TRANSACTIONS WSP ACQUIRES BOD ARQUITECTURA E INGENIERÍA IN SPAIN WSP has announced it has acquired BOD Arquitectura e Ingeniería, a 45-employee architecture and engineering firm based in Madrid, Spain. The addition of BOD will expand WSP’s Property & Buildings service offering, while boosting its visibility in Madrid and across Spain. “This acquisition is aligned with our global business strategy to strengthen our capabilities in our top three sectors, as well as our presence in OECD countries,”
said Alexandre L’Heureux, president and CEO of WSP Global. “Given our complementary services and client base, joining forces is beneficial for both WSP and BOD. It will increase our foothold in the Spanish market, with some 275 professionals now dedicated to client project delivery,” added Manuel Pérez, WSP’s managing director in Spain and Portugal. Javier Bartolomé, BOD’s CEO, commented: “WSP is the ideal partner
for BOD. We will be able to continue developing our business in existing and new market segments while offering more client services and employee opportunities.” As one of the world’s leading professional services firms, WSP exists to future- proof our cities and environment. WSP provides engineering, and design services to clients in the transportation, infrastructure, environment, building, power, energy, water, mining and resources sectors.
professionally in a small firm that taught me to be what I consider to be the “classic architect.” I was expected to start a project as a PM from a blank sheet of paper and take it all the way through the end of construction. Thirty years in the profession has shown me that my experience was more of the exception than the rule. I know and respect plenty of university trained licensed architects who have a truly remarkable understanding of how buildings go together but literally could not design a bathroom well. Others I have worked with were drawn to construction and have spent their careers focused on construction administration. Similarly, I have worked with gifted designers who had absolutely no ability to detail a wall section or put a set of construction documents together. Still others gravitate toward the running of firms and the management of people. An “architect” is not one thing and the path to becoming one does not have to be just one way. This is in no way to indicate I am against a traditional university path to licensure. I am deeply appreciative of the exposure the University of Virginia gave me not only to architecture but to literature, world history, science, even astronomy, and that I was taught how to effectively articulate ideas. I am a staunch believer in the value of a broad education and would strongly encourage anyone who has the means to take this pathway to do so. In light of this, I would hope one option to be explored would be an associate’s degree coupled with years working under a licensed architect. In recent years the AIA has made a commendable push to bring more diversity to the profession and has initiatives to promote equity and diversity. I cannot think of a single idea that would open the profession up more to people of all backgrounds than allowing those for whom a university education is not possible an alternate route to licensure. I would call upon the AIA to lead on this issue and make an initiative for a national recognition of alternate pathways to licensure a priority. This will not be a quick or easy change since each state has its own rules. However, the AIA and NCARB are looked to for guidance by many state licensing boards and were they to make this a prime concern in their push for diversity and inclusion, they would be able to effect significant positive change. Nea May Poole, AIA, LEED, AP is a principal and COO at Poole & Poole Architecture, LLC. Connect with her on LinkedIn .
NEA MAY POOLE, from page 9
in an office rather than five years at a university. If I was given a choice of someone who had been working since high school for a firm for five years versus a person graduating with a five- year degree, all other things being equal, I would, probably hire the person who had practical experience. I posed a question about this on a national discussion board for architects to better understand the reasons for resistance to alternate pathways. Not surprisingly, for a number of respondents the primary concern brought up was that in an office one does not get the design exposure one would in a university studio class or that learning on the job does not teach one to think broadly, critically, or spatially. One comment was that universities put the “art in architecture.” Most agreed that through apprenticing one might be technically competent but would never be a designer, a “true architect.” I, however, would argue these responses reflect much more poorly on the mentoring practices of some firms rather than expressing the value of a five-year degree. “A nationally recognized acceptance of this pathway to becoming a licensed architect would open the profession to many who do not have the means to afford a five-year college education.” For example, a student could learn design and broad thinking through expressing his professor’s favorite Maya Angelou poem in his design of an affordable housing project. Alternatively, the same person would also be exposed to many design considerations and, perhaps, even broader thinking if he had to weigh the concerns and comments of an owner, a zoning committee, neighborhood groups, and an ARB, all on the same project. In the end, everyone would sit for the same exam, which seems like a fair measure of what has or has not been learned. I think that this hand wringing over the lack of university- taught design experience belies the reality of architects. The profession is not a monolith and neither are the day-to-day jobs that architects do. I was fortunate enough to grow up
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THE ZWEIG LETTER OCTOBER 3, 2022, ISSUE 1459
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