Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to start the journey to becoming an Architect

I'm a freshman in high school in southern Oklahoma. I want to become an architect but don't know where to start or what to do.

First, congratulations on your desire to become an architect.

At your stage in your high school career, I would suggest what is listed below to begin in your journey as outlined in my book, Becoming an Architect

I wish you the best and keep asking me questions if you have any.

Preparation: High School
The process of becoming an architect can take ten to fifteen years from entering an architecture program to passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).

Academic Coursework
Because becoming an architect requires a college education (in most states), your high school academic curriculum should focus on college preparatory courses, including four years of English and mathematics. Pursue as many honors and advanced placement (AP) courses as possible; by taking and passing advanced placement exams, you receive college credit and bypass required entry-level courses.

While the mathematics requirement varies among architecture programs, most either require or encourage you to take calculus. You should pursue or take the highest-level math course your high school offers.

Although some high schools do not require or offer physics, you should take an entire year of high school physics rather than biology or chemistry if you can possibly arrange it. A good year-long physics course is excellent preparation for college physics and structures courses.

In addition, take art, drawing, and design classes rather than architectural drafting or CAD. Your interest in architecture may surface due to a drafting course, but drafting is not as helpful in your skill development as art classes. Art, drawing, and design courses develop visual aptitude and literacy while expanding your ability to communicate graphically. 

Beside academics, what can you do to begin your preparation for a career in architecture? Consider the following: (a) exploration of the built environment; (b) visits to architecture firms and schools; (c) participating in a summer program sponsored by an architecture program; and (d) participating in an after-school program. All these provide you a head start on the path to becoming an architect.

An important skill to acquire in becoming an architect is the ability to see. By learning to observe buildings, spaces, and their relationships, you become sensitive to issues that concern architects. Explore your surroundings by looking closely at the built environment every day.

One way to develop your drawing skills is to dedicate a specific amount of time — one or two hours — per day to sketching. Be committed to drawing each day. Practice, practice, and practice!

Begin reading books, magazines, and newspapers articles on architecture and the profession of architecture. Check your local public library for ideas.
Tour the design studios of a nearby school of architecture to become acquainted with the experiences of an architecture student. Speak with students about what they do. If possible, attend a few classes to learn about the courses you may take.
Many colleges and universities offer summer programs designed for high school students who desire to learn about the field of architecture. Lasting from one to several weeks, these programs are an excellent opportunity to determine if architecture is the right career choice. Most include design, drawing, and model-building assignments, field trips to firms or nearby buildings, and other activities. These can all assist you in determining if architecture is for you. Summer programs are also a good way to learn about the regular architecture program of that particular school.

After-school Programs
Another program that exposes you to the profession is the ACE (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) Mentor Program of America. ACE is an after-school program for high school students interested in learning about career opportunities in architecture, engineering, and construction management. Throughout the school year, students are matched with professionals on a project that suits their interests. Other extracurricular programs include the Boy Scouts of America Explorer Post, Odyssey of the Mind, and others. 



Architect and Drafting Ransome said...

Before entering college I have a plan being an Architect but unfortunately I haven't given a chance to have this kind of profession :(

Unknown said...

i am aastha and i am i class 11 and i want to become an architect and i don't know what i have to do. please guide me what all i should do from now..

Unknown said...

i'm saalim , i have completed the A-level with 3 simple pass and completed the Ddraughtsman diploma and CAD as well, now i wanna to fallow the Architectural degree what so please give me a proper guidance and requirement for my career.

Unknown said...

I'm a grade 10 learner and have the interest to study architecture. what steps do i take to start making this a reality for me. I live in a country called Namibia and would like to study in England overseas, do i need a scholarship for this???