Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Canadian Degree

Dear Dr. Architecture,

If I were to graduate from an accredited MArch program in Canada, would I be able to take my licensure exam and work within the U.S.?



Below is a statement from the NCARB Handbook for Interms and Architects. As you can see, a degree from Canada (CACB accredited) will allow you to gain the NCARB Certificate but you will need to contact each state to check their requirements. You can access their requirements from the NCARB website -- www.ncarb.org --

In most cases, the answer should be YES.

You must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) not later than two years after your graduation, or hold a professional degree in architecture, certified by the CACB, from a Canadian university.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Becoming an Intern

I am soon to be a junior in high school. As I was reading how to become an intern and the requirements to become one it said that the person would have to bring in resume and a portfolio of some of their work to show the interviewers. Does this apply to high school students as well? Just curious. Thank you!

It depends. If you are seeking an internship as defined by the profession -- a full-time employment opportunity, the answer would be YES. When seeking an internship, you are demonstrating your skills and abilities through the resume and portfolio to the potential employer.

However, for high school students seeking internships that may be during the summer, the answer could be NO; of course, I would think that these HS students should have a resume, but may not have a portfolio. These internships might be for the summer or only for a week or two. In these cases, a portfolio may not be required, but it could be helpful.

Writing a resume is not at all difficult, but does take time. At minimum, list out your high school, accomplishments, etc. It will be more difficult to do a portfolio, but you can start by collecting your drawings or creative work. Check out -- www.portfoliodesign.com to ideas.

A final word -- if you bring a resume and portfolio to a meeting with an employer, you will have an advantage over your classmates. Also, consider obtaining Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design.

Dr. Architecture

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cost of Higher Education

With the price of college these days, what are the positives and negatives of going to a local State college (that does not offer architecture as a major, but does offer art) for two years to get some core classes out of the way (and saving money) and then finishing the final years at an architecture school? My daughter is finishing up her Junior year in High School and the reality of college tuition is getting scary!!! Thank you.

You suggestion is certainly a probable one but I wonder if there is a public institution in your state that does have an architecture program. Visit -- www.naab.org -- and -- www.archschools.org -- for a list of accredited architecture programs.

The positives of attending the local state college are certainly lower cost but the transfer of credits may be a negative that overrides the decision. You truly have to think through to the architecture program to which your daughter will transfer to ensure that she takes the correct courses for transfer. As well, the degree program to which this will probably works best is the pre-professional Bachelor of Science (or similar) and the accredited Master of Architecture. You can make this certainly happen but you will want to truly plan the first two years carefully to ensure admission to an architecture as a junior.

Obviously, if she lived at home, your family could save additional monies, but sometimes the experience of college if more than just academics.

To become an architect, you need an accredited degree. Aside from the idea listed above, another option would be to complete a degree (in art or another discipline) as an undergraduate saving more monies and attend the graduate accredited Master of Architecture (3-4 years). Sure, it postpones the true study of architecture until graduate studies, but it probably saves more monies. Plus, there is typically more financial aid at the graduate level.

Also, you should still consider attending architecture school directly from high school even if you have to go out-of-state as are not considered for financial aid (merit or need) unless you apply. I worked for IIT (Chicago); we had one full-tuition scholarship for the full five year BArch. One year, I was able to convince a student who would have never considered IIT because of the scholarship. She applied, was admitted and won the scholarship. Where do you think she attended. Remember, more than 50% of college students receive financial aid.

Dr. Architecture

Monday, June 1, 2009

Artistic Ability

I am a member of the class of 2010 at my school, and am interested in looking at architecture when I apply to college in the fall, and I had an important question.

As a student, I have excelled in almost all fields. It is my understanding that an architect would need to excel in mathematics, speech and English, and art. While I do extremely well in both math and English, a major problem for me is art. I have never been much of an artist at all, and I have never had the opportunity to take any art classes at my school (it's an old fashioned college prep school, that doesn't really offer art). I feel that I am fairly proficient at drawing diagrams and graphs, or anything else that I would need for math class (trigonometry, geometry, or calculus), but I see myself as an absolutely horrible creative or "picture" drawing type.

In short, I am not artistically gifted in any way. BUT I do have an interest and architecture, and feel that any architecture diagrams or drawings I have seen are "different" then what a person would normally think of as art. It is my understanding that they usually involve straight lines, careful measurements, and extreme attention to detail. I think that even with my lack of artistic ability, these would be conquerable obstacles, but I'm really not sure. Like I said, I think I am good at mechanical drawing, but as far as "creative" drawing, I am a complete failure. This is not to say that I don't have a creative mind, but if I was asked to draw a nature scene or anything like that, I would fall flat on my face.

So I guess the question overall is, would I be able to pursue a career in architecture, even with my lack of artistic abilities?

Your self-description sounds much like me when I was graduating from high school. I excelled in mathematics and science but had not artistic abilities. Unlike you, I did have access to art courses but still did not feel I was any good.

Bottom line, you can still become an architect and should strongly consider architecture as a major to choose for college.

As you have determined, architecture is both a science and an art, but you do not necessarily excel in both. I often counsel prospective students that it takes three attributes to pursue architecture in college -- 1) intelligence, which is not necessarily a perfect 4.00 GPA, 2) creativity, which does not mean you can draw like an angel, and 3) commitment because the major is demanding. The best part of this is that you only truly need two of the three to succeed. Your strong interest in the subject can be a great asset.

With that said, it does not mean that you do not use or need artistic talent because you do. In fact, you will take freehand drawing courses. Do not think that it is all done on the computer as the computer screen is just a fancy blank piece of paper. Although, your high school does not offer art courses, teach drawing to your self. Purchase a sketchbook and just draw items in your household for 20-30 minutes per day. One reason you do not have drawing abilities is that you have not developed those skills. Also, approach your school or a teacher that can support your desire to draw. Try to avoid CAD or mechanical drafting because that is not architecture.

Trust me, you are not a failure when it comes to creativity. You simply need to develop those creative skills. Take time this summer to break out of your comfort zone and draw. Do not be self-critical of your work as it does take time. Learn to draw what you can see with your eyes as it is a skill you need to draw what you cannot see, i.e., what is in your mind -- your ideas.

Depending on where you live, try to find an architect that can mentor you and introduce you to the profession. I did a senior project where I worked in an office two afternoons a week.

This discussion can also dictate that institution that you may select as architecture programs are varied. Research programs through -- www.naab.org or -- www.archschools.org --. Consider obtaining Becoming an Architect: A Candid Guide to Careers in Design to help in your search.

Dr. Architecture