Sunday, October 28, 2012

Interior Design to Architecture

Okay so the thing is, the university I applied to didn't offer me admission in its B.Arch program (which was my first option) but is ready to take me for its Interior Design program (my second option).

Since a very long time I have wanted to pursue the profession of architecture.  So now the question arises-do I take the offer or I don't) But before making that decision, I need to know a few things because of which I'm writing to yo.

So I have two questions.

1- If I have a 4 year Bachelors Degree in Interior Design and I want to do my Master in Architecture, the universities will consider me for their masters program in architecture right? I will be eligible for continuing my studies in the field of architecture right? And later on I can practice as an architect(after passing the license exams) ?

2- What degrees (masters) are offered in architecture? Coming from an interior design background (a 4 year Bachelors in Interior Design), what degree options do I have for masters level after which I'll be eligible for a job in a firm as an architect?

I'm really really looking forward to your reply.


Answers to your two questions:

1) With a degree in interior design, you would be eligible to apply to a NAAB accredited Master of Architecture; however, the length of completing the degree would be 3-4 years.  

2) The only degree to pursue to become an architect is the Master of Architecture.  Once you have completed the accredited Master of Architecture, you could certainly seek to pursue a post-professional graduate degree in any number of disciplines -- urban design, sustainable design, preservation, etc.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Teacher helping Students

How can I help my high school student decide if architecture is what she really wants before applying to colleges?

Perhaps, the most effective method is to have them experience the discipline first hand.  You do not tell me what subject matter you teach, but you can relate every high school subject to architecture - be it mathematics, science, English, history or even physical education. 

There are numerous websites that can provide you with guidelines on integrating architecture with the subject you teach -- researching a building, designing a classroom, testing structures, drawing or sketching perspectives.

Another way is to connect with a local architect.  Invite them to your classroom, or better take a field trip to an office.  Many local chapters of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) have programs entitled "Architects in the Classroom."

As well, encourage your students to attend a high school summer program (attached).  These programs offered by college architecture programs are designed to help students learn more about the discipline and determine if they would be interested.  As well, have them begin to draw/sketch every day to learn the skill of "seeing"

Finally, obtain Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition and visit to learn more about the process of becoming an architect.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Becoming an Architect? 3rd Ed. - Need help!

I need your assistance!

Last week, I submitted a proposal for 3rd edition of Becoming an Architect to publisher, Wiley & Sons; I also talked with my editor who will submit to editorial team next week -- she is confident that it will be accepted.

Thus, for next 10 months, I am writing but I need your help.  Do you wish to be profiled if you are an architecture student, emerging professional or architect? or Do you have thoughts of what should be included in the next edition (see TOC below)?  If so, please contact me -

Becoming an Architect
Table of Contents
1. The Definition of an Architect.
What Do Architects Do?
Profile of the Profession.

2. The Education of an Architect.
Path to an Accredited Degree.
Decision-Making Process.
Application Process.
You Are an Architecture Student.
Academic Enrichment.

3. The Experience of an Architect.
Gaining Experience as a Student.
Moving Toward Licensure.

4. The Careers of an Architect.
Career Designing.
Career Paths.

5. The Future of the Architecture Profession.
BIM-Building Information.
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)
Agent of Social Change.
Distance Education/Learning.

Appendix A: The Resources of an Architect.
Collateral Organizations.
Architecture-Related Associations.
Association-Related Careers.
Institutions Dedicated to Architecture.
Community Service.
Recommended Reading.
Appendix B: Accredited Architecture Programs in the United States and Canada.
Appendix C: Career Profiles.

I am very interested in becoming an architect, this is my dream. But I have some concerns about the admission requirements for architectural schools for the Master Degree.
I have a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Cybernetics, and I also have studied Public Administration at Tufts University, The Fletcher School, in Boston. Now I work at the Central Bank of Armenia, as a specialist in the Payments field. 
Thus, as you can see I do not have an architectural background. But I still have a great intention to study architecture, because my father is an architect and my grandfather was an architect also, and this is in my genеs. 
So my question is the following, is there any possibility that I have chance to study architecture and to get a master degree (MArch)?

I am pleased to hear of your desire to become an architect.

As you have a degree (albeit not architecture), you are eligible to pursue a Master of Architecture (3-4 years) designed for individuals with a background in a discipline other than architecture.

To learn more about potential architecture programs, consider visiting the following websites -- -


Another item is to consider taking a drawing/art course to develop materials for inclusion in your portfolio as all programs will require a portfolio.


Job Searching Challenges

I can't find a job in architecture!
I have done every possible thing to become employed, yet no offers at all!
I attend architecture events in Orlando Florida regularly and network with architects.I applied for all kinds of jobs in architecture, from drafting, to design to internships. I visited the career center in college to check my resume and they keep admiring it,I even made a website for my portfolio. I graduated with a GPA of 3.5 with masters degree from a program in Chicago , and received some recognitions and awards during my years there. I don't know what I have been missing, why I can't find a job? This is very frustrating, sometimes I feel I made a wrong decision to get into this major.


As you have learned, the job market for architects is a tough one.

First, it is hard to say for certain why you have not yet found a position in architecture especially solely from your comments below, but you can always do more.  It is hard, but hopefully in the end -- it is worth the effort.

Certainly, the most effective career search method is "networking" which you are doing, but how do you network -- Do you introduce yourself with the "30-second" commercial?  -- Who you are, what you are about, and what you are looking for?  Do you inquire with them about additional connections or potential firms that may be hiring?  Do you obtain a business card and use it to follow-up after first meeting?

You state that you have applied for all kinds of positions, but have you also applied for positions outside architecture that still develop your skills - engineering, interior design, construction, etc.  Also, to develop skills, consider volunteer work with community design centers, etc. to develop connections and skills.

I applaud your being in touch with your Career Center on your resume, but check with IIT about their alumni network -- again, more connections.

In the interim, consider entering design competitions to keep your work in architecture continuous.

I fully appreciate your frustration, but searching is a full-time job.  I do not know all of the details of your search, but be positive.  Below is an article that may be of assistance.

Architecture and Beyond: Opportunities Abound


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Graduate Programs

Dear Dr. Architecture,

I really enjoy reading your blog. Its informative, precise and aligns with the current questions student of architecture often have. I have done my B.Arch (5 yrs) from Mumbai and I am looking to pursue a Master's Degree in US. I have a few question from the prospect of being a Master's student, I'd be very glad if you could answer it.

1. There are various schools I am considering, but the question often arises, which schools are known for which programs. For Example, from talking to people I have gathered, for Landscape Architects, GSD or Upenn is very good. Is there some list, where I can refer and conclude which school is known for which program, so accordingly I can prioritize.

2. I have always been passionate about architecture as a whole, its not that I can't choose a specification, I just don't want to. I love all the bits about Architecture, whether it be Master Planning, Urban Design, Building Technology or Landscaping. Many say its futile, if you are doing Master's and not adding any specific skill's to your resume. Is that true? How do these specific programs differ from one-another, in terms of, subjects, career opportunities, etc?

3. Could you enlighten me, on the job opportunities Architects in the United States have? As a student, what is the best way I can reduce my tuition? What is the avg starting income for a Master's student with prior experience of say about 1 and 1/2 years?

Thank you for you time and patience. I really hope if you can answer my questions. It will be very helpful. 

1. The best list of graduate architecture programs is both NAAB - - and ARCHSchools -  Both provide a list of accredited architecture programs.

For graduate programs in general, probably the best source is Petersons - -.

2. Given you have a B.Arch degree, you have the flexibility of pursuing any graduate degree.  Unfortunately, you will need to research each program based on your own set of criteria.  Much of what you decide will depend on your interest and future career goal.

3. As you might expect, opportunities in the architecture profession are limited, but are growing.  Most graduate programs have opportunities with graduate assistantships which provide financial assistance. 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Transfer to Architecture

I was wondering if you could help me, I am graduating from a Architectural Technology program with a Diploma and I would like to go to the next step in getting my Bachelors in Architecture. How do I got about finding schools that will transfer credits, where I can get the most out of what I have already completed? Any information would be extremely helpful! (I am located in Canada and would prefer to study there, but I am open minded about the U.S and Internationally). Thank you! 


First, there are no BArch programs in Canada.


Next, you can research architecture programs in the U.S. from the following:


To best determine how to transfer, you will need to be in touch with each respective program.  As you do so, be ready with not just your transcript but also course syllabi, etc.


Dr. Architecture. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to "network" your way into a job!

At least once in everyone’s career, whether by choice or circumstance, a job seeker will have to endure the stressful process that includes identifying, applying to, interviewing for, being offered, negotiating the terms of, and ultimately accepting – or rejecting – a job.

During my own job searches, I have found that my biggest asset is my strong network of personal and professional connections.  Without them, looking for a job would have been a far more painful process.  Here are some suggestions for how to network your way into a job:

  1. Classmates: Stay in touch with classmates; you've had similar experiences and probably travel in similar circles.  They know people, and so do you. Perhaps someone's firm is looking to fill a position?  Speak to friends, family members, previous employers (with whom you've presumably remained in contact), the girl at the gym, the guy at the grocery store, etc. You never know whom they know -- or who they know who knows someone else!

  1. School: Speak to your school's career counselor or alumni director.  Are there school-related events in which you can participate so that you can meet people? Do they keep their own job postings?  Do you have access to an alumni database?

  1. AIA: Attend an AIA event or program and/or join a committee.  Local AIA chapters are always looking for volunteers.  This is a great opportunity to meet people who share at least two common interests: architecture and the AIA!

  1. Social Media: Use social media to your advantage.  Websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. will be great resources.  Do your research. Contact firms to set up an informational interview and/or firm tour. Many firms – despite their ability to hire – will still be interested to meet potential candidates for when positions become available. Also, architects love to talk – and will happily share their personal experiences. Usually the AIA has an updated list of the local FAIA members.  Seek them out as they are especially supportive of the young professionals and would gladly share a tale or two!

  1. Consultants: If you've worked in a firm before, talk to your consultants.  Your product/material reps are also great resources.  They are in architecture offices all day long and know which firms are hiring. They generally have good relationships with people in those firms and might be able to facilitate a meeting for you.

While it’s more helpful to forward your materials to someone directly if a firm is hiring, it's important to note that, in most cases, you can still forward your materials to a firm, regardless of whether or not it appears to be hiring.  Many firms don't have the time to keep their career postings up-to-date and others keep generic ads active as a way to solicit resumes from the current pool of job seekers.  This allows a firm to make a quick decision when new work comes into the office.  You want to be at the top of their list!

Finally, don't get overwhelmed. It may take years to establish an effective network.  But, when you do, you will be delighted to have such a strong support system.  And remember:

  1. Smile.  Everyone you meet is probably just as nervous as you are!

  1. Say "thank you.”  People are more likely to help you again if they know how much you've appreciated their help.

  1. It's a two-way street: What can you offer to the relationship?  Give your new connection another reason to keep in touch.  

About the author:
Lori Apfel Cardeli, AIA joined Bonstra | Haresign ARCHITECTS in Washington, D.C. in February 2012.  The firm focuses on affordable housing and multi-use residential projects.  Previously based in New York City, she also has experience in sustainable learning environments, high-rise residences, and high-end homes. Mrs. Cardeli received a B.S. in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis (2004) and an M.Arch from Columbia University, GSAPP (2007), where she serves as an inaugural member of the GSAPP Alumni Association Board and Co-Chair of its Alumni/Student + Careers Committee.  As an active member of AIA, she was selected to serve on the Education Proposal Review Committee for its 2013 National Convention, participated in YAF Summit20, and is a two-time presenter at National Convention.  Mrs. Cardeli is a registered architect in New York State.

Mrs. Cardeli may be contacted, as follows:
t.  LArChitecting

Copyright © 2012 by Lori Apfel Cardeli.  All Rights Reserved.