According to the sources, the day-long ‘Be Your Own Handyman’ session, scheduled to take place later this year, would include a presentation on how to complete ‘simple maintenance tasks’ in the home.
Details leaked to the AJ reveal that the event, to be held at a branch of Focus DIY in Barnet, would also include workshops for ‘absolute beginners’ where participants will learn how to put up a shelf straight and even a take part in an elementary woodworking class.
But the institute is facing a backlash after architects said the event on International Men’s Day, which is celebrated across the globe on 19 November, reinforced ‘stereotypical’ gender roles.
While some criticised the DIY classes for implying maintenance was the ‘responsibility of men’, others were offended at the idea they might require help in the home, especially considering the years spent qualifying for the title of architect.
Rome and London-based architect Sterrios Tipe told the AJ: ‘I’ve spent eight years in total qualifying to become an architect and during my 20-year career have worked on some seriously complex buildings.
‘I designed an ultra-thin I-beam cantilever system to support a 15-storey CLT building over a complex series of Grade II-listed cellars. So to be offered an archaic and misconceived course which tells me how to put up a plywood shelf is frankly demeaning. It is regressive and misjudged.’
Arthur Jobbe, creative director of east London-based Blinn Kerr Design said: ‘Can they really be serious? Not only is it being suggested that home improvement is a man’s realm but that we aren’t very good at it. Has anyone actually thought this through?’
However, Ian Makita-Lathe of UN Reconstruction said he was looking forward to the event. ‘It is about time that we got over all this PC clap-trap,’ he told the AJ.
‘What is wrong with having an event like this; or a pipe and slippers day for men? My wife was genuinely disappointed when the cookery classes in Mayfair were cancelled. She’d sorted the childcare out so she could go too.’
At the time of writing a petition to stop the ‘Be Your Own Handyman’ event had amassed 20,000 signatories.