Dear Dr. Architecture,
Just recently I came across your blog and I got really surprised to find out that I am not alone in my decision to change my career to become an architect. Even so my case is quite rare:
I am a 32-year-old medical doctor and researcher with no professional background in arts or architecture. I am currently in the final process of obtaining US immigrant visa under category of alien with exceptional abilities and I will have good chance to pursue my career as a medical scientist there.
However, through these years, I noticed that practicing medicine , under too many strict guidelines and protocols, would gradually deaden my creativity. Also conducting several researches on illness perception in patients with minor debilitating but major disfiguring skin diseases showed me how an individual's image of himself and surroundings may affect his quality of life.
In addition, thinking of the widening gap between rich and poor countries on architectural values and urban development, I was come up with considering international terrorism as a display of large scale vandalism by neglected citizens of the global village.
All of these together, brought me great interest in studying architecture. During the last year I participated in some non-accredited courses of free drawing, watercolor and ink, perspective and architectural rendering. I have also begun to read some books about architecture.
Thanks to your valuable blog I realized that I would have the opportunity to apply for some graduate courses of architecture in US, but still I do not know how I should prepare a portfolio to have a reasonable chance of success. Also I do not know how I should articulate my SOP to justify my decision to study architecture.
Since I obviously missed the opportunity to participate in this year summer programs, would it be possible for me to find a voluntary work position in an architectural department or firm as a chance to develop a portfolio and obtain some recommendations?
I really appreciate the time you spend to read my long email and I would be grateful of your guidance.
It may not be too late to participate in a summer program. Check out the list on ARCHCareer.org for a list of them.
As it is against federal law, I would not suggest you volunteer for an architecture firm; there are many others ways to learn more about the discipline. Instead, you may wish to contact a firm to shadow for a day to learn.
For assistance on your portfolio, visit -- www.portfoliodesign.com -- You may wish to consider taking additional freehand drawing course as many graduate programs require it. Plus, by taking a course, you can gain a recommendation from the instructor.
Another book to consider is Becoming an Architect, 2nd edition.
Depending on where you are, visit schools; many have open houses in the fall.