Monday, July 30, 2012

Distance Learning Programs

What Universities offer distance learning programs? Boston Architectural College advertises their program, but are there other programs?

What University programs cater to working professionals?

I've started my own companies and want to continue my education, but I am unable to dedicate myself to a full-time program.  It is my intent to develop my contracting business into a design/build collaboration with architects and other design professionals.  Earning my masters will, in my opinion, bridge the gap between contractors and architects and increase my marketability with potential clients.

Based upon your experience with the profession, does this sound like a viable approach?

The only institutions that I am aware are Boston Architectural College, Lawrence Technological University (Detroit, MI) and Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA).  I do not think any of them are exclusively online, but it is a start.  I would seriously consider BAC as they value work experience, but typically you must be eligible for IDP - working for an architect, I think.

Sorry, I do not have insight on that but very few cater to working professionals.

Do you need to be an architect to continue your company?  Would it be worth to attend a true MArch with an emphsis in design/build?  Research the following - not accredited architecture degree but focuses on design-build.

Yestermorrow Design Build School

Programs that excel in Design Build

If your company is a contracting business, do you need an accredited architecture degree?  If you wish to connect with architects, you have an architecture degree and can talk the talk.  Think about what skills you need to develop and pursue the appropriate degree.  Talk with professionals that do what you want to do -- what education do they have?

I hope this helps!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Architecture vs. Interior Architecture

I have come across your ARCHCareers blog quite a few times during my research of architecture education. Thank you for taking the time to keep it on-going. Last May, I graduated with a B.A. in journalism. If I had to do it over I'm pretty sure I would major in architecture and interior design. In fact when I was younger, I said I would major in journalism and minor in architecture, but as you're well aware of architecture isn't really an area you minor in - at least if you want to be a practicing architect. Over the past year, I have been researching architecture and interior design programs, but due to uncertainty of which path to take, I have have not applied to any. I want to be able to work in both fields. 

At first I leaned more toward interior design and taking architecture courses to complement. However, I'm realizing that while I want to be able to work in the field of interior design, I also am drawn to structural knowledge, renovation and preservation projects, urban design and planning, and the social impacts that architecture can have. Ultimately, I would want to have the ability to be very hands-on in the design and full visualization of whatever project I'm working on. Given that, a graduate architecture degree would probably provide more career diversity. I would appreciate your feedback on possible educational routes I can take. 

I would also like your perspective on the following:

Through research, I see interior architecture is an area I'm drawn to. However, the only program I've come across that seems to focus on interior structures as the basis for their IA program is the masters program at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With other programs, interior architecture is simply another term for interior design. Do you know of any other programs that focus on interior architecture in the interior structures since?
I appreciate your comments on the ARCHCareers blog.  Also, congrats on your interest in architecture and interior design.

When individuals share that they are interested in architecture and interior design, my simply reply is that "architects can do interior design - interior designers cannot do architecture."  As you state, a Master of Architecture would create greater career flexibility especially given both of your interests. 

Your statement -- "I would want to have the ability to be very hands-on in the design and full visualization of whatever project I'm working on." -- leads me to think that a graduate degree in architecture is better suited for what you wish to accomplish.

One resource to explore is the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community of the AIA (see below):
The Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to  practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations.

In terms of the Interior Architecture program in Chicago, I know of no other direct programs except perhaps Miami University in Oxford, OH - One suggest is to pursue the MArch at an institution that also offers a degree in interior design. For details on those programs, visit CIDA --

To the extent possible, have conversations with professionals in both disciplines and keep asking questions.  Another resource at Becoming an Architect and Becoming an Interior Designer both published by Wiley.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

ARE = Compensation

I recently complete the ARE and was very pleased to pass the entire exam on my first attempt.  I've received congratulations from my employer, but little else.  What incentives are typically given in architecture firms for passing the licensing exam?  If no additional compensation or bonus is offered, should I begin looking to make a change?

First, congrats on your completing and passing the ARE.  As for incentives for passing the exam, I am sure each firm does something different while some provide no incentive at all.

The most common I have heard is reimbursement for the cost of taking the ARE.  I have heard that some will provide a raise, but very few.  Aside from compensation, some firms provide greater responsibility.

Here are the details of one firm --

Whether you decide to change will depend on many factors - length of tenure, the work you do, location, the market for architects in your area --

As you are now licensed, why not possibly pursue your own projects as long as they do not conflict with your current firm.


Civil Engineer and Architect

I am currently pursuing my bachelors in civil engineering in a highly reputed institute in India.I am basically interested in designing and the architectural aspects.  I initially misunderstood that civil is very closely related to architecture but later on, found that designing is mainly done by architects. However, I am ready to acquire knowledge on architectural ideas while still studying civil.  I want to merge architecture and civil and incorporate creative architectural ideas in my civil projects.I'd like to know your view on this thought of mine and I'd be really happy if you could suggest me what books or what topics i should study so as to hone this architectural skill. I am passionate about architecture and am happy to learn it side by side.

As you continue with your pursuit of an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, try to expand your architectural knowledge by sketching, reading, and "seeing."  The most important skill of an architect is his/her ability to see.

If you truly wish to pursue both engineering and architecture, consider pursing a joint degree in both at the graduate level.  While I do not know if you can do so in India, there are a few institutions in the U.S. that offer such a joint degree including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

I would also suggest you look at the work of
Santiago Calatrava. - - he is part engineer/part architect.  Perhaps, you can obtain some inspiration from him.


Portfolio Question

I just graduated from CU-Boulder’s pre-professional architecture program and I had two quick questions about my portfolio. It is an 8.5” x 11” portfolio in landscape format, and the background color of the whole document is a dark gray. What type of paper should I use to print on? I used regular printer paper and I didn’t like the way it looked. And my other question is, what would you recommend about trimming the rest of the page? (The full-bleed area where the printer cannot print).

Thanks for your help and your time!

First, congrats on your recent graduation from CU-Boulder.

With regards to your question on your portfolio, I would suggest you seek out guidance from a local printer or even some of your faculty.  As they will be able to view it, they would be in the best position to guide you with your portfolio.

Another idea is to view your fellow graduates' portfolios.  Additionally, you can view some examples from either Portfolio Design - - or online portfolio sites such as Issuu.

Sorry I cannot be of more assistance.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Resources for aspiring architect?

Hello Dr. Architect I have a young brother-in-law who's grandfather is a very succesful architect and his father is a man who can build a house without any electrical or plumbing or gas in 24 hours.This young man shows interest and skill with building and architecture. I was wondering how I might focus his first grade level study's and peak his interest in architecture at such a young age.Or at what age I could start and where I might do this. Is there any museum's or programs focused on architecture? How young do any programs start? What are the basic requirements of first starting a real study focus on Architecture?

Attached is a list of mostly high school summer programs throughout the country for summer 2012.  Beyond institutions, there are a number of non-profits that have programs - museums, etc.  You may try visiting the following:

National Building Museum

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

Salvadori Center



Other than websites that may have resources, have him begin to draw -- drawing/sketching is probably the most useful skill of an architect along with creativity.

Another book to consider is Becoming an Architect, 2nd ed.