Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Biology to Architecture

I've been embarking on the potential transition into the architecture field.  I'd be applying to 3 to 4 year first professional master's programs.  I have a B.S. in biology and have worked/volunteered in a myriad of different positions (hospital-oriented, research, industrial biology/agriculture, zoological park).  I currently work for a publishing company which publishes job leads for companies in the construction business which has given me an superficial overview of the construction field.  
Over the years, I felt like I was missing something from these pursuits.  I came to find that it was creativity which these ventures lacked, and I yearned for it in my work.  I started delving into my artistic side and have become increasingly fascinated with ecological/sustainable design movement in the built environment, both of which led me to architecture.  I'm currently taking an architectural drafting course at a community college, have taken a sustainable design course, and I'm enrolled in a summer program in environmental design.  I was fortunately granted a scholarship to attend.  

I am wondering if you could add any insight to whether or not sustainable hospital design would be a good route to focus my architectural studies.  I have years of experience working in hospitals and have volunteered abroad in undeserved medical clinics.  I thought my background may come into play with designing and might also be a way to distinguish myself from a crowd in the work force.  I have read that hospital design and sustainable development are the most widely researched areas in the architecture field now-a-days.  I'm concerned that narrowing my focus may not be a good idea though.  Is it important to make yourself unique in the architecture field and, if so, how would you suggest doing that?

Also, what are the most common portfolio pieces that are submitted to grad programs from people who have no experience in art or architecture?  This will be a challenge for me. 

Any advice would be appreciated.  

Thanks for your time,
First, congrats on your decision to pursue architecture.

In one respect, I would caution you on too narrowly focusing your career at this early stage.  I do grant you that healthcare and sustainability are hot topics/markets that should continue for the near-term future.  You may wish to contact the following for your career path.


With that said, I would suggest that you pursue a broad set of interests within architecture so you can react to any changes in the economy/market.

As for portfolios, submit creative work (not necessarily architecture).  This can include art, freehand drawing, painting, etc.  At minimum, contact the programs to which you are applying to gain insight from them.  Finally, review the book/website -
http://www.portfoliodesign.com -.

Best!  Do contact me if you have further questions.

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