Do you want to be an Architect?

A few years ago I started a series of posts that were directed towards people who had an interest in either becoming an architect or now that they had finished school … what happens next? The intent when I started this series was to create a depository of answers to questions that people tended to email me – thinking I could just refer people to the post on the subject rather than having to recreate the answer over and over again. These posts have been created over a two-year period and I discovered that some people who wanted this information still couldn’t find it and I still found myself back where I started. Hopefully now that I have created a single page that will contain all of the posts that fall into the category of “Do you want to be an Architect” I can accomplish my original goal of the blind leading the blind.

What this page will not contain (because it seems to change with remarkable regularity) is anything to do with the act or process of getting licensed, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), Intern Development Program (IDP), or what college you should consider attending. Those things have to many moving parts to consider and (wah-wahhhhh) since I have been licensed for a while now, I don’t keep up with the changes.

If there is a topic you think you would like me to address, please feel free to send your suggestions to me – bob@lifeofanarchitect.com

In the meantime, I hope that this is a resource for those of you looking for some answers.

.

.

Do you want to be an Architect?

It takes a lot of commitment and desire to become an architect. Nobody becomes an architect because they think it sounds cool or they like to draw. There is a lot more to it and I think it needs to be a calling for you to even think you will experience any measurable success. Do you think you have what it takes to be an architect?

.

.

 The College Years 

When I tell people who I knew I wanted to be an architect by the time I was 5 years old, they think how lucky that must have been! But am I really so lucky? There was a time when I thought I had made a terrible decision, and I found myself struggling with the classes and the time and effort required to just to keep pace with my peers. (but I think this story has a happy ending)

.

.

Design Studio: Top 10 Things you should know

Architecture school is all about the studio. Whether you are new to design studio or a seasoned pro, there are a few things that I thought I would share with all you that dispel some commonly accepted ideas of what architecture studio really requires from its attendees. I think you might be surprised to read a few things on this list but I promise that you will be better off for having read this list.

.

.

What makes you a designer Bridge Section CAD Detail

What makes you a designer?

As a practicing architect. not everything I do is big picture design. From the overall time I spend working in the office, very little is – but good architecture isn’t always about the big killer idea. I consider coordinating a project and the details of the construction of that project integral to a successful design.

.

.

Handrail Bracket Sketch Detail

Drawing like an Architect

I am living proof that you don’t have to draw well to be an architect. Having the ability to draw beautiful pictures doesn’t hurt but let’s pull the curtain back and be honest here for a minute … Architects communicate through their drawings – we aren’t making art. As architect Lou Kahn once famously said, “an artist can make a cart with square wheels, but an architect can’t.”

.

.

money

How much money does an architect make?

Architects can make a great living but there is balance between money and happiness that must be found. This post contains a snapshot of some of the best places to work and what areas of the country pay the highest salary for architects. Before anybody starts whining and moaning about how architects are underpaid, let me tell you now that I don’t want to hear it. Teachers are underpaid.

.

.

The ‘Not so Sexy Side to Architecture’

There is a reality check coming for most graduating architecture students. Practicing architecture for 99.9% of the architects out there means something other than designing – at least what you might typically think design really means. The practice of architecture is more than sketching on trace paper, parti diagrams, deciding what pens to draw with, groupies, and last-minute trips to Vegas with the client. It means solving problems – sometimes incredibly mundane and uninspired – yet very important problems to the people who retain your services.

.

.

architectural and engineering scales

An Architect’s Tool Bag

To be an architect you must have specific tools to get the job done. Here is a look at the ones I use most often. Some (but not all) are clearly throw-backs tools that reflect the fact that I graduated from architecture school 20 years ago. Despite the fact that I am pretty good at AutoCAD, I didn’t put it on my list of tools. If I had made my list a little longer it probably would have showed up.

.

.

Architectural Interns

Here are some unique insights into how an architecture student can rise to the top of a pile of resumes and get that coveted architectural intern position. I also share with you the most abrasive and shocking story from my first day on the job at my first intern position. It’s Cuh ra zee! If we ever meet in person, you can buy me a beer and I’ll tell you who Boss #2 is from the story.

.

.

So there you go – the first collection of articles geared towards architecture students, architectural interns, and people interested in the process of what it takes to become an architect.  I will be setting this post up as a permanent page at the top of my site and will be adding posts to it as I see fit (which means when I actually write them). LIke I said in the beginning, this is supposed to be a resource for people so if you see a topic missing that you would like to see my thoughts on the subject are, just send me an email – bob@lifeofanarchitect.com

Cheers.

.

.

Print Friendly
  • Euphoria

    Well thank you for this article, and it has really made me think. I saw the studio and I got scared. I don’t really know what it is that I want to do, and I went for architecture because it sounded cool and I like the idea of designing skyscrapers and such. I don’t really know now. Ps I’m a freshman as of now, but I’m a very very very confused freshman. Please reply.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      First off, all freshman are confused – that’s not something unusual. If you are a freshman now, and it’s the very beginning of September, how much time have you given this? School just started for most people.

  • Brooke Grayson

    Hi Bob!

    My name is Brooke, I am president of AIAS at Wake Tech Community College and I really enjoy your blog. I’ve shared several posts in our chapter’s meetings and among my classmates. I am currently working on my portfolio and application for the Ba of Environmental Design (pre-professional degree) at North Carolina State University, College of Design and I was hoping you might have tips on putting together a portfolio that will increase my chances. :)

    My professors have been very helpful with sharing their projects from school and critiquing my work, but your methods of explaining are also helpful.

    Thanks,

    Brooke G.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      maybe this article I wrote on portfolios will be of some help –
      http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com/architectural-portfolios-and-their-true-purpose/

      I am assuming this is a getting a job portfolio of student work rather than an internal portfolio that’s part of your curriculum?

      • Brooke Grayson

        Thank you, the portfolio I am working on is for my application to design school. It’s not part of my curriculum at my school.

  • Sesa

    can you be an architect even if you didn’t know how to draw?

  • khaleel

    Hi I am khaleel ahmed I am from india. And I have completed my btech civil engineering and now I want to become an architecture or interior designer can any one say how it is possible

    • magdaline

      it is so possible it just depends on determination

  • marfran 21

    Hi Sir Bob,
    im just asking if you know anything about, how or where to study architecture in barcelona,spain?

  • Zuha Rashid

    Hey

    I am metric student ,I am inspired by a human nature of creation since childhood its my biggest dream to be an architect but My marks dose not allow so how can i do ??????

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I’m not sure I have an answer to your question. If you don’t have the grades to get a formal architectural education, maybe you can work your way in to the profession by becoming an architectural drafter and surrounding yourself within the architectural environment.

  • Steph Dunn

    Hi Bob!
    I found this blog very insightful, however I still have a few questions! I have been debating on weather to enroll in architecture school for the last few years. But the thing that is holding me back the most is some of the course material. Like calculus and physics. I’m not the best at math but I can draw very well. Right now I’m doing a business degree and I have a diploma in Graphic Design. So I guess my question is how difficult is the course material? What qualities are an asset to becoming an Architect? Thanks!

  • Hussein hayder

    Hi i finished my first year of architecture university in turkey and i work really hard, do u think i can find a good job after finishing my school and have a good money ? plz reply…

    • marfran 21

      studying architecture is not all about money.. it is a profession with a passion. if you work, just for a money, it is a “job”. but if you work with dedication it is a “profession”. i hope you understand what i meant.

  • Mary N

    Hi I’m starting college now and I am trying to pursue a career as an architect and there’s things that’s bothering me. I’ve done quite a lot of research on employment rate for architects and I keep seeing things such as “Reasons why NOT to be an architect” or “Architects are the TOP unemployed.” I know there are going to be tough challenges in school when I start but I know I’ll work my very best. Shall I change course? I really don’t know what to do…please help. Also, I live in California, do you think that other states or certain states deman architects more than the others?