Thursday, December 22, 2011

Civil Engineer to Architect

I need some professional help regarding my path to becoming an architect.
There is  a long story why I'm choosing architecture cause I am a graduate civil engineer that seems to be successful in my career in IRAN.
But still wants to change my path to architecture.
I find out that I should apply for master of architecture in US universities in a special 3 year program, while the question is here that choosing Master is not the sole selection of mine.
I think choosing Bachelor of Architecture and start a new bachelor can be also effective even more.
So my first Question is regrading this issue?
My second Question is regarding After Master Exams.
For example in US there is FE & PE exams for Civil engineers is there any exam for Architecture to give you the permission or signature.

Given that you already have a degree in civil engineering, it would make more sense to pursue the MArch (3-4 years) than the BArch (5 years).  These MArch degrees were designed for individuals with a degree in another discipline.

In the U.S., the process of becoming an architect requires three (3) tasks 1) education - professional
NAAB accredited degree; 2) experience - fulfillment of IDP; and 3) exam - completion of the ARE (Architect Registration Examination.

Other resources to review -- and Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Post Professional degree in architecture

I’m a graduate of B.Arch ( 5 years professional degree) from India. I wanted to pursue Post professional degree in architecture as I already have a graduate degree.
There are certain questions I have. Kindly spare some time to clear my doubts.
1. Now I’m practicing as an architect. If I study Master in Urban Design, I would be an urban designer. Are there plenty of scopes for urban designers?
2. Is the pay for urban designers more than those of the architects?
3. Although I have an interest in designing buildings, if I have did Masters in Urban Design won’t I be able to do both - design the layout of the towns as well as design buildings?
4. The relationship between Urban Design and Landscape Design. This is because I don’t like landscape design but I’ve heard that Urban Design has a lot of landscape design in it. If Urban design is more or less similar to landscape design, I would consider not taking it as I hate designing plants and trees.
5. I have an interest in Digital Facades. I’ve also heard about the M.Arch in Digital Architecture. Please tell me where is the best place to study this course apart from USA.
6. Please also tell me the scope for this course (Digital Facades). Is it research oriented? Are many people opting for it?
7. I also came across a specialist course - M. Arch Sustainable Tall Buildings in the University of Nottingham. If you know any details about it, please also share it.
It would be really kind of you if you could take your precious time to answer all my queries. I thank you for spending your valuable time in reading my letter. I am looking forward for your valuable suggestions and opinions from you.

First, let me say that my expertise is in becoming an architect in the U.S., not urban design.  With that said, let me suggest you continue you search with the following resources/associations --

Congress for New Urbanism


American Planning Association


Given you already have an architecture degree and are able to be a practicing architect, obtaining an additional degree in urban design would broaden your skill set and professional opportunities.

Urban Design Definition

With regards to MArch - Digital Architecture, I cannot share much insight.  For a list of accredited MArch degrees in the U.S., I would suggest you visit -- and --

For the MArch Sustainable Tall Buildings, visit -- --

Clearly, you have various interests as they relate to architecture and the built environment.  Continue to research and ask questions to determine which is the best path for you.


Job Search

I graduated from UC Davis majoring in Design: Interior Architecture and Minor in Art Studio. I have had a various amount of internships in Architecture and Interior Design firms. However, I am still unable to get a job in the architecture or interior design field. What do you suggest I do next? Should I apply to grad schools? If so, is it smart to go to the UK to get a degree if ultimately, I want to practice in San Francisco (which is where I am living now). 

As you have discovered, searching for your first career position is a challenge. 

It is truly hard for me to suggest what you do next without knowing fully your job search process.  You seem to imply that you are ready to give up on job searching.  Certainly, moving ahead to graduate studies is an option but are you confirmed for which discipline - architecture, interior design, other?

Obtaining a degree in UK is an option as well, but if it is in architecture, you will have additional administrative hurdles to jump for becoming licensed in the U.S.

Again, without knowing you job search, I am still inclined to suggest you redouble your efforts with searching for a career.  Step back and do some self-assessment to best determine your approach.  What skills do you have that potential employers may be seeking?  Do not just approach design firms.

The best way to search is via networking, not job boards.  Join a professional association or volunteer to connect with designers.  Research firms and visit them directly in person - not send them an email.

Contact your alma mater to see if they have an alumni network that you could use to connect with design professionals.  One resource to obtain is What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles.

Best in your search and contact me if you have additional questions.

Dr. Architecture 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to start the journey to becoming an Architect

I'm a freshman in high school in southern Oklahoma. I want to become an architect but don't know where to start or what to do.

First, congratulations on your desire to become an architect.

At your stage in your high school career, I would suggest what is listed below to begin in your journey as outlined in my book, Becoming an Architect

I wish you the best and keep asking me questions if you have any.

Preparation: High School
The process of becoming an architect can take ten to fifteen years from entering an architecture program to passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).

Academic Coursework
Because becoming an architect requires a college education (in most states), your high school academic curriculum should focus on college preparatory courses, including four years of English and mathematics. Pursue as many honors and advanced placement (AP) courses as possible; by taking and passing advanced placement exams, you receive college credit and bypass required entry-level courses.

While the mathematics requirement varies among architecture programs, most either require or encourage you to take calculus. You should pursue or take the highest-level math course your high school offers.

Although some high schools do not require or offer physics, you should take an entire year of high school physics rather than biology or chemistry if you can possibly arrange it. A good year-long physics course is excellent preparation for college physics and structures courses.

In addition, take art, drawing, and design classes rather than architectural drafting or CAD. Your interest in architecture may surface due to a drafting course, but drafting is not as helpful in your skill development as art classes. Art, drawing, and design courses develop visual aptitude and literacy while expanding your ability to communicate graphically. 

Beside academics, what can you do to begin your preparation for a career in architecture? Consider the following: (a) exploration of the built environment; (b) visits to architecture firms and schools; (c) participating in a summer program sponsored by an architecture program; and (d) participating in an after-school program. All these provide you a head start on the path to becoming an architect.

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.

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.
Many colleges and universities offer summer programs designed for high school students who desire to learn about the field of architecture. Lasting from one to several weeks, these programs are an excellent opportunity to determine if architecture is the right career choice. Most include design, drawing, and model-building assignments, field trips to firms or nearby buildings, and other activities. These can all assist you in determining if architecture is for you. Summer programs are also a good way to learn about the regular architecture program of that particular school.

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. Throughout the school year, students are matched with professionals on a project that suits their interests. Other extracurricular programs include the Boy Scouts of America Explorer Post, Odyssey of the Mind, and others. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Career Sessions at AIAS FORUM 2011

In slightly more than two weeks, I will presenting three (3) careers sessions at the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) in Phoenix, AZ.  Check them out below.

AIAS Forum - Saturday, December 31
Career Sessions at FORUM 2011
Led by Lee W. Waldrep, Ph.D. (aka Dr. Architecture), this series will provide you with the tools to understand how to launch your career in architecture. Discover career designing, learn how to search for your career, and be exposed to the myriad paths you can choose. If you are serious about your own career, you will not want miss these sessions.

Saturday, December 31, 2011
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Career Designing
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM: A.R.C.H.I.T.E.C.T: The Career Search
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Careers Paths of the Architect

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Career Designing
Presented by Dr. Lee Waldrep

It has been said, “Decide what you want out of life, create the terms that allow you to do this, and then design you day-to-day life to reinforce your goals.” You may not think of a career as something to be designed, but career designing can be exciting as you learn more about yourself and design your future path.

Through a series of exercises, this interactive session will allow you to reflect on your architectural experiences; learn how the career development process relates to the design process, and envision your future career in architecture or not.

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM: A.R.C.H.I.T.E.C.T: The Career Search
Presented by Dr. Lee Waldrep

As you approach graduation, do you know your next step will be? Will it be attending graduate school, working in an architecture firm, or something else? Through this interactive workshop, learn how to prepare for your career after school by being exposed to the steps securing a position in an architecture firm and exploring how to what to do next.

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Careers Paths of the Architect
Presented by Dr. Lee Waldrep

A degree in architecture is becoming the new MBA. Architectural education is one of the last liberal arts degrees combing art, history, and science with problem solving skills. With this base of knowledge, graduates with a degree in architecture can work in many related fields or specialize within the profession. This workshop will provide career paths, both traditional and alternates to the traditional role of the architect. In addition, information on resources for careers in architecture and off the beaten path careers will be shared.


Biochemistry to Architecture

I am a recent graduate from UC San Diego, with a BS in Biochemistry. Recently, I have decided to pursue a different career path, and I am very interested in Architecture. I did some research and realized that it is a possibility even with my background, but I have a couple of questions I want to clarify before I try to pursue something that may seem impossible.

1. With my unique background, what would it take for me to get accepted/ even considered for accredited MArch programs within the United States and ultimately become a licensed architect?

2. What is the major difference between Architecture and Architectural Engineering/ Structural engineering?
3. What kind of skills would I need to have to be a successful, practicing architect?

I appreciate any information/ resources you are able to provide me. Thank you for your time and help! 

1) Given your undergraduate degree (although biochemistry), you are eligible to apply to a Master of Architecture (3-4 years) at any one of many institutions that offer the degree.  Visit -- or for a list of programs to consider.

2) Architecture is more about the design of buildings; architectural engineering is more about civil engineering with an emphasis on building.

3) As for skills, there are many important skills to have as an architect; drawing, sketching, designing, teamwork, collaboration, problem solving, etc.

One resource to review is Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.

I hope this helps!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Practice Options

Lately, I have been doing a great deal of research on what I term "Architecture and Beyond."  Individuals with an architectural education who have pursued a career path beyond traditional practice.  

I will write a more involved entry later, but I wanted to bring attention to a new feature on Archinect entitled Practice Options.  The tag line is "to be an architect or not be an architect; or to be an architect without really being an architect.  Or to be something else with a background in architecture.

Anyway, below is the first profile.  Enjoy.

"Through the magical medium of Twitter, I had the pleasure of virtually meeting Nic Granleese, an architectural photographer in Melbourne, Australia. He is a self-described 'registered, but non-practicing architect'--and after seeing that description, I knew I'd found the perfect candidate for my first profile of an architect doing something else.?

Dr. Architecture