Frank Lloyd Wright School Of Architecture Could Lose Its Accreditation

The 82-year-old legendary architecture school may no longer be able to produce future architects.

The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, opened in 1932 by its legendary namesake, is in danger of losing its accreditation to offer a Master of Architecture degree. The school, with locations in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Taliesen, Wisconsin, is left scrambling to find a solution.

Despite being 82 years old, the school only earned accreditation in 1992 after years of forging its own path with its "learning by doing" approach to architecture. But the Higher Learning Commission, a Chicago-based nonprofit that accredits colleges and universities, recently assessed that the school no longer meets its accreditation requirements. It had been put on notice by HLC in 2005, and again in 2010, and given time "to correct issues that could possibly lead them to be out of compliance with our standards," as HLC’s public information officer John Hausaman told Architect Magazine.

In 2012, HLC's by-laws changed, barring accreditation for schools if they're part of a larger organization who operate outside the academic realm. And of course, Frank Lloyd Wright School is owned and operated by the the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Flickr user Edward Stojakovic

The 2017 stop date will minimize the degree to which current staff and master's students are affected by the change. But in those two and a half years, the FLW Foundation either have the option of incorporating the school into a separate entity, teaming up with an another accredited institution, or according to Architectural Record forgoing accredited programs altogether and focusing on post-professional programs.

Sean Malone, president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which runs both campuses, told USA Today he was frustrated by the move. He also deemed the option of incorporating the school as "not acceptable, since the foundation's influence over the school would be limited to giving money. "The school would not only have full control of the money and the governing, but the [Frank Lloyd Wright] Foundation would be required to guarantee well over seven figures and have to guarantee this funding with no direct government or operational control," Malone explained.

In a press release, the foundation expressed its disappointment, saying, "Frank Lloyd Wright himself started the Taliesin Fellowship to challenge normative educational models, not to emulate them."

But as Malone insists, the school shouldn't have trouble finding an institution to partner with if that's what it comes to.

[h/t USA Today]

[Top Photo: Flickr user Artotem]

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4 Comments

  • As someone who is licensed as an architect in 3 continents, I found the information provided by National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) website really helpful in understanding how to become an architect in the USA. "There are four main steps to becoming an architect." 1) Education, 2) Internship, 3)Examination, 4) Licensure

    Education: "In most states, to become licensed, candidates must earn a professional degree in architecture from one of the more than 100 schools of architecture that have degree programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). However, each state architectural registration board sets its own standards, so graduation from a non-accredited program may meet the educational requirement for licensing in a few states." (e.g. Arizona and Wisconsin)

    Some states, such as Arizona and Wisconsin, also do not require a NCARB certificate for reciprocal registration.

  • Alastair Woods

    Why does it need accreditation? It is such a famous school it shouldn't need to be accredited. If Harvard suddenly lost its accreditation due to some bureaucratic BS it would still be Harvard. It would still be prestigious and highly respected.

  • mahler71

    Without accreditation the school would no longer be permitted to grant professional architecture degrees. Meaning: students who receive degrees from the school would not be eligible to sit for the architecture exams to become licensed Architects. There are some states where a license can be received without an accredited degree, but it is a more time-consuming and difficult process - and would limit the states where one could practice.

  • In both the States of Arizona and Wisconsin where FLLWSA is located, a professional degree from a NAAB-accredited program is NOT required to satisfy the board's education requirement. The board accepts experience as alternative means of satisfying the education requirement. In other words, one can apply to sit for the A.R.E. even if graduating from a non-accredited architecture program. It's not necessarily a time-consuming process. If one passes the A.R.E., then one can practice and become an architect. http://bit.ly/1tlVFYv The Architecture Board Jurisdictions for both Arizona and Wisconsin also accepts those with a high school education only (in other words, no degree) and can use experience as alternative means of satisfying the education requirement, to apply for the A.R.E. and become an architect.