How NCARB is Evolving and Growing with Kristine Harding

On today’s episode of the Young Architect Podcast, former National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) President and Architect, Kristine Harding joins Michael to discuss her career, aviation architecture, and the evolution of NCARB.

Kristine Harding Young Architet Podcast How NCARB is Evolving and Growing with Kristine Harding Podcast

Architect and Former NCARB President Kristine Harding

Growing up, Kristine’s parents had always dreamed of building a house on a piece of property that they owned. Eventually, discussion of constructing this home would prompt Kristine’s own interest in architecture. As early as high school, she began to take drafting classes.

As a hard-working student and athlete, it was no surprise that Kristine would want to continue to pursue her two interests. Though it seemed nearly impossible at first, she was able to attend Rice University in Houston, Texas with a scholarship to play volleyball and study architecture.

Since receiving her license in architecture, Kristine has been heavily involved in aviation architecture at the Huntsville International Airport in Alabama as well as helping NCARB grow and develop into the organization that it is today.

During her time as NCARB President and continuing today, she has been helping the latest NCARB committee, the Futures Task Force. This committee’s main task is to consider the future of the architecture career and the term, “regulation” will mean. They’re focusing on what might happen within the next 100 years and what needs to happen in the next 10-15 years.

Since 2010, Kristine has been the Vice President and Office Director of KPS Group. Besides aviation architecture, she’s very excited about their latest project of creating a working farm environment at Oakwood University. This place will be called Oakwood Farms and will provide community gardens, events, as well as sustainable, environmental friendly architecture. 

What You’ll Hear on This Episode 

  • Her experience as an NCARB President.
  • What she’s done for NCARB and what she’s still doing today.
  • Her college experience as both an architecture student and a volleyball player with a scholarship at Rice University.
  • Moving from state to state with a young family and taking the NCARB exams in different states.
  • Why licensing changes from state to state and how get reciprocity with the NCARB certificate.
  • What the NCARB exam was like back in the 80s and 90s compared to today.
  • Kristine’s experience with aviation architecture.
  • Learn about the NCARB committee – The Futures Task Force.
  • Kristine’s experience observing the process of creating the latest ARE 5.0 exam.
  • The immense amount of work and talented people it took to develop the new ARE 5.0 exam.
  • What lessons NCARB has learned from the past and how they’ve evolved.

Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode 

  1. Pushing through the ARE exams can be a great method. Rather than waiting until you feel that you’re actually ready for them, just take the first step to completing them. If you have other plans, that’s fine too, but know what’s right for you and feel good about.
  1. NCARB offers a lot of great benefits to young architects whether through the Integrated Path to Architectural licensure (IPAL) program, receiving reciprocity to practice architecture in different states, and receiving an NCARB certificate.
  1. There are so many different and exciting ways to practice architecture that doesn’t just involve common buildings. Like Kristine, you can help improve airports or environmentally, sustainable buildings to help improve your local community.

Kristine Harding’s Advice for Aspiring Architects

“I think it’s important to get the AREs done to get the license to practice architecture, but I also understand that some things come along that are really desirable. That might include taking a summer to travel in Europe and that’s fine. However, when you have the decision to make as far as how you complete your experience or start your exams, just own that decision. Know that there’s a lot of flexibility out there for doing that.

Also, once you get licensed, NCARB will give you their certificate to practice in different states for free and I want everyone to get that. Maybe not for my generation, but for the new generation, moving around is a lot more common and it’s important to have that reciprocity. So, make sure you get that NCARB certificate because otherwise it’s $1,100.”

Favorite Quotes

“As soon as you can start taking some of the ARE exams, do so. It’s good to take them once you’re out of school and you still have all of that knowledge fresh in your mind.” – Kristine Harding’s advice on when to take the ARE exams.

“We have so many great volunteers with lots of experience that we want to draw on, but we want to get some new blood and we want to get younger people involved. We want to make sure that when you look around at an NCARB annual meeting, that you’re not just seeing white haired males. We’re really looking to diversify our volunteers.” – Kristine Harding on the importance of having a diverse group of volunteers at NCARB.

“It’s been great to see how NCARB has really been keeping up with the trends and evolving according to what’s going on in the world.” – Michael Riscica on how NCARB has been successfully evolving and adapting to modern times.

“We have a great team at NCARB and I’m really proud that NCARB has gotten to the point of where it’s at and has been able to keep up with technology. All of that is really because of the great, young culture within the NCARB staff and they’re constantly trying to push everybody to try to get out there and embrace new ways of communication.” – Kristine Harding on how far NCARB has come with keeping up with technology and communication.

Resources Mentioned in the Show


Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, Founder and Head Coach of the ARE Boot Camp Coaching Program & Online Study Group.

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