Sunday, October 30, 2011

QR Reader for

For those hi-tech and using QR readers, below is one for  I checked it out and it does work.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Architecture Summer Programs in Europe

My 16 yr-old son is interested in a career in architecture and we are currently living in Switzerland.  He will be returning to the US following HS graduation here.  I know there are many summer programs in the States for students his age, but was wondering if there were any programs in Europe, closer to home for us now.

Thanks in advance for any information you might have.
First, you may obtain a list of the U.S. programs from  At this point, the list is still from 2011, but the 2012 list will be available in January.

I did find one website for international programs but none are for architecture.

With that said, I would consider having your son attend a summer program in the U.S especially if he will return to the U.S. for college.  As the program coordinator for the Discover Architecture program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we have had a handful of students from abroad - France, Canada, Taiwan, South Korea.

Another option is to contact the many international architecture programs individually.

Best!  Do let me know if you have any further questions and what you might find out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Aspiring Architect

I am in the midst of pursuing a career in architecture, for it has been a professional interest of mine for a long time. I have already obtained a degree in Art History from Pennsylvania State University and am currently pursuing a degree in Architectural Technology from Norfolk State University. After completing my two years at Norfolk, I am going to apply for a  M.Arch program. 
What I am concerned about is the competition I will face with students who have obtained their bachelor's degree in architecture. Are they reviewed on an equal field as students who have an undergrad in an alternative major? Also, how important is obtaining an internship before applying for a master's program? And, how much work experience would I need before an architecture firm considers hiring me (post graduate school) to do work beyond and internship level?

I am not sure where you are in completing your degree in architectural technology, but do know that you would be eligible to apply to a Master of Architecture (3-4 years) with your art history degree from PSU.  From my view, the degree that you are receiving is more technical and drafting.  It may be helpful but will it provide you with materials for your portfolio?  Perhaps not.  I would encourage you to take drawing, art or life drawing courses.

You should NOT be concerned about the competition when applying to a Master of Architecture as you would be not be compared with those that apply with a pre-professional degree.  To be sure, contact the programs to which you plan to apply and learn how they make admission decisions.

Typically, it is not necessary to have an internship prior to applying to a MArch.  I would certainly encourage you to secure an internship either prior or during your MArch to bake you more competitive when pursuing employment after graduation, but many MArch graduates may not have internship experience at graduation.

Best.  Feel free to contact me with more questions.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Internship - Discovering Architecture

I'm writing to you after reading the information given on your website relating to Architecture. I am currently a first-generation college student attending a community college in NYC. I'm still in the process of discovering what I want to pursue in my career life, though I am clear that I want to be in an industry where I can use my creativity, an industry where my imagination will be an asset in my career.
I want to experience the architecture world! And as an intern I will know if this would be the right path for me. Do I qualify to be an intern if I have no type of experience with architecture and no portfolio? How can I go about finding an internship? What other preparation would you recommend for me? 
I truly appreciate any time you have to spare to advise me.
Congrats on discovering and following your passion -- using your imagination.

Architecture may be a good fit for you given your passion to use imagination.  However, given the economy and your limited skill set, it may be difficult in securing an architectural internship.  It does not mean that you should not attempt to locate one.

Think of an internship as a career related position in an architecture firm.  You can apply with your credentials but know that it be difficult as many firms are not hiring.  In your case as you are trying to determine if architecture is the right path for you, contact a firm to possibly simply do a shadowing experience where for a single day you learn about what an architect does. 

Perhaps, through your community college, you can contact an architect.  Of course, it would help to have a portfolio to demonstrate your skills and work.  Start by contacting the AIA NYC to view firms in the city.

If possible, visit the schools in NYC to talk with current architecture students; consider attending events through the AIA NYC - -

Stay active and continue to ask lots of questions.
Dr. Architecture

Are architects leaving the profession?

I have recently discovered your blog and first want to thank you for your career advice to those of us who are considering a career change to architect. I am in this camp and have been slowly preparing myself for this next chapter in my life. 
I have taken drawing classes; volunteered at a design/build site with the architecture program at the University of Utah and am putting together a portfolio for admission into the masters of architecture program. 
My question is with all the economic challenges that architects face today, have you seen a number of architects leaving the profession because of the lack of work, particularly with architects just starting the profession? What are architects doing, from what you've seen, to compensate for the lack of work?

I am pleased that you discovered the blog and I appreciate your thoughts on my advice.

There are various estimates that between 30-40% of architects have lost their job in this current economic situation we are in -- In addition, many have been downsized meaning that you are now working less hours or received pay cuts.  Clearly, it is a tough road. 

With that said, I would still encourage you to pursue your passion - architecture. 

From what I have read and connections, architects are very creative; some are pursuing career fields/position in related disciplines.  Others are indeed leaving the profession - retiring earlier, etc.

Resources to consider include the following

Down Detour Rd: An Architect in Search of Practice – Eric J. Cesal

In my opinion, the education of an architect allows an individual to pursue a myriad of career fields including architecture.  I wish you the best.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Transfer to BArch or pursue MArch

I recently stumbled upon your blog while searching for information on Architectural degrees. I am currently a sophomore at DePaul University in Chicago studying Environmental Studies but I have since been thinking of majoring in Architecture.  Unfortunately, DePaul does not offer any degree in Architecture so I have been contemplating transferring to a school that offers a B.Arch.  

Is it possible to transfer into a B.Arch program as a junior or do you suggest I just enroll in a M.Arch after my undergraduate studies?  What are the pros and cons of a B.Arch compared to an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and then pursuing Architecture at graduate school?  Any information is greatly appreciated and I plan on ordering your book as soon as possible because I believe that it would definitely send me in the right direction.  

You could certainly transfer to a BArch program, but you will need to start in the first year as you would not have the design studios; most of credits from DePaul would not transfer except general education.  Most likely, it would take you five years to complete a BArch.

Instead, you could transfer to a 4+2 program (BS + MArch) like at the University of Illinois directly into their sophomore year as studios start in the 2nd year.  If you went this route, you would be a five year college student to obtain the BS degree but would still need to complete the MArch (2 years) afterwards.

With the above said, I would still recommend considering the MArch for those that have an undergraduate degree in another discipline (3-4 years).  As your degree is in environmental studies, you may wish to consider this route, but do you like DePaul?


Monday, October 17, 2011

Information about accrediation

I have completed my Bachelors of Architecture (B.Arch)  and Post Graduation in Construction Management (PGCM) from India. I have relocated to Santa Clara, CA few months back. I am looking forward to enroll into a master's program in San Fransisco Institute of Architecture (SFIA) or UC berkeley for students with architecture background. Both these programs do not have accreditation. Does accreditation carry weight-age during job search?

What are the disadvantages of earning a degree from universities that do not have accreditation?  I am also looking for jobs in architecture. Could you please forward me some leads/pointers for the same?

Below is a basic definition of accreditation as listed on the NAAB website (
What is accreditation?
Accreditation, in general, is a process of external quality review used to scrutinize colleges, universities and educational programs for quality assurance and quality improvement. In the United States, accreditation is carried out by private, nonprofit organizations designed for this specific purpose. Institutions and educational programs seek accredited status as a means of demonstrating their academic quality to students and the public

For you, accreditation may be important if you intend to become a licensed architect in the U.S.  Almost every jurisdiction requires an individual to have a professional accredited degree by NAAB to pursue licensure.

Of course, as you have an equivalent degree from India, you may pursue licensure and meet the education requirement through EESA - Evaluation Education Services for Architects (, a process done by NAAB.  As you will see, it is an expensive process (almost $2,000), but less monies that obtaining an additional degree.

Thus, your decision on pursuing an accredited degree or not depends on your longer term goals of becoming an architect in the U.S.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Architecture + Construction Alliance

I knew this group existed, but just learned of their website; of the over 100 accredited schools of architecture and 61 degree programs in construction in the nation, only the 14 universities which compose the alliance contain degree programs in both architecture and construction in the same college.


The Mission of the A+CA is to foster collaboration among schools that are committed to fostering interdisciplinary educational and research efforts between the fields of architecture and construction, and to engage leading professionals and educators in support of these efforts.


The professions of architecture and construction are undergoing significant changes as they respond to multiple demands and opportunities to increase collaborative project work. They are propelled by changed societal and client expectations to more fully coordinate their formerly separate roles and responsibilities for the social, environmental, and financial performance of projects, while Building Information Models (BIM) and other digital technology provide emerging new vehicles for integration.

These changes in our built environment professions need to be reflected in the education of future professionals, with a major emphasis on fostering superior interdisciplinary knowledge, and team 
based skills that support synergy and innovation in the 21st century professional context.

Given this imperative, a consortium of the universities in the US that have both architecture and construction programs within the same college are prepared to act together to foster the necessary interdisciplinary and collaborative education needed by our professions. Such an alliance of these universities has a unique ability to play a leadership role in the development, pilot testing, assessment, and dissemination of courses and projects through coordination of the faculty, staff, and financial support for this activity.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Best way to become a college architecture major

I'm a 16 year old high school junior and I have loved to design and draw houses and floor plans since I was at least 10 years old.  Can you please suggest some ways for me to increase my chances of getting into a strong architectural college program besides the obvious good grades and ACT score?  

I volunteer as a tour facilitator for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and I have attended a workshop at their studio as well as some held by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  I also work as a part time receptionist for a landscape design company.  Currently, I am taking a computer graphics class in school and I have taken some art and drawing classes in the past.  I am a strong math and physics student too.  Beyond all this, should I be developing a portfolio?  Also, I understand internships aren't typically available for high school students so what kind of preparation would you suggest?  Thank you for your help.
Truly, the best way to ensure admission to your choice of architecture programs is contact them directly and ask how they make decisions.  Is it your credentials (transcript and test scores), portfolio (if required) or other factors like extra-curricular?  Clearly, most programs will consider your academics and test scores as most important.  Also, make sure you take the required courses needed for admission.

Aside for learning the factors program consider concentrate on doing your best in your courses. In addition, attempt to take art / drawing or other creative coursework that connects your brain, eye and hand.  This work will create materials for your portfolio.  Do not worry about taking any CAD courses as it is not necessary.  You can begin to document your previous artwork for a portfolio but you have time.  Consider visiting -- for ideas.  Do not be intimidated as these examples are college students. 

Another thought is to consider attending a summer program (see attached - last year, but websites should still work).  Of course, consider Discover Architecture at UIllinois.

As you work for a design firm (albeit as a receptionist), learn everything you can about landscape design from your employer.  Ask for connections for architecture firms or other design firms for an internship.  It is true that many firms do not hire high school students, some do. 

Keep in touch if you have other questions and I wish you the best.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Career Alternatives

Dr. Architecture,

I have seen your blog and I wanted to get your thoughts concerning career alternatives.  I am currently 45 years old with a wife and two young children.  I am the breadwinner in the household while my wife homeschools our children.  I have been interested in architecture for as long as I can remember -- especially old historic buildings.  However, when it came time to go to college, I opted to go into accounting because 1) I thought that I wouldn't be able to make a living in architecture, and 2) I lack good drawing/artistic skills.  After 20+ years in a career which bores me, I regret having not gone to architecture school, and at least tried architecture.  While it is, I suppose, still possible to return to school, it really is no longer a very practical alternative given my situation.  I was wondering if you had any thoughts concerning career alternatives for someone in my predicament.  Thanks. 


Thanks for taking the time to review the ARCHCareers blog.

At one level, I would say that you should go for it as you have plenty of productive work years remaining in your life; Philip Johnson, one of the most influential 20th century architects, practiced architecture until his death in his 90s after becoming licensed at 39.

With that said, I caution you because of the commitment in time and expense which may influence your decision as you are the breadwinner.  With your accounting degree, you could pursue a Master of Architecture (3-4 years), but you would need to take some drawing courses for purposes of a portfolio.

Besides the track of becoming an architect, I wonder if there are design related fields that you could pursue that may not take as long in terms of additional education but still provide your the career satisfaction that you are not currently getting.

I highly suggest the book -
What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles for insight.  You may also wish to consider contacting your alma mater to see how they help alum with career services.

As another route, see if you can pursue accounting work with an architecture or design firm.  In this way, you are connected to architecture.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Civic Engagement as an Emerging Professional - A few ideas for self-starters

Typically, I simply answer questions that I receive from aspiring architects, but having recently read this blog from Ashley Hand, I thought it would be worth encouraging you to read it.

Bottom line: Become involved!

Dr. Architecture

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mechanical Engineer to Architect

Dr. Architecture,
I am a licensed P.E. in the state of Alabama in Mechanical Engineering and have almost 20 years of experience (from machine design to more physics based applications). I have a Masters and Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University, but am now considering the idea of transitioning to Architecture. I am looking to  a supporting role in an architecture firm. What might the best path be? Are there any options for distance learning (even a subset of the coursework), that have accreditation? I am a military dependent living in Ohio, but we will settle in the state of Colorado within the next year. I realize that the education and licensure can be state dependent. I appreciate any help you might be.

First, congrats on your idea to pursue architecture.

Given your previous education, you may pursue the accredited Master of Architecture (3-4 years) at over 60 institutions around the country.  For the full list, visit -- NAAB - and ARCHSchools -

Unfortunately, there are no exclusively online degree programs in architecture for an individual that has a degree in another discipline.  With your moving to Colorado the only program in the states is University of Colorado - Denver.

Now, given your discipline is mechanical engineering, you may be able to pursue a position within a AE / EA firm which would allow you to contribute (not as an architect).

I would begin the process of networking through the professional association - AIA - American Institute of Architects and contact a few firms for possible positions.


51 - Too late in life to become an architect?

Trying how to ask this...but I'll just do it. I'm 51 and I want to pursue it too late in life with the education,experience,exams that are required?. Took me so long to realize I should of majored in architecture instead of business. sigh....frustrated...thanks if you can answer.....

First, no regret.  Live in the here and now.

From my experience of working in architectural education for almost 20 years, I would say that you are NOT too old to become an architect.  If we assume that you practice into your 70s or 80s, you still have a minimum of 20-30 years in the profession. 

Philip Johnson, one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, became an architect at age 39 and practiced architecture until his death in his nineties. Frank Gehry is currently practicing architecture and turned 80 this year. You have plenty of good years to practice architecture.

In a previous position, we had a student that returned to school in his early 50s like you.  He completed the Master of Architecture degree and is now close to being an architect.

The question is your commitment for the field and situation in life. Can you commit to the education of an architect?

You are not too old! Start the process of researching programs through -- or --.

Of course, if the road to becoming an architect is too long, consider entering the profession or the built environment industry through another path.

Dr. Architecture