Saturday, July 24, 2010

Architecture Career Questions

Thank you for creating such a helpful and aesthetic website. ARCHcareers has helped me navigate the architecture industry through the plethora of resources. However, I have quite a dilemma that I felt you may be able to provide some insight on. Currently I am working as an intern at a major investment bank in Manhattan. I always thought I wanted to pursue finance, and to be fair, it is interesting. However, I feel as if architecture must be an integral part of my life at some point. I cannot stop looking up out here or researching every skyscraper I come across.

I am majoring in Finance at SMU in Dallas, but have realized they do not offer an Architecture program (other than art history). I have absolutely no background in architecture but have a basic knowledge of the field. The only reason I feel so strongly about a career is architecture is because I think I would be good at it. My other career endeavors were driven by needs not entirely fit. I've always had architecture in the back of my mind.

A degree in architecture and certification I think are the very basic qualifications. Following that would probably be an internship and full-time job at a major firm like SMO. Are there other paths to be taken? I have an impressive pedigree otherwise having studied at Oxford University, maintaining a perfect GPA, remaining close with several politicians, and now at one of the most reputable firms on Wall Street. I fear it may be too late to transfer (I am technically a junior in the fall but really I am younger and on the 3 yr plan).

I have infinite ambitions and intense dedication in everything I truly enjoy doing. I think it would be one of the most fulfilling and satisfying careers out there. If I could sum up my thoughts of architecture I would use the following quote by Philip Johnson:

"I like the thought that what we are to do on this earth is embellish it for its greater beauty," he said, "so that oncoming generations can look back to the shapes we leave here and get the same thrill that I get in looking back at theirs -- at the Parthenon, atChartres Cathedral."

Please let me know if you have any suggestions, thoughts, or alternative ideas about breaking into the architecture field and moving up quickly. Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

I very much appreciate your comments on ARCHCareers; given your interest in becoming an architect, may I also suggest you obtain Becoming an Architect, 2nd edition available from You may also wish to review the blog --

Given your desire is to now become an architect, you will wish to pursue an accredited degree in architecture. You may either complete your studies in finance or any B.A./B.S. degree to than pursue a Master of Architecture (3-4 years) designed for those with an undergraduate in a discipline other than architecture. For a list of programs visit and/or --. During the remainder of your undergraduate studies, you will want to pursue art/drawing courses as you will need to submit a portfolio as part of your MArch application.

As well, I would try to visit architecture programs either in NY during the remainder of your internship or in Texas upon your return to Dallas in the fall. Ask lots of question of faculty and current architecture students.


Dr. Architecture

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