Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Salary Information

I am writing from the Human Resources Department of Foster + Partners. 
We are currently undertaking some research into the salaries we would look to pay Architects based in New York at varying levels

Are you able to advise on salary information be able to advise where I might be able to find this information?

Determining salaries/benefits is not an easy task given the current economic climate.  As I advise job seekers, when interviewing potential candidates, you need to have a target salary, but an option is to certainly ask the questions -- what is your expected salary?

Below are some resources you may wish to research.

Architect Magazine - April 2010

Design Intelligence - Compensation and Benefits Survey 2011

ZweigWhite Salary Survey 2011 (expensive resource)

I do hope this is helpful.
Dr. Architecture

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Best MArch Program

Which is the best Master of Architecture program?

There is no "best" master of architecture program.  Instead, develop a set of criteria by which you will make the decision and compare possible programs against your criteria.  For example, is location important or ability to study abroad - perhaps it is the faculty credentials or facilities.  There is only one "best" master of architecture program -- it is the one you select.

To research architecture programs, visit and --

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Coming to work in the U.S.

I'm a young Portuguese architect that is trying to relocate to the U.S to find a job opportunity in architecture. I got my master degree in 2009, done my full year internship in Portugal and I am now member of the Portuguese Architects Institute and so far made a few works, including got short listed for an exhibit in the Lisbon Architecture Triennale on a competition project.

I was planing to live abroad for a few years to develop my architecture and open my way of thinking and for that reason the U.S and his difference in many aspects in architecture compared to Europe is my first choice.

This is the reason why I'm sending this email to you, to find some help in finding places to work in the U.S, and to know what should be the best approach to the employers.

I'll be looking forward to hear from you.
Congrats on your recent degree and becoming a member of the Portuguese Architects Institute.

I appreciate your desire to work in the U.S., but do realize that the job market for architects is a very difficult one now.  You will need to be very proactive and diligent in your search.

There are many sources for researching firms and possible opportunities, but a good place to start would be the American Institute of Architects, both the national association and the local components around the country.

Most of the AIA components (listed above) have job boards as well as a list of firms in their locale.  You can research firms and contact them accordingly.

Here are a few others.
Architect Search
...founded in 1998, this executive recruiting firm specializes in placing architects across the US. You can review many positions they are working to fill or merely submit a resume for consideration in future searches.
Architect Job Source site with links to architectural firms throughout the US. Select your state then city to see the list, which will connect you to the firm's website for review of jobs and submission of applications. Washington DC is listed under Virginia. Yes, I sent the owner a note about that.
...developed in 1997 by Paul Petrunia, "the goal of Archinect is to make architecture more connected and open-minded, and bring together designers from around the world to introduce new ideas from all disciplines." The Jobs board has listings for architects, interns, model makers, systems managers, and others needed by architecture, construction, and design firms.
In terms of approaching employers, there are many resources on job searching in books, the web, and other resources.  You will want to develop a resume and portfolio to provide to firms.

Wishing you the best!

Work Abroad

I am a U.S. B.Arch student who is interested in working internationally. I want to work in a variety of locations, probably at one firm with offices in many places throughout the world, or that just does jobs in many locations. What sort of licensing, certificate or accreditation might I look at to help me meet this goal?  Do you have any recommendations about types of Architecture course work to pursue? I saw a reference to a "broadly experienced foreign architect" but it was fleeting.

Thanks for any information you can give.

Congrats on your interest in working abroad.

Your best bet will be to secure employment in a U.S. based firm that has offices throughout the world or other locations.  Whether or not you can get transferred to the international office is dependent on the firm.  In those instances, the firm will do the paperwork to allow you to work abroad.

If you simply wanted to work in an overseas, I would think you would need a work visa from the country.  To determine that process, you would need to contact the country directly.  It is a difficult process just as it is difficult for a foreigner to work in the U.S.

"broadly experienced foreign architect" (BEFA) is a process for a foreign architect to become licensed in the U.S.  Visit -- -- for more details.

Best in your international work search.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Becoming an Architect - First Step

I was interested in some advice and information regarding architecture. I am currently 25 years of age, didn’t have the opportunity to finish high school but, I receive my G.E.D. I was just wondering what a person in my situation would do to start my track to become an architect. I have the drive and motivation to do what needs to be done just need to be set on the right track. Any info will be much needed and helpful thanks again.

As you are at the beginning, a great place to start is both and the book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.

Of course, the first step is to fully understand the path - 1) education, 2) experience, and 3) exam.  Also, if possible set-up an information interview with an architect to learn first hand the profession.

The true first step is education - you will need to determine which education path is best for you and start the application process to architecture programs.  It may be worth starting at a community college with general education courses and transfer to a program later.

To explore programs, visit or

This will get you started.  Feel free to write back with more detailed questions.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grad School Program Options

I'm currently enrolled in 5th yr. of B.arch at Manipal University, India. I'll be finishing my undergrad in May 2012 and want to apply for M.Arch in the fall of 2012 in US. I'm interested in Residential architecture as well as Urban planning and designing but I'm unable to decide if I should go for M.Arch or for MUP or for a dual degree. Could you tell me what should I be expecting upon graduation from a MUP or a M.arch program in terms of my career?

I also came across an option which interests me a lot i.e. doing a dual of M.Arch + M.B.A. What would be my scope of work with that ? And to apply for a MBA dual do I have to give a GMAT exam along with my TOEFL and GRE?

When applying to a school, would you suggest applying for a dual program from the start or is it wiser to take a switch to it later?

Thank you for your time. Looking forward to hear from you.

A - My expertise is in architecture not urban planning.  For that reason, I would suggest visit the American Planning Assn. website -- -- to learn more about planning as a career and what you can expect from a MUP. 

In terms of a MArchitecture, you must decide if you wish to obtain the professional MArch degree from a U.S. institution that would provide the education necessary to pursue licensure in the U.S. states or if you wish to pursue the M.S. in Architecture which is a post-professional degree for individuals with a degree in architecture.

For both MArch/MBA and MArch/MUP, I have provided documents of potential programs. I suggest you reach out to the specific programs to learn more.  You will find that most MBA programs require the GMAT and many architecture programs require GRE, however double check on TOEFL as many programs do not require it for candidates from India.

Many students pursue a dual program; whether you pursue it at the beginning or later depends on you and what you desire.


Dr. Architecture

Monday, June 20, 2011

IDP Experience

How do you go about getting work for the Intern Development Program (IDP) credit if there are no jobs around? Who can I network with I have skills and experience and a BA Architecture degree. 

First, I suggest you fully review the October 2010 IDP Guidelines as posted on the NCARB website.  Assuming you have a NCARB Council Record which is necessary to document experience and have a IDP Mentor, you can gain experience (IDP credit) in some categories.

Effective October 2010, you can experience (up to a maximum) from Design Competitions, Community Based Design Center, and a Site Visit with a mentor.

You may also gain credit from the Emerging Professionals Companion (EPC) and AIA Continuing Education (see below from Guidelines

Effective 1 January 2010
Interns, whether or not employed in a qualified work setting, may earn elective hours by completing AIA-approved continuing education resources and programs. Self-reported continuing education is not eligible for IDP credit.
l One AIA learning unit earns one elective IDP hour.

For more details, contact your IDP Educator Coordinator or State Coordinator.  For a list, visit NCARB.

Dr. Architecture

Art History to Architecture - Graduate Program Search

As I've  been looking for information about MArch programs, I've been referred to your blog by other websites on multiple occasions and found your responses to be very helpful. I decided to send you a personal email after I saw a post from that listed your email address. I am an art history major from DePauw University, a small liberal arts college not too far from University of Illinois, seeking help with refining my MArch school search.
I am searching for a program that includes constructablity and sustainability in their curriculum, and focuses less on theory.  As I've been looking at different programs, I am drawn to the schools that have their students working on community projects as a part of the curriculum. For example, the University of Washington, one of their student's studios focused on an "urban village," which looked at a section of land in an up and coming section of Seattle and created a school that responded to the community's needs.  Ultimately, after I graduate I want to work in disaster areas, rebuilding communities that were destroyed. I've looked into what people are rebuilding the Joplin communities, but only could find references to funding and the EPA. I found an organization called "Make It Right," which is an organization working to rebuild the lower 9th ward in New Orleans (
I am just wondering if I am on the right track because I'm a little stuck. I have been researching programs but not sure how to advance my search and narrow it down to the schools that will emphasize the area of architecture I'm interested in pursuing. I know University of Texas- Austin, has electives that focus on low cost housing, sustainability and other topics that would be helpful. Can you offer any suggestions on refining my search? Am I on the right track? Do you have any programs that would match my interests?  I noticed that some programs focus primarily on design, but I would like a program that focuses on the social and environmental implications of building as well. Lastly, I've read about the design-build theories that link construction and design very closely. Are there any programs that focus on this model more than others?
Thanks for your time and I'm looking forward to hearing back from you. I really appreciate any advice or suggestions that you can give! 

Thanks for your detailed question; I will do what I can to provide you some assistance.

First, I applaud that you have a very good idea of what you are seeking; this will help a great deal.  Now to some suggestions.

Probably your best source to help narrow the search of graduate program is  Compiled by ACSA, is a searchable database of all accredited programs in architecture.  It allows you to search by location, degrees, population, and curriculum including specialization.  I did a quick search on Community Design and 67 programs were returned.

I found the following from a search of low-cost housing + sustainability + architecture school.

North Carolina State University

Interesting Symposium at Iowa State University

Univ. of Virginia

Rose Enterprise Fellowship - Learn about this professional opportunity

Univ. of Minnesota

You could continue to use additional search to see what comes up.  However, the best way which will take the longest effort but have the best results is to search and review each program's website to discover if the program fits your needs.

For programs in Design-Build, refer to the following: --

NAAB maintains an updated list of accredited programs with their website and contact information - -- Ultimately, you will wish to be on the phone with faculty and directors of the programs.  I have attached the list from November 2010

Finally, because you are in Chicago, I will encourage you to attend the Chicago Architecture + Design College Day on Saturday, October 15 on the campus of IIT -- -- (see attached).
Dr. Architecture

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Career Options - AIAS circa 1993

Below are career options for those that pursue a degree in architecture; it is from the AIAS Career Options publication first published in 1993.  Over the summer and fall, I will be helping AIAS to update the list and publish a new version.  If you have ideas, send them to me --


AIAS Career Options (text from 1993)

Art and Design
Careers in Art and Design are appealing because of their potential for creative and aesthetic expression.  Although the design process is learned in an architectural education, many of these careers require additional specialized training or degrees.  The median salary for more design or art careers is below the median salary of the practicing architect.

Architectural Careers
Landscape Architect
Interior Designer
Model Maker
Architectural Photographer
Computer Presentation Designer
Architectural Renderer

Design Careers
Urban Art Designer
Furniture Designer
Set Designer
Graphic Designers
Fashion Designer
Industrial Designer
Jewelry Designer
Prop Designer

Related Careers
Museum Curator
Technical Illustrator
Film-Design Development
Creative Director – Advertising
Environmental Artist
Fine Arts Appraiser

Corporate and Managerial
These careers are becoming a large part of architectural practice.  Many of the jobs with corporations and institutions involve facility planning and management.  Often, facilities personnel are the link between their organization and outside architectural firms.  The primary differences from private practice is that one’s employ is the only cliet, and much of the control over major decisions is lost.  The benefits are job security, medical benefits, retirement packages, paid vacation, and substantially higher salaries.  Some people recommend getting an MBA for this type of work, but others see this as only marginally helpful.

Facilities Management
Facilities Architect
Physical Plant Manager
University Design Manager
Campus Planning

Project Manager
Construction Manager

Related Corporate Careers
Building Products Technology Development
Cost and Construction Analyst
Corporate Consultant
Building Products Industry Officer
Market Researcher
Marketing – Construction
Marketing – Design and Communications

Technical and Engineering
Technical Occupations
Construction Inspector
Land Surveyor
Building Pathologist
Architectural Programmer
Computer Systems Analyst
Preconstruction Estimator
Construction Software Designer
CAD Coordinator
Fire Protection Designer

Technical Consulting Opportunities
CAD Consultant
Energy Consultant
Environmental Consultant
Airport Consultant
Color Consultant
Sweets Catalog Consultant

Related Engineering Careers
Structural Engineer
Civil Engineer
Marine Architect
Illuminating Engineer
Mechanical Engineer
Solar Energy Engineer
Planning Engineer
Design Automation
Specifications Engineer
Design Build Team Manager

Related Professional
Related Professions
Urban Planner
Real Estate Agent
Real Estae Project Manager
Architectural Lawyer
Public Relations
Construction Specifier
Environmental Planner
Building Pathologist
Loan Officer
Property Assessor

Writing Careers
Freelance Writer
Technical Writer
Architecture Theorist
Proposal Writer
Document Design
Publisher – Architecture Journal
Architecture Critic
Magazine and Newspaper Editor
Writer / Producer – TV and Film

Architectural Education
Architectural Historian
Educator – Architecture in the Classroom
Librarian – Special Collections
College or University Dean

Related Careers
Furniture and Material Inventor and Fabricator
Architectural Inventor
Construction Company Founder
CEO – Corporate
Product Inventor
Sale Manager

Architectural Products and Services
Computer Presentations
Building Products
Graphic Supplies
Solar Technology
Office Systems
Environmental Products
Prefabricated Housing

Traditional Practice
Project Architect
Staff Architect

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mathematics to Architecture

I am currently researching schooling related to the field of Architecture and I have a few questions.  I am a mathematics major currently enrolled in a accredited 4-year university, I also will be entering into my fourth and final year this upcoming fall.  I have not taken any classes related to architecture in any way.  So I'm wondering do I need to pursue a bachelor's degree in architecture to move on?  Or can I receive a bachelor's degree in mathematics and then pursue a master's degree in architecture at a separate NAAB accredited university?  Thank you for your time.

Given you will complete an undergraduate degree in mathematics, you are eligible to apply to a NAAB accredited Master of Architecture degree for individuals that have an undergraduate in a discipline other than architecture; these degrees are typically from 3-4 years.  You can view a list of degrees from either NAAB - or ARCHSchools -

As you have one more year, I would suggest you consider taking a art/freehand drawing course as you will need to submit a portfolio as you apply to graduate programs.  Also, try to visit some programs to learn firsthand about the program.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Biology to Architecture

I was wondering if you could provide some insight to my situation. I recently graduated from a BA/MA program in biochemistry & molecular biology/biotechnology but after much soul-searching, I have decided that I want to pursue a career in architecture and not the sciences. I have done some research on M. Arch I programs in Northern California, where I live, and have found a few that would be well-suiting for someone in my situation -- these are normally 3 year programs. 

Coming from a science background, I haven't had any opportunities to develop a portfolio or really gain exposure to the world of architecture. My question is: what types of pieces would you recommend make a strong portfolio for an M. Arch I candidate? Also, what preliminary steps should I take to get myself better prepared to apply to M. Arch I programs?

If you use either NAAB or ARCHSchools, you will be able to research the over 60 architecture programs that have Master of Architecture degrees for individuals that have an undergraduate in a discipline other than architecture.

Your best source as to what to include is to contact the architecture program(s) to which you are applying.  Contact each program to learn what they are seeking in the submitted portfolios.  Some programs will outline what they want on their website.

In most cases, programs want to see your creative endeavors and they do not need or expect to architectural related work.  For example,  include -- free-hand drawing, sketching, painting, ceramics, graphic design, photography, and furniture design are some examples of what could be included.

Another source is -- and the book, Portfolio Design by Harold Linton.

If you do not have background, consider taking an art/freehand drawing course at an area community college.  Another option is a summer program offered by some architecture programs. 


To be best prepared, visit the schools of choice and talk with the faculty/director to learn what they are seeking in applicants.  Connect with current students or recent graduates to learn of the rigors or an architecture curriculum.

Another great source is Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.


Dr. Architecture

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sustainable Design and Stadium Design

I'm really interested in both sustainable design and stadium design. Would you happen to know of any programs that have aspects of both of these? Or is there a website that I can plug in specific requirements. I've been able to find numerous programs that have sustainable design, but I haven't really seen anything pertaining to sports/stadiums. Is this more of a personal exploration once you get into a school or might there be programs that specifically focus on this. Thanks for your time!
As you have discovered, many architecture programs are jumping on the sustainability bandwagon.  In some ways, all programs must address the issue as it is one of the Student Performance Criteria set by NAAB for accreditation.  As for programs that emphasis stadium design, I am not aware of any. However, most graduate programs do not emphasize a particular building type.  They may emphasize housing, urban design, structures, high-rise, health care, etc.

For this reason, you may wish to focus on programs that do large-scale projects and structures as stadium design does require special attention to structures.  Even then, you may have a difficult time to locate any specific programs.  You may have luck seeking programs on other criteria and ask specific questions to those programs. 

Do let me know what you discover.  Bottom line, any program should be able to help you with stadium design, but some may be better equipped than others to help you.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Activities

I'm currently a graduated student from highschool, what do you suggest me to do during the summer?  Program in university(looks expensive)? Studio(how)? internship(I know nothing about architecture yet...)

Below is an excerpt from my book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.  As you can see, there are many things you can do during the summer that are mostly free but help in your path to become an architect.  Probably the easiest is to draw everyday and go "see" architecture.

I still strongly consider attending a summer high school program; most do offer financial aid.

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.

Tour and observe your neighborhood or city and take visual notes about the architecture you encounter. Seek out guided tours of significant buildings in your city and learn about their architectural features.

Purchase a sketchbook and begin to teach yourself to draw. Sketch from real life to develop your drawing skills and sharpen your awareness of the existing environment. Sketching from life trains you to observe, analyze, and evaluate while recording your surroundings.

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. Additionally, consider attending a lecture sponsored by the school. Most schools sponsor evening lectures highlighting architects and their work. Typically, these are free and open to the public.

Visit with local architects to gain a broader understanding of the nature of an architect’s work and the value of the profession. Remember, these connections may be valuable when you apply to architecture programs or for possible summer employment opportunities.

Visit construction sites to learn how buildings are constructed. Talk with carpenters, builders, and others in the building industry to learn their perspectives on architecture. In addition, travel throughout your community, your region of the country, or to other countries to experience architecture from various perspectives. As you visit, sketch!

Many colleges and universities offer summer programs designed for high school students who desire to learn about the field of architecture.  Summer programs are also a good way to learn about the regular architecture program of that particular school.

If you are unable to secure a summer internship, find an architect to shadow for a day or a week. Many high schools offer programs designed to connect students with career professionals.

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.  Other extracurricular programs include the Boy Scouts of America Explorer Post, Odyssey of the Mind, and others. 


Dr. Architecture

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Community College

I'm a student just graduated from high school and I just found my passion on Architecture recently. I plan for a community college and transfer after 2 years, to a university.
I sent an e-mail to Carnegie Mellon University for inquire. I was told that students there start as a freshman to accomplish the NAAB-accredited 5-year program, so as transfer students. But as you know, there's no NAAB B.A. program in community college. If so, does it mean I have to spend seven years to earn my NAAB bachelor degree???
The only one i heard is Cuesta Community College which has "perfect articulation" with NAAB progrm of CalPoly university. But I don't want to go there. Is it really matter to get NAAB degree during undergraduated years? On the other hand, the architecture  class in UCLA only requires two years to finish, without NAAB however. 

Transferring from a community college to university like UCLA, and earn the NAAB master degree aferwards, compared with spending five or seven years on NAAB Bachelor Degree, which is better?

Rather than directly addressing your question, allow me to outline the education of an architect.  It is necessary to pursue the NAAB accredited degree.
Paths to an Accredited Degree
Before selecting a particular architecture program, you need to understand the different paths to obtaining a National Architectural Accredited Board (NAAB – accredited degree.  Because there is more than one path, this can be confusing.  Each path is designed to offer a particular level of expertise and enable you to make a variety of career and educational choices.  To become an architect, your educational goal will be to obtain a professional degree accredited by the National Architectural Accredited Board.

NAAB accredits three different professional degrees: the five-year bachelor of architecture (B.Arch.); the master of architecture (M.Arch) which can accomplished by first pursuing the four-year pre-professional undergraduate architecture degree or the four-year undergraduate degree in a field other than architecture; and the doctor of architecture (D.Arch.) available solely at the University of Hawaii.

While your eventual goal will be to obtain a NAAB accredited professional degree, you may wish to consider starting the path at a community college or an institution offering only a four-degree in architecture.  Further still, you can pursue an undergraduate degree in any discipline related or not to architecture.

With that as background, consider the following given your desire to begin your studies at a community college.  The best approach is to pursue coursework at a community college that allows you to transfer to a four year pre-professional degree.  Contact possible architecture programs ( that you wish to attend to determine what courses you should take.  As you have discovered, most Bachelor of Architecture programs require a transfer student to still complete the program in five years; this is because of the studio sequence which begins year one.

At many four year programs, studio may not begin until sophomore or junior years.  Thus, you can satisfy most of the general education courses at the community college.

Again, start with the institution (degree) that you wish to pursue and work backwards to the community college (courses) that you might attend.

If you have more questions, just contact me.  Best

Dr. Architecture