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.

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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?

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 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)

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • Anna Defilippo

    Hi Bob, I’m 42, I’m thinking of changing my career to becoming an architect, I only have GCSE qualification, iv been an magistrate for 14 years, iv run a very successful hair and beauty salon. In you’re opinion, what is the best way to start? Can I train on the job in a firm?
    Anna

  • Richard Chamberlin

    Hi Bob, I look to primarily being a Gym-Floor planner/designer. 2D/3D with animation, visualization. gym equipment. I love Ecdesign for all the gym planning out there; however, that market is most taken by national equipment companies whom have downloadable software for the consumer. I have a degree is business and communications and want to be a the “interior designer” of all gyms around the world. Where should I start in the Western U.S and work up to as my first step? Thanks
    Richard

  • Shang Hong Tan

    Hey mrBob,
    I am wondering if i shud continue on fighting for being an architect or not
    I strive to become one currently but i do not have a solid reason of becoming one
    I jz enjoy being a leader and wanna to make dreams real.
    Is tht enough to be my reason to keep going ?
    I dont have much gifted skills on drawing or ideas on buildings tho
    Creativity jz aint my thing
    But i would love to construct the best thing i could with everything i have does tht count as one of the *talent* ?

  • Sofia Winston

    Hi Bob, I wanted to know how much does architect pay yearly?What city should I live in?Also what is the average cost for living in this city

    • More than most, not as much as some. Salary depends on location and skill set.
      You should live where you want to live if possible.
      I wouldn’t have a clue how expensive it is to live in the unknown city where you want to live.

  • Varshini Balaji

    Hi Bob,
    I come from a country in South Asia where the only jobs that people are expected to join are Doctor or Teacher. From my childhood I have been passionate about architecture and I would love to become one, but there is no scope for it from the country I come so is there a good scope for this profession

  • Ross

    Hey Bob, I’m thinking of being an architecht when I finish high school is there any requirements I need to graduate with?

    • I suppose that depends on the college you plan on attending

  • Thalles Oliveira

    Hi, Bob!

    I have a big decision to make and would like your opinion on it. I left architecture when starting my second year of it because I hated the math, physics, topography and all technical side of it (also because I was really bad at it), but I liked the art and the social studies one. I got into architecture because I love to draw and I love design and art in all forms, so I thought architecture could be the thing. When I left, I was decided to go for Industrial Design (which I’m really crazy about), but now, a friend of mine, who is an architecture student, kind of convinced me to give it another try in the university where she studies. So should I really give up because of the math and all that and because of the feeling that “this is not artistic enough for me”, or another chance is valid?