Sunday, June 30, 2013

Military to Architecture

Good afternoon air I am currently in the United States Marine Corps, I am about to get out and want to go to college and become an architect. I was wondering what would be the best way to do this. What college to go to and what classes to take.

Thank you or your time I look forward to hearing back from you soon.


Congrats on your interest in pursuing architecture as a career field.

First, I would suggest you read previous posts on the blog - --.  Next, I would obtain a copy of Becoming an Architect, 2nd ed. as it outlines the entire process of becoming an architect.

To become an architect, you need to accomplish three tasks 1) education - NAAB accredited professional degree in architecture,; 2) experience - complete the requirements of IDP; and 3) exam - pass the ARE.

As there are over 125 programs in architecture, I make it a point not to recommend one over another; it is your job to research the programs to determine which is the best fit for you.  Typically, you will have courses in studio, technology, structures, construction, and general education courses but it varies from program to program.

I wish you the best and do contact me again if you have any questions.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Industrial Architecture Firms

Dear Dr. Architecture,

I'm interested in pursuing a career in factory design and other similar industrial facilities but not sure which architecture firms I should contact.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me the best way to identify these firms.

When I do not know how to answer a particular question, I simply do a search on the web --

Here are three links that I found that may be of help.  I am hopeful that this will get you started.

The Prestigious Design of Ferrari’s Factory

Herman Miller Factory

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Which Graduate Program?

I have one more year left in an Interdisciplinary degree that two of my teachers put together for me. I am going to Southeast Missouri State University for a bachelors degree in Construction Management and design/ Interior Design.    

I am debating between SIUC and University of Houston for my Masters. I like both programs equally but SIUC is cheaper and will take less time. U of H on the other hand has been accredited for a longer time but has more resources since it is a larger school but will cost more due to being out of state. The requirements to get instate tuition states that I have to show a will to stay in Texas after college. I will also have to take the GRE for U of H as well but not for SIUC. So I am kinda stuck between both schools. I still have a little less than a year to make up my mind but I am looking to figure out what I want to do sooner. 

Congrats on your pursuit of becoming an architect and your degree from SE Missouri State Univ.

To truly determine the best choice for you, I suggest you first determine what criteria you will use to make the decision.  Below, you mention, cost, length of program, accreditation, and resources.  Which of these is most important? Next important?

Is it worth paying more monies to have the resources of Houston.  Does finishing quicker most important?

Truly, the fact that Houston has been accredited longer should not be an issue.  What is most important is the program you attend is accredited of which both are.

Where do you plan to practice after graduation?  Texas, midwest?  Does the program you attend make a difference?

Are there other factors to consider - faculty, faculties, philosophy, reputation, geographic location?  Keep asking questions of the programs - Houston and SIUC.  Ask to speak or connect with students or recent alums to gain perspective.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Job Searching

Dear Dr. Architecture

This web site was referred to me by a friend and I came across your contact. I am a chartered architect from Sri Lanka. I have been working for the past 13 years, part of it in Sri Lanka, while a student and the last four years as a senior Architect in a British firm in Muscat, Oman.

Presently  I live in Rochester, MN with my husband and would like to explore the possibility of working here.  Any advice you could provide  on this would be really appreciated...

Below is an article highlighting job searching.  Perhaps, this can be of help.

As the article states, the most effective method is networking.  Connect with architects in Rochester through the AIA or other means.  Knock on doors of firms - visit them directly and ask for an interview.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Civil Engineering to Architecture

I have a quick question for you: can you get into an architecture school with a bachelor's in civil engineering? How do admissions at architecture schools look at such a degree?

Also, do you know if the courses for a civil engineering degree will allow you to create a portfolio for architecture school, or would I have to create one on my own?

Thank you.


Absolutely!  More and more architecture programs have specific graduate Master of Architecture degree programs for individuals with an undergraduate degree in another discipline like yours.  These degrees will take longer (3-4 years) but are designed for you and others like you.

As such, you will be reviewed against their standards for admission.  For this reason, you should contact the graduate programs in which you are interested and ask them questions on their review process.  They typically do not expect you to have an architecture background - for the portfolio, they want to see creativity. 

I am not familiar with a civil engineering curriculum, but it is doubtful that you have any materials for your portfolio from your CE courses.  So, try to take an ART course (drawing) to develop materials.  Again, talk with the graduate programs for other ideas.

Best!  Do contact me if you have further questions.

Liberal Arts Degree to MArch

First off, thank you for answering all of these questions, I think a lot of people have read if not asked and its definitely helped them. Now on to mine.

I'm a rising sophomore at Rice University which as you probably know has a great architecture program. Going into college, however it was very important to me to get a general liberal arts education before attending some sort of graduate program in architecture if that was where I wanted to end up. My question is what are the steps I can take to best prepare myself to be a competitive applicant to architecture programs after my undergraduate years? I'm currently planning on majoring in environmental sustainability and political science, two fields that I have a lot of interest in.

I welcome any input you have in terms of courses to take, even taking a few courses in the architecture school, majors, minors, summer jobs to look at, study abroad programs and anything else you feel is relevant. Thanks in advance for your help.


Thanks for the compliment; as I recently noted on the blog, I am reached my five-year anniversary and not quite 500 posts.

Congrats on your path to becoming an architect; some may not understand, but I know that many employers would rather have individuals with the two different degrees like you are planning.

As for the steps, I would start by meeting the graduate director of the architecture program at Rice and asking them what you should do -- not to suggest you must attend Rice, but you are already there.  Clearly, you will want top academics (GPA) and a strong portfolio.  Thus, do well in your classes, but can you take ART courses to develop creative materials for your portfolio.  Develop strong relationships with your faculty as you will want them to write letters of recommendations.

As you are at Rice, possibly take an architecture class, but attend the lectures, visit the reviews each semester and meet up with faculty that make a connection to your majors.  Certainly, pursuing a career related position or study abroad can help as well.

Read, Read, and Read architecture journals and books.  Study in the architecture library.

Draw, Draw, and Draw to develop the habit.

And ask lots of questions from everybody - become involved with the architecture student organizations or the professional association - AIA.