The Architects profession faces constant challenges due to changing regulatory environments, new types of developments occurring in the country, absence of control over architecture designed by foreign architects on G2G ventures and pressures from foreign Architects to practise in Paradise Mauritius. Many are already practising under cover and illegally for local and foreign developers and promoters. We have more than 250 registered Architects many of whom have much difficulty to find employment or engage in private practice. We have to deal with numerous cases of malpractice and “signature de complaisance” which undermines the profession in the public opinion. Much effort has to be done in the public procurement procedures where the traditional technical/financial appraisal comprises many loopholes exploited by the crafty to get past the post but does not guarantee the best architecture and bars access to young emerging architects.
The good news is that we can sense a public awareness for good architecture and that here and there we can find well designed buildings and spaces cropping up. There is a perception that has to be dispelled, especially in the public sector that the locals are not qualified enough and that foreigners need to be brought on board. It is undeniable that the intervention of foreign architects associated with locals in hotels and RES/PDS projects has contributed to raise the standards of the architectural scape. But we also have great designs done by locals in various sectors of the economy which deserve public exposure and recognition. We are encouraging joint ventures with foreign specialist architectural firms to foster transfer of expertise and architectural emulation. However the Council is resolutely against foreign firms using naive young local architects as screens to practise illegally in Mauritius.
The Council is geared up to provide the proper environment and support to aspiring architects engaging in architectural studies and invested in a public awareness campaign to guide them towards accredited universities and degrees. Young architects coming back to the country with a passion for Architecture should not to go back abroad disenchanted or have the feeling that they have wrongly chosen their career. Much work has gone into defining the proper registration procedures to ensure that architects applying for registration have the required skills for professional practice. I have personally spearheaded the implementation of the long awaited log book and the accompanying registration board marking system which is an essential tool to assess the professional practice aptitudes of trainee architects before registering them as Professional Architects. The Registration Board under the chairmanship of Architect Raj Ramjit is doing a very methodical job to ensure compliance of documents and skills before releasing architects on the market.
The Council’s mission for the next mandate is to renovate the PAC premises, rebrand the PAC logo, get CPD on the rails, regular update of the website for dissemination of architectural and technical information, eradicate malpractices, harmonize legislations with other stakeholders of the construction industry, provide platforms for architectural emulation and act as an interface with the public authorities to foster good architecture.
There is so much to do. I am tempted to quote the words of Jesus: The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. Join us and join hands with us to advance architecture in our country. Mario Botta and colleagues have militated intensely for the Ticino province in Switzerland to become an open architectural museum. Together let’s contribute to the vision of making Mauritius known as an … architectural haven.
Chairperson January 2020