Saturday, March 17, 2012

MArch Recommendations

I am an aspiring architect that wishes to attain his M.Arch degree. During my undergraduate years, I studied Scenic Design, Acting and Psychology, naturally culminating in my decision to study Architecture. My question for you (and I will try to limit it to just one ... for this round) is what are some programs you recommend applying to? I am looking for an institution that meets some or all of these factors:
  • Willing to accept me into the program. I suppose that's a must!
  • On the forefront of an exploding architecture scene. I would love to be in on the action while I am studying. 
  • Preferably doesn't require the GRE. I am not opposed to taking this exam.Would be lenient on portfolio requirements. I do have an art portfolio, but very few architecture-themed entries. 
  • Has a strong track for non-architecture students. I've seen some called "career-change option" or "Track II"

I am certainly able to help you in your search for an architecture program but I do not make specific recommendations.  Instead, may I suggest the following resources to assist in developing a list of programs that would be well-suited for you.

NAAB - - provides a list of accredited architecture programs - - an searchable online resource of architecture programs.

Aside from your list below, determine what criteria are most important - location, faculty, reputation, etc.


Friday, March 16, 2012


I am faced with a huge dilemma and am looking for insight. I am currently a senior at a small liberal arts college studying architectural studies (an interdisciplinary approach to arch education)

I have applied to several MArch programs and have heard back.  My dilemma comes down to the money.  I have been offered an essentially full ride to a state public institution for a dual degree in architecture and historic preservation. Essentially I would be able to graduate in four years with no debt. On the other hand I have been accepted to two prestigious ivy league graduate programs for similar dual degrees but offered almost no scholarship money.

Should I accept the free ride at an institution that may not have the opportunities a top program the two ivy league programs can offer or do I swallow the upwards of $120,000 in debt to go to the top institution?

First, congratulations on your offers of admission and full ride from the public institution.

I suppose what you are asking is the million dollar question.  The easy answer is to be practical about it and take the free ride at the public institution and graduate with minimal dept. 

On the other hand, do the two ivy league programs offer you something that the public one does not that is worth the added expense?  Have you been in touch with both to determine if financial aid is possible further into the program - assistantships or scholarships.

Finally, what is a top program?  What others consider the best or what you consider the best?  As you make this decision, I would consider the criteria by which you will make the decision - i.e., cost, location, facilities, faculty, etc. and grade each program against those criteria.  From that vantage point, which is the BEST program for you.

I am eager to know what you decide.  As is possible, let me know and I wish you the best.  Feel free to contact me again.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Outlook for Architects

I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky (B.A. in Arts Administration w/ an emphasis in Music History) and I am currently finishing up a 3 year enlistment in the Army (ETS Date is June 2013).  While at UK, my curriculum incorporated the graphic/ web design tools needed to market the Arts.  I eventually used those skills to land a job at a newspaper designing ads and later designing the website for the men's lacrosse club which I was president of.  

While deployed in Afghanistan, I called on those skills again to design a checkpoint which was later used throughout the whole Battalion as the model to construct for the Local Afghan forces.  I realized that architecture is something that really interests me and it would allow me to utilize my creative side as well as my graphic design skills.  

My question to you is what is the architecture industry job outlook looking like in the next 10 years?  Are recent graduates of architecture programs struggling finding work?  My plan would be to enter a graduate program and I am thinking of finding a program with an environmental concentration or perhaps a graphic design concentration.  Thank you in advance.

To address your question directly, I am sharing some resources (below) that may be helpful.  Please take them with a grain of salt as it is difficult to predict the future.

With the recent economic times, the architecture profession has been hit very hard; many architects have been laid off or downsized.  However, I will argue that an education in architecture is a degree in problem solving which can be translated to a number of disciplines - related or otherwise.

Continue to learn more about the profession and enjoy.

Best Jobs 2012 - Architect
Nathan Helman – February 27, 2012

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Employment is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. Competition is expected, especially for positions at the most prestigious firms, and opportunities will be best for those architects who are able to distinguish themselves with their creativity.

Employment change. Employment of architects is expected to increase by 16 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Current demographic trends will lead to an increase in demand for architects. As the population of Sunbelt States continues to grow, the people living there will need new places to live and work. As the population continues to live longer and baby boomers retire, there will be a need for more healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and retirement communities. In education, buildings at all levels are getting older and enrollments continue to increase, which will require many school districts and universities to build new facilities and renovate existing ones.


Architecture Summer Programs 2012 - Updated

updated as of March 10, 2012

AIA Memphis/University of Memphis - Memphis, TN
June 2012 (2 weeks)

Architectural Foundation of San Francisco – San Francisco, CA
Contact School for Dates
Auburn University - Auburn, AL
June 17 – 22; July 15 - 20, 2012 (1 week)

Ball State University - Muncie, IN                 
June 17 – 29, 2012 (2 weeks)

Barnard College – New York, NY
June 24 – 29, 2012 (1 week)

Boston Architectural College - Boston, MA
July 2 – 27, 2012 (4 weeks)

California at Berkeley, University of - Berkeley, CA
July 2 - August 10, 2012 (8 weeks)

California at Los Angeles, University of - Los Angeles, CA
June 20 – July 29, 2012 (6 weeks)

California College of The Arts - San Francisco, CA
June 25 – July 20, 2012 (4 weeks)

California Poly State Univ. – SLO - San Luis Obispo, CA
June 24 - July 19, 2012 (4 weeks)

Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, PA
June 30 - August 10, 2012 (6 weeks)

Catholic University of America – Washington, DC
July 9 - July 27, 2012 (3 weeks)

Center for Architecture - New York, NY
June 25 – 29, 2012 (1 week); July 2 – 13, 2012 (2 weeks)
City College of New York – New York, NY
June 28 - July 27, 2012 (5 weeks)

Clemson University - Clemson, SC
June 17 – 30, 2012; July 15 – 28, 2012 (2 weeks)

Columbia University - New York, NY                          
July 5 – August 3, 2012 (5 weeks)

Cornell University - Ithaca, NY
June 23 – August 4, 2012 (6 weeks)

Cranbrook Summer Art Institute – Bloomfield Hills, MI
June 25 -- July 13; July 16 – August 3; August 6 – 24, 2012 (3 weeks)

Design Science Lab - Chestnut Hill College - Philadelphia, PA
June 17–25, 2012 (1 week)

Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA
July 8 – 21, 2011 (2 weeks)

Duke University – Durham, NC
June 16 – 30, 2012 (2 weeks)

Florida, University of - Gainesville, FL
June 17 – July 6, 2012 (3 weeks)

Georgia Institute of Technology - Atlanta, GA
July 9 – 20, 2012 (2 weeks)

Harvard University - Cambridge, MA
June 4 – July 13, 2012 (6 weeks)

Houston, University of - Houston, TX
June 11 – July 13, 2012 (5 weeks)

Illinois Institute of Technology – Chicago, IL                   
July 9 – 20 (Commuter) and July 22 – August 4 (Residential), 2012 (2 weeks)

Illinois at Chicago, University of - Chicago, IL
July 9 – August 3, 2012 (4 weeks)

Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of - Champaign, IL
June 17 – June 30; July 8 – 21, 2012 (2 weeks)

Iowa State University – Ames, IA
July 8 – 14, 2012 (1 week); July 15 – 21, 2012 (1 week)

Judson University - Elgin, IL
July 8 – 13, 2012 (1 week)

Lawrence Technological University
July 9 – 13, 16 – 27, 2012

Los Angeles Institute of Architecture and Design

Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge, LA
Contact School for Dates

Maryland, University of - College Park, MD
July 8 – 27, 2012 (3 weeks)

Massachusetts Amherst, University of – Amherst, MA
July 9 – 27, 2012 (3 weeks)

Miami University - Oxford, OH
July 9 – 20, 2012 (2 weeks)

Miami, University of - Miami, FL
June 11 - 29, 2012 (3 weeks, half-day non-residential)
July 8 – 28, 2012 (3 weeks, full-time in-residence)

Michigan, University of - Ann Arbor, MI
July 16 – August 6, 2012

Mississippi State University - Oxford, MS
June 8 – 15, 2012

National Building Museum - Washington, DC
July 9 – 20; July 23 – August 3; August 6 – 17, 2012

Nebraska-Lincoln, University of - Lincoln, NE
June 10 - June 16, 2011 (1 week)

New Jersey Institute of Technology - Newark, NJ
July 11 – 12 (overnigh); July 15 – 20 (Design #1); July 22 – 27, 2012 (Design #2)

Newschool of Architecture - San Diego, CA
July 16 – August 9, 2012

New York Institute of Technology - Old Westbury, NY
Contact School for Dates

North Carolina at Charlotte, University of - Charlotte, NC
June 10 - June 15, 2012 (1 week)

North Carolina State University - Raleigh, NC
June 24 – 30 (overnight); July 15 – 20 (day); July 22 – 28, 2012 (overnight) (1 week)

Notre Dame, University of - South Bend, IN
June 17 – 29, 2012 (2 weeks)

Oklahoma, University of – Norman, OK
June 24 – 29, 2012 (1 week)

Oklahoma State University – Stillwater, OK
June 13 – 16, 2012 (1 week)

Oregon, University of - Eugene, OR
July 9 – August 6, 2012 (5 weeks)

Parsons The New School For Design – New York, NY
July 30 – August 10, 2012

Pennsylvania State University - State College, PA
July 15 – 19 or July 22 – 26, 2012 (1 week)

Pennsylvania, University of – Philadelphia, PA
July 1 – 28, 2012 Residential (4 weeks); July 9 – August 3, 2012 Day (4 weeks)

Pratt Institute - Brooklyn, NY
July 9 – August 3, 2012 (4 weeks)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Troy, NY
July 8 – 20, 2012; July 22 - August 3, 2012 (2 weeks)

Rice University – Houston, TX
June 11 – July 6, 2012 (4 weeks)

Roger Williams University - Bristol, RI
Contact School for Dates

Savannah College of Arts & Design - Savannah, GA
June 23 – July 28, 2012 (5 weeks)

School of the Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, IL
June 27 - July 15; July 18 - 29, 2011 (2 or 3 weeks)

Southern California Institute of ARCitecture – Los Angeles, CA
July 16 – August 17, 2012

Southern California, University of - Los Angeles, CA
July 8 – 22; July 8 – August 4, 2012 (2 or 4 weeks)

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, IL
June 4 – 6, 2012 (4th – 6th grade), July 16 – 20, 2012 (middle schl), July 22-27, 2012 (high schl)

Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY
July 1 – August 10, 2012 (6 weeks)

Talieisin Preservation – Spring Green, WI
June 18 – 20, 2012; July 9 – 11, 2012 (1 week)

Temple University – Philadelphia, PA          
July 9 – 20, 2012 (2 weeks)

Texas A&M University - College Station, TX
July 8 – 13, 2012 (1 week)

Texas at Austin, University of - Austin, TX
June 11 – July 13, 2012 (5 weeks)

Tennessee, University of - Knoxville, TN
July 9 – 13, 2012 (1 week)

Tulane University - New Orleans, LA
June 25 – July 13, 2012 (3 weeks)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Blacksburg, VA
July 9 – 13, 2012 (1 week)

Washington University - St. Louis, MO
July 8 – July 21, 2012 (2 weeks) High School Students
June 3-16, 2012 (2 weeks) College Students and Graduates

Washington, University of - Seattle, WA
June 18 – August 17, 2012 (9 weeks)

Weisman Art Museum - Minneapolis, MN
August 6 - 10, 2012

Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Univ. of - Milwaukee, WI
August 5 – 11, 2012

Yale University – New Haven, CT
July 1 - 21, 2012; July 22 – August 11, 2012 (3 weeks)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

MArch Programs

I'm looking to apply to M.Arch I programs for fall 2013 and since I have little background in architecture, I'm having trouble figuring out what characterizes each program. I've been hearing that some schools focus a lot on design and as the building as a work of art whereas other programs focus more on the relationship between the architect and the urban planner, the building as a part of a larger system, and the architect as less of an artist and more of a community builder and humanitarian. Obviously these divides are not razor sharp and there will be a bit of both at every school, but I've even seen on this forum characterizations of schools as more "design-focused" than others yet I'm still not quite sure what that means.

Can I get some advice about the general characterizations of the more well-known programs? Is it true that east coast schools are more design focused and west coast schools are more focused on community development? Are there any schools that stick out in either of those extremes? Are there schools that are known for their integration of these two focuses? Am I totally making all this up?

Before getting the details of MArch programs, start with the basics by understanding what is required for MArch program with regards to accreditation.  In other words, what MUST architecture programs teach (2009 NAAB Conditions) -- --.

Next begin to research programs via the following --

After learning the minimums, you can begin to research the differences between the programs.  You will find programs more design oriented, more technical oriented, but ensure that you are learning all that you need to become an architect.

Dr. Architecture

Architecture for Everyone

This month's issue of Architectural Record (see below) focuses on "Building for Social Change."  As well, editor-in-chief Cathleen McGuigan provides an editorial on whether public-interest design can become a viable career path for architects.

Can public-interest design become a viable alternative to traditional practice? 
By Cathleen McGuigan, Editor in Chief  

"One day, when the recession is officially declared over, the practice of architecture is likely to have changed. As Fisher points out, architects who look beyond the traditional studio—to conduct research or collaborate with other disciplines or to design in the public interest— are likely to find that the way they’re trained to think is highly valued. But for now, however you practice or connect to the world of design, there are lessons and inspiration in building for social change."
Now, perhaps more than ever, is the time for building for social change.  Current students and graduates have a greater desire to pursue social design than in the past.  There are more opportunities than ever.  It may not make financial sense, but we do not do it for the money.

Architectural Record

EESA - Foreign Architect

Is it possible to work as an architect in the US with an Austrian degree in architecture (master degree)? Would it be possible or is it a must to pursue an "Architect Registration Examination" (ARE) with that background? Or would it be enough to be a licensed Austrian architect?

You may pursue licensure in the U.S. with a foreign degree but you must have your education reviewed through EESA -
NAAB administers the EESA-NCARB program, which evaluates the credentials of foreign educated and broadly experienced architects against the NCARB Education Standard. EESA-NCARB provides assistance to individuals who do not have a professional degree in architecture from an NAAB-accredited school of architecture and who wish to either apply for NCARB certification or for registration by an NCARB member board. 

Also reference the following information from NCARB --

You would NOT be able to practice architecture in the U.S. with your Austrian license.

Summer Program - Aptitude for Architecture?

I've been searching for a program where I could try my hand at architecture and determine if I have any talent for the filed. After exploring your blog, I came across three options that would give me exactly what I need. Berkeley, Cornell and UCLA offer short introduction to architecture courses.

They seem like wonderful opportunities. But I must say, they are a bit expensive, especially for a foreign student. (I am Canadian.) Do you have any suggestions for similar courses- courses where I could build a strong portfolio in a short amount of time - that are available in Canada or are offered in the US or Europe and are cheaper?

Something like that - something where I could utterly immerse myself in architecture - would be ideal.

Also, is there any easy way to determine if I have an aptitude for architecture. I love aesthetics. And I like buildings. And I love writing. But I've never been someone who feels compelled to make art or design. 

Thanks for contacting me, but I am not sure I can be of any assistance.  Each year, I compile a list of summer architecture programs available on  Aside from the three options that you list, I would suggest you review the full list to see if there are any others - try Univ. of Washington.

Unfortunately, I am not familiar with any such programs in either Canada or other countries.  You may wish to contact architecture programs directly to determine if they have a program.

Aside from summer programs, you may wish to take a course (freehand drawing/art or design) at an university.  If one is not nearby, you can immerse yourself in the discipline by reading, sketching, and seeing architecture.  Granted, you will not have faculty instruction, but it is a start.

There is no test that can accurately determine if you are well-suited for architecture or not but I do believe it is an education that prepares you for a number of career fields that require creative problem solvers.

If possible, try to shadow an architect to learn more.

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, March 1, 2012

EESA - Foreign Architect

My question is simple, I am confused about the specific functions of the NAAB, NCARB, EESA, related to becoming an Architect, the NAAB says it is "a non profit" and  "is the sole agency authorized to accredit US professional degree programs in architecture ", but there is a fee of near 1900 for an evaluation, also there is the  "EESA-NCARB program", which mixes the two, oh! there is another mix " The NAAB has recently established maintenance and reinstatement fees for EESA "

So, to make short, can you please tell me what is the process to become an architect classified by stages, and which organization commands each stage?

Thank you in advance for your help, and patience. And if it helps, I am an Architect in my country, but as a legal resident in the United States of America, I want to live here and have my credentials working.

Having worked at NAAB, I can provide you some insight on the EESA process.  NAAB is under contract with NCARB to run EESA.  Just because NAAB is a non-profit does not mean that they do not collect fees.

In the U.S., the architectural profession is represented by the following:

American Institute of Architects (AIA) – Professional organization for licensed and non-licensed architects;
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) – Organization which administers IDP and the ARE;
American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) – Independent, student-run organization representing students of architecture;
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) – Works to advance the quality of architectural education
National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) – Agency that accredits schools of architecture.

Each one has a role in the process of becoming an architect.  As you are an architect in another country, I would suggest you work with NCARB to become licensed in the U.S.  Review the following:

How long have you been an architect?  Read the materials to learn more.


MArch --Debt Load?

I am about to graduate from a state college with my undergraduate degree in architecture, and I have applied to five grad schools around the country (including the grad program at my current school). I am excited to move out of state and on to a new and maybe more impressive program, but I'm worried about cost. My current school is by far the cheapest since I am a resident, but I feel I could be more challenged elsewhere. Do you have any advice on a good rule of thumb for how much debt to accrue for an architect? Especially since I'll be graduating into such a tricky economy, I feel like staying where I am is the safer choice in the long run. I just don't want to sacrifice my potential in a lack-luster program, and therefore make myself undesirable to employers.

Currently I attend the University of Utah, and I've applied to UC Denver, CCA in San Francisco, CCNY, and Roger Williams.

You along almost all candidates for higher education are concerned about cost, but do not let cost completely drive your decision. 

In making this decision, you need to seriously sit down and determine the criteria by which you are making this decision -- like 1) cost, 2) challenge, 3) reputation, 4) faculty, 5) location, etc.  Once you have determined the criteria, you can compare each institution to which you have applied meets the criteria that you have determined are most important.

Just important is the decision to whether you continue at your current institution which is driven by cost or to pursue one of your other choices.

Have you been in phone contact with each program to discuss / determine financial aid for graduate programs.  Call and be up front about your financial situation.  Most programs have fellowships / assistantships for incoming graduate students.  Even if not for the first year, you may be able to receive funds for subsequent years.

I truly have no idea what is an appropriate threshold for your debt upon graduation.  Only you can answer that question, but it sounds like you want to the safer choice.  I would suggest that you not select a graduate program only based on cost.  If you feel the need for a challenge, make the monies work.  You may even need to take a year or two off and apply later.  In your words, do not attend a lack-luster program.  You deserve the best education possible.

I hope helps!