NCARB Partners with AIAS to Improve Accessible Design in Underserved Communities

Through a series of grants and mentorship opportunities, NCARB will help support architecture students involved with the AIAS Freedom by Design program.

Washington, DC—Architecture students across the country will have improved access to the tools and resources needed to enhance their communities, thanks to a new partnership between the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS).

During the 2016-2017 school year, NCARB will support the AIAS and its Freedom by Design program by providing local chapters with grants for building materials, as well as mentorship opportunities with members of state licensing boards and local architecture firms. Developed by the AIAS, the volunteer-based program empowers architecture students to improve the safety and accessibility of homes, community spaces, and playgrounds through sensitive design.

“NCARB is honored to support a program that prepares the next generation of architects for real-world practice while giving back to the community,” said NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong. “Through Freedom by Design, students can see firsthand how their future profession can improve the public’s welfare.”

To launch the partnership, AIAS leadership and students from the University of Oregon hosted a design charrette at NCARB’s Annual Business Meeting in Seattle. Licensing board members brainstormed solutions to an upcoming project with Mercy Corps Northwest, which will help inform students’ efforts in their community.

"Freedom by Design is one of the best available opportunities for students to acquire real-world experience in design, construction, project management, budgeting, client and consultant relations, teamwork, and leadership,” said AIAS Executive Director Nick Serfass, AIA, CAE. “Teaming with NCARB to support the growth and development of Freedom by Design means supporting the growth and development of the next generation of architects."

Students who participate in Freedom by Design can use their experience to satisfy requirements for the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), the program designed to guide licensure candidates through the early stages of their career.

To learn more about Freedom by Design, visit



The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.


About AIAS

The American Institute of Architecture Students is a non-profit, student-run organization dedicated to programs, information and resources on issues critical to architecture and the experience of education. For more information, visit