects (CNEAB), one year later the foundation, in Marrakech, of the International College Expert-Architects takes place (in which several Belgian architects, including Robert Doyen will have played an important role).

On September 30, 1982 the company "Architectes-Services" was founded, under the auspices of the FAB. It will offer grouped contracts of professional insurance or a printing service of building boards now imposed by the Order (but this obligation will be, like so many others, never really respected).
Two years later, in 1984, ARCHINTER was born: this association, which brings together the FAB and the Order, is responsible for coordinating and promoting the international relations of its members in the field of architecture (it must unfortunately be acknowledged that these objectives ambitious will never really be realized).

Belgian architects are also at the forefront of new modes of communication with the launch, in 1984, of the Banque Informatique du Bâtiment (BIB). This technical-commercial database under the patronage of the FAB and created and at the initiative of Marcel Reymen (member of the Board of Directors of the UPA), will be installed on the 5th floor of the House of Architects. For a period of ten years, BIB will produce micro-cards, index cards and a computerized specifications mainly for young architects. Its implementation will also be at the origin of the development of the BB / SfB classification system whose manual, published by the KUL, the UCL and the Régie des Bâtiments, will be released in 1990.

The Ordre is also active since it publishes in 1983 its new code of ethics which authorizes, in particular, some form of advertising.
On 28 April of the same year, the ‘Commission Paritaire Nationale d'Acceptation en matière de constructions à systèmes’ (provided for in the Directive on architects’ ethics in industrial construction) is installed by the CNOA and the Union of system builders.

Also in 1983, the Provincial Council of the French Brabant of the Order of Architects published its first "Guide of the Young Architect" which will be then regularly updated. Some Flemish provinces will take the same initiative before translating the French-speaking guide.
On May 8, 1984, the "Carnet d'entretien des bâtiments" is presented to the professional world. Jointly conducted by CNOA, CNC, CSTC and CNEAB, this useful document, intended for project owners, remains one of the most widely disseminated CSTC (BBRI) publications to date.

In the world of information, the year 1983 is marked by the release of the first issue of "Architecture et Vie / Architectuur en Leven", a magazine created, directed and carried at arm's length by Jean-Marie Fauconnier. This publication, soon to be called "Arch & Life", disseminates the professional information long awaited by architects, but the difficulties related to its independent edition will unfortunately be the reason for the review which will issue its last issue in December 1996.

During this prolific year 1983, we can also note the holding of a FAB Congress in Brussels, a congress of SAF at Franc-Waret and the creation, in Ghent, of the "Stichting Architectuurmuseum" which will unfortunately disappear. nine years later, for lack of financial means. It should be noted that such an idea is not new since it was in 1833 already that was created by Sir John Soane in London the first museum entirely devoted to architecture.

But architects are also aware of the need to be able to answer questions from the general public and take pro-active initiatives in this area: in April 1983 the Royal Society of Architects of Verviers and Surroundings (SRAVE) inaugurates in Verviers the first Bureau d’Information du Public (BIP). This initiative will be followed, a year later, by the creation of the House of Architects of Charleroi, on the initiative of the Royal Association of Architects of Charleroi (ARAC).

Architects face new challenges

As a result of these very active years new threats will unfortunately melt on the profession. The warning shot comes in 1985 from France, where fee schedules are now banned. Through the loss of this reference tool, which will extend to the European level, it is also a certain image of the profession that is questioned: the architect is henceforth obliged to justify his fees and is confronted with the setting in competition.

Beyond the issue of fees is also the entire management of architectural offices that poses a problem, as will reveal the survey conducted in 1987 by SOBEMAP at the request of the CNOA: this study reveals the dramatic absence real cost control as well as the very low fees generally charged by architects.

The problems are not only internal agencies, as shown by the survey TEST-ACHATS on architects, also published in 1987.
It is clear that the clientele is now more critical and expects quality services from a competent and informed professional, while at the same time the technical constraints become more complex due, in particular, to the increased consideration of the cost savings. energy.

Professional bodies are therefore called upon to become involved in order to face these new challenges. Thus, in 1985, several French-speaking associations will organize, on the initiative of the Walloon Region and in collaboration with the BBRI, training days on the new Walloon heat regulation K70 and Be 500.
The same year again, the first debates on the safety of construction sites took place in the professional world: we are still talking about the general principles of safety, but we are already talking about the introduction of a European Directive.

A year later, the UPA-BUA updates its Unitary Price Schedule, which it begins to disseminate outside the restricted circle of its members. This document, with its regular updates, will quickly become a recognized reference document in Belgium (especially after the 1990 edition was distributed to all architects in Belgium).

The year 1986 also sees the establishment of the FAB - CSTC Technical Commission, which aims at the long-awaited involvement of architects in the activities of CSTC (BBRI). The work of this promising initiative will unfortunately be hampered by "political" differences of opinion and this commission will be temporarily "forgotten".

Another initiative of FAB and its president Pierre Sauveur: the launch, on September 4, 1987 of the ASBL "Partenaires de l'Architecture en Belgique" (PAB) intended to financially support the activities of the FAB.
On May 5, 1988, the same president of FAB will sign with the company Wolfgang Verraes, the "Quality Charter" to allow architects to train and integrate into the market for wood construction (FULL-CASCO).
A year later it is still following his initiative that the FAB returns to the UIA, after many years of absence.

In 1988, Cécile Féron (SCAB) and Christian Dubois (UPA-BUA) launch the first days "Une maison, son architecte" as part of the 25th anniversary of the Order: more than 200 architects participate in this action and present to the public a home they designed.
The public is obviously interested in architecture since the same year we can discover the first programs devoted to the architecture of the house: it is the show "Huizen kijken" on the BRT. In the same vein, the National Council of the Order launches, a year later, its recommendation on advertising, which will however remain too little known to architects and will give rise to multiple interpretations by the provincial councils.

It was also in 1989 that the "Plan jeune Architecte" was launched, a 32-evening post-training course intended mainly for trainees and organized by the Saint-Luc social promotion classes of Saint-Gilles. This cycle can unfortunately be organized for only three years but the formula will be taken up by some professional associations to eventually lead to the training organized by the CNOA from 2000.

On the assets of these years rich in initiatives, let us note again the creation in 1988 of the Union professionnelle des Ingénieurs industriels et des Architectes de la SNCB and, a year later with our neighbours, that of the Order of Architects and Consulting-Engineers of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.