Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lateral Entry into Architecture

Originally ten years ago i wanted to study architecture, but i wasn't sure about it and the general opinion about job-possibilites after graduation was bad at that time, similar to nowadays. Looking back now i know that it was a bad idea to let me influence through these opinions. I'm now 31 have a bachelor degree in sportscience and business administration and working in marketing for an IT company. So far it doesn't sound bad, but i'm totally unhappy with it. I've a good spatial sense, good taste concerning colours, pattern and i can draw good (especially when it goes into detail and
exact proportions of objects), so I want to use this talent to create space, buildings, interiour.

I'm thinking about studying again, this time architecture. But if it would be possible i would do rather a master degree than a bachelor one, of course i do not want to waste any time anymore. I tried to find some examples of people who started as well late with architecture and earn enough money to make a living, but i couldn't. I'm curious about your opinion. Do you know anybody at this age who went
into architecture? -what do you think about Master Degrees (3 Years) which are designed for people who have no architecture background so far? Which of these are recommendable? An important point is as well the question about the financing. Without studentship and additional work i won't be able to afford it.

Therefore I'm thinking about alternatives. Is there any design field which is complementary to architecture and maybe easier to access and in demand?

Any advise and hints are helpful!

Although you are a little older (31), you can still pursue your dream of becoming an architect.  Given you have a degree albeit in another discipline, you can pursue the Master of Architecture (3-4 years) for individuals that have a degree in another discipline.  For a list of programs that offer such a degree, visit both NAAB ( and  Just be sure you pursue an accredited degree as it is necessary for licensure.

In my almost 20 years of working in three different architecture programs (IIT, Maryland, and University of Illinois).  I have know plenty of individuals who were your age or older.  Philip Johnson, one of the greatest architects in the 20th century did not become an architect until 39; he practiced until his death in his 90s.  Other than the financial impact, I would not worry about your age - besides, you have something that other do not - another degree.

Most graduate programs do offer assistantships and fellowships, but you would need to check with individual programs.  Given your background, you may be able to contribute to the program.

As for other career fields connected to architecture, you may consider any of the following:

Interior Design

Construction Management
Landscape Architecture
Urban Planning
Graphic Design
Product Design

You may also try to pursue employment in a design firm doing what you do now.  You would not be doing architecture, but you would be engaged in the environment.

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