Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Major Options to Pursue Architecture

I  am graduating in 2014. I would really like to become an Architect but I do not want to limit my options, I was wondering if I could instead major in marketing or business and minor in liberal arts or something and still become an architect. Also I was wondering if there is any other field similar to architecture I could also go in, I like technology and art, I also like making personal creations. Thank you for taking your time to read this and I hope to get a reply back soon.

Before I directly answer your question, let me outline the typical degree paths for pursuing architecture.

1) Bachelor of Architecture - 5 years

2) BS Architectural Studies + Master of Architecture - 6 years

3) BA/BS Undergraduate Degree + Master of Architecture - 7-8 years

As you can see, if you truly know that architecture is for you, the most direct paths are BArch or BSAS + MArch.  However, if you wish to pursue options, you can obtain a BA or BS degree in any discipline and pursue the MArch afterwards.

As to what degree to pursue is completely up to you; I would offer the following as guidance --
  • Pursue a degree that will allow success as you will need top academics to pursue architecture at the graduate level.
  • Consider majors that allow some creativity as you will need to submit a portfolio when applying.
  • Do a major that you will enjoy to maximize success
  • Also, possibly attend an institution that also has an architecture program to either pursue a minor in architecture or at least be engaged in the academic unit.
If you truly think about it, there are many majors that combine technology and art --

Industrial Design
Web Design / New Media
Game Design
Graphic Design
Applied Technology
Art and Technology

To continue the exploration, simply search on the terms on Google.


Architectural Education Guidance

I have not started university yet, but do you have any advise for me as e.g. what to learn before I go, what to read, what to practice etc. I intend to go to University this fall to study architecture BAs degree. One of the things that I have recently been seeing, is that some universities offer architecture design and architecture and I would like to know what are the differences, as well as to know why some university if not most don’t ask for maths nor physics but they demand you have art.

Architects need maths and if so how much off it; really how much is demanded of an architect regarding maths. Some people that I have asked say that not a whole lot of it just to not be bad at it, but you don’t need to be a genius at it. Now, I don’t know if that is true, but I find you to be the ideal person to answer these questions.

The best and worst aspect of pursuing an architectural education is that no two programs do it exactly alike.  All architecture programs must meet the NAAB ( Student Performance Criteria, but each program can do it in the manner that they see fit.

Thus, I would not worry about differences in programs but rather focus on the program that best fits YOU.

With regards to mathematics, it has been my experience that many programs do require students to take calculus, but not all.  Architects need to know mathematics, but in many situations, will consult with engineers for calculations.

Be aware that you may end of taking a longer path to licensure with a BA degree instead of a BS degree at the undergraduate level.  I suggest you be in touch with each program and inquiry where there graduates pursue graduate studies.

Best and feel free to ask more questions.

Monday, July 29, 2013

BArch vs. MArch

Dear sir
My son has done 2 years in Architecture.
He has now to decide between  4 yrs BS Architecture and 5 yrs B.Arch(NAAB certified).

Please let us know which program has a a better job demand.

In one sense, comparing these two degree is not appropriate because one is accredited (BArch) while the other is not.  It is more appropriate to compare the BArch against the MArch (also accredited which is done after the BS).

To properly determine which is the best degree to pursue, there are many factors to consider - one of which can be the pursuit of employment after the degree.  I will hope that after reading the descriptions below, you can make the best decision.

Thanks and best!

Below are detailed descriptions of the two professional NAAB accredited degrees: 
Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.)
The bachelor of architecture is an undergraduate five-year degree for students coming directly from high school. It is the oldest professional degree offered at the university level in the United States. Some schools, including Drexel University offer the B.Arch., but completing the degree may take more than five years because of work programs required by these schools.

At most schools, enrolled students begin intensive architectural studies in the first semester and continue for the duration of the program. If you are highly confident in your choice of architecture as your academic major, pursuing a B.Arch. may be the ideal choice. If, however, you think you may not ultimately choose architecture, the five-year program is not forgiving, meaning that changing majors is difficult. Slightly more than 50 programs offer the B.Arch.

Recently, some programs offer a NAAB accredited non-baccalaureate Master of Architecture degree; in some cases, these programs transitioned from a B. Arch. to this “new” M. Arch.  While parallel to the B. Arch., these M.Arch. degrees may require an additional summer or semester of study resulting in either five+ or five-and-a-half years.  Some institutions may also provide an undergraduate pre-professional degree after four years.  For more details, contact each institution.

Pre-Professional Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
Sometimes known as a four + two, this path to the accredited degree involves first obtaining a pre-professional architecture bachelor of science (B.S.) degree followed by the professional master of architecture (M.Arch.). Pre-professional degrees are four-year degrees that prepare candidates for pursuing a professional degree. These degrees may have different actual titles—bachelor of science (B.S.) in architecture, bachelor of science in architectural studies (B.S.A.S.), bachelor of arts (B.A.) in architecture, bachelor of environmental design (B.E.D.), bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) or bachelor of architectural studies (B.A.S.).

The amount of architectural coursework in these pre-professional programs may vary from school to school and determines the length of time required to complete further professional architectural studies, the M.Arch. Most pre-professional degrees are within universities that also offer the professional M.Arch. degree; however, others are offered within four-year liberal arts institutions. Your undergraduate degree may dictate the eventual length of your graduate program. Some graduate programs may be three years in length even though you have a pre-professional degree, although you may receive advanced standing or course waivers. Contact each graduate program for more details.

Another viable option for this particular route is to begin your studies at a community college. Often, the first two years of a B.S. degree are predominantly general education courses that can be taken at a community college. It is important, however, to be in touch with the institution at which you plan to continue studies about what courses to take and when to apply. Depending on the institution, it may be worth transferring early rather than receiving an associate’s degree from the community college.

Note that if you graduate with the pre-professional degree, you will not be eligible to become licensed in most states. Therefore, if you desire to be a licensed architect, you should continue your studies and pursue the professional M.Arch. degree program. There are a few states in which you can pursue licensure with a pre-professional undergraduate degree, but you would not be able to obtain the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Certificate (see Chapter 3) necessary for reciprocal licensure.

The professional M.Arch. is a graduate-level degree that typically lasts two years and offers a comprehensive professional education. The combination of the B.S. degree with the M.Arch. offers flexibility, as you can choose to take any number of years off to gain experience between the two degrees. Plus, you may choose to attend a different institution for your graduate studies. Of the institutions offering an accredited degree in architecture, approximately 75 offer the pre-professional architecture degree and accredited M.Arch.

A handful of schools offer an M.Arch. lasting less than two years that follows a pre-professional undergraduate degree. However, these degree programs may be limited to candidates from the same institution. For example, The Catholic University of America (CUA) offers a master of architecture with advanced standing (one and a half years) for select individuals who graduate with the B.S. in architecture from CUA, but those with a B.S. in architecture from other institutions must take two years to complete the master of architecture. At other institutions, the M.Arch. may be less than two years in length because of a switch in the nomenclature of their accredited degree from B.Arch. to M.Arch., but it may require either intersessions or summer sessions.

Finally, a few institutions offering the M.Arch. for individuals with the pre-professional architecture degree will require three years of study; these include most of elite institutions, but candidates may be eligible for some advanced standing.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Community College to Architecture

I am going into my third year of community college. After changing my major twice, I just found out that I want to become an architect. However I'm not really sure how to start out? I realize I'm a little bit behind as far as obtaining a degree is concerned so I'm really looking forward to progressing quickly through my classes and catching up. Are there any suggestions such as classes or programs I should be taking to sort of jump start my career? I hope to hear back from you soon and thanks for the help.

Gateway Community College / SmithGroup JJR

Congratulations on your decision to study architecture.  You may think you are behind, but you have plenty of time to complete the degree.

The best place to start is to first learn how to become an architect with its 1) education, 2) experience, and 3) exam.  The best sources to learn this is -- -- or the book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd ed.

From there, determine potential architecture programs (schools) that you wish to attend and contact them to determine what courses would be needed for transfer.  In many cases, you may need calculus and physics prior to admission.

For a list of programs, review both and --

Aside from academic preparation, consider shadowing an architect in an office to learn more about the profession.  Keep a sketchbook - draw for 30 minutes everyday of the world around you.  Eventually, you will connect your brain (creativity) with your eye (seeing) and your hand.

Send me more questions as you have them.


Mechanical Engineering to Architecture

I graduated just over 2 months ago and got my 4-year degree in mechanical engineering.  I've wanted to be an architect since my junior year, but my school didn't offer an architecture degree so I stuck it out and got my engineering degree.  I'm hoping that my BSME will provide the math and physical science background I need to continue to pursue a degree in architecture.  Is this true?  Could I have the pre-reqs to get my master's in 2 years?  Or should I pursue a bachelor's in architecture?

In addition to education questions, I also have employment questions.  I may not have the proper degree to be an architect now, but what about architectural engineering?  Am I qualified to do that, or do I need architectural experience?

My degree may be in engineering, but my true passion is for architecture.  My favorite classes were physics, statics and dynamics, vibration analysis, and computer-aided engineering; anything that had to do with structural analysis.  My senior project was 90% structural analysis, and I loved it.  I know I've asked alot of questions, but architecture is my dream job and I want to know all I can and what to do to start moving towards that dream.

Thank you for your time,


First, congratulations on your recent degree and desire to pursue architecture.

As always, you will need to check with potential graduate programs to determine if you have met required prerequisites.  With that said, you will have definitely completed calculus or physics requirements but some programs require drawing and/or architectural history.

As you have a BSME degree, you should definitely pursue the Master of Architecture and not the BArch.

Architectural engineering is truly civil engineering with an emphasis on buildings; as to whether you are qualified to enter the workplace will depend on your skills and background.

What is most crucial to applying for a MArch is your portfolio.  Do you have any creative background?  If not, you may wish to consider taking a art/drawing course to generate materials for your portfolio over the next year while you apply for F14.

Also, as you appear to enjoy structures, you may consider the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as they have a focus on structures as part of their MArch and also have a joint degree with civil engineering.

Best!  Feel free to contact me with more questions.

P.S. Consider the book - Becoming an Architect, 2nd ed.

Master without Bachelor?

I visited your blog and I am really touched by the way in which you guide people to cope with difficulties. I am from Madagascar and I have done an International baccalaureat. Right now I am doing Bachelor degree in Interior Design, I have done foundation year and now I am in Second year and due to some reasons I will not be able to do my Third year.   I really like this field and want to do Masters in a developped contry like US, Australia or Italy. Is it possible to do it without a bachelor degree? 
Hope to read you soon,
Thank you


First, thanks for your kind words on my blog.

As for your question, you would need to check with potential graduate programs to which you are interested to determine if it is possible to pursue a MArch without a bachelor degree -- my experience tells me that is unlikely.

However, given that you will have completed two years of bachelor degree in interior design, it would be possible to transfer to an undergraduate degree in architecture to either the BArch or the preprofessional BSAS.

At this point, I would suggest you contact some potential programs -- for a list of programs in the U.S., visit -- --.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Chemical Engineering to Architecture

Dear Dr. Architecture,

I am a student from Saudi Arabia, I have just finished my bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering with first honors (3.8/4 CGPA).

I have always wanted to study architecture and become an architect, and so I've been looking and reading about the professional masters in architecture programs available in the US.

I have a couple of questions that I would greatly appreciate your help with.
  • Q1) Regarding the Portfolio, I'm wondering what to include in it. Is it okay if it is a mix of drawings and photographs for example? I'm asking this since I'm coming from an engineering background. I would greatly appreciate if you would mention some examples of portfolios that you found to be well done.
  • Q2) While I see myself as a very creative person, I admit that I have no background in drawing buildings. Will the professional masters program provide me with some education (i.e drawing techniques/courses) on this matter? or is it taken that anyone going into architecture should have such background.
  • Q3) I'm a young graduate, turning 23 years old this August. What is the average age of people admitted in such programs, based on your experience.
  • Q4) Since this is a major career change, I would like to know, based on your experience, the main things that would change with this move from chemical engineering to architecture. (For example, I know that architects usually get paid less than engineers, and I accept that fact with the thought that I will be making a name for my self in the architecture business, thus working on mega projects and getting paid more.)
I have a lot of other questions, but I won't like to swarm you with all of them.  I will be reading your book soon enough, as it looks as a valuable resource in this matter.

Lastly, I thank you in advance for helping people interested in architecture, and apologize about the length of this email.

Best regards,


Answers to your questions --

1) First and foremost, always inquire with the programs to which you are applying as what to include.  Typically, they wish to see creativity through drawing, art, etc.  You may certainly including photography, but do not let that be the only medium.  I would suggest the website -- -- for ideas on your portfolio.  Also, you can see examples at

2) As your background is not in architecture, a graduate program will certainly provide instruction in drawing and the basics of architecture, but I would encourage you to take an additional course prior to beginning.  Also, consider drawing everyday (30 minutes) in a sketchbook.  Start with drawing what you see (household objects).  Eventually, draw what you cannot see from your imagination.  It is all about connecting your brain, your eye and hand.

3) I have no idea on the average age, but I would guess that you are younger than it at age 23.  Many graduate students are older (mid to late 20s) and some are even older (30s and 40s).

4) For your last question, I am not sure how to answer because I no very little of chemical engineering.  Aside from less financial compensation, you will be involved with creativity where there are no right or wrong answers to the problems.  I would suggest shadowing an architect if possible and keep asking lots of questions.

Feel free to ask additional questions after reading Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.

EESA Becoming an Architect

Dear Dr. Architecture
First in first: I’ve to say that I’m glad that I found your blog because is quite interesting and exhaustive and when I started to read all your answers I understood that is a matter of heart!. Then, I bought your book and I found a lot of answers, interesting comments and point of view about our profession, about how to do and the best way to do it , about architects with different experience...but my questions are still there without an answer...
I am a foreign italian architect. I have been reading for the last six month everything about the NCARB, the NAAB, the EESA but I have to confess that I’m still confused and I’m not so sure the best path for me to do. Can you help me?.
My credentials are:

- a Bachelor Degree in Architecture (Architettura U.E. – Universit√† degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”): it is a five year degree with 300 credits (150 US credits)
- a Master II Level Degre (Master P.A.R.E.S. – Master in Architectural Design for the Recovery of Historical Buildings and Public Spaces): it is an one year degree with 60 credits (30 US credits)
- and to conclude, I’m a Licensed Architect (My Proffessional Association: The Order of Roman Architects: Albo dell’ “Ordine degli Architetti Pianificatori Paesaggisti e Conservatori di Roma e Provincia”, member since 2011)
What should I do to start my process of accreditation?  I read that for a Licensed Architect the best thing to do is the BEA/BEFA Program but I don’t have seven years of experience like a Licensed Architect, but just two...and even if I have five plus years of experience, before, I worked while I was studying to present my board test.
While the process of accreditation goes ahead and/or before I present all the documents, can I start to submit the IDP hours?! Is it possible?!

Do you think there is a better way to do?  I am reall confused about all the process and I’m having some problems with the University of Rome due to the certified Academic Course Description so I’ll really apreciate if you can give some advices and how can I proceed to make my path easiest.

Than you, again, for your kindness. Best regards,


Before I answer your questions directly, allow me to provide an overview of the formal process of becoming an architect in the U.S.  To become an architect in the U.S., you need to accomplish three tasks:

1) Education - For most, this is accomplished through obtaining a NAAB accredited professional degree in the U.S.  As this can only be accomplish through a U.S. institution, NCARB ( does allow an individual to have their foreign education evaluated against the NCARB Education Standard; this process is done via EESA - Evaluating Education Services for Architects (

What is the NCARB Educational Standard?

The NCARB Educational Standard is established by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. NCARB determines the minimum number of credits which are required for coursework taken in five major categories and sub-categories within each major category. The five categories are (1) General Education, (2) History, Human Behavior and Environment; (3) Design, (4) Technical Systems and (5) Practice. 

The Education Standard further stipulates that an applicant must have a minimum of 160 semester credits, overall. Please refer to

2) Experience - To satisfy this task, one my fulfill IDP (Intern Development Program -; basically, you must work under the supervision of an architect for a period of time (5600 hours) gaining experience in different training categories.

3) Examination - For the last task, you must take and pass all seven exams of the ARE (Architect Registration Exam - (

With the above stated, your first step is to pursue EESA - having your foreign education evaluated.  I would suggest you read the NCARB Education Standard (see above listing).  It is likely that you will be deficient in an area requiring you to take an additional course or two.

You may wish to contact EESA for more direct answers to your questions.

However, I think that you can start your NCARB Council Record to begin recording your IDP Experience - you will be limited to how much time can be under a foreign architect (again review the materials listed above).

At minimum, if you have more questions contact NCARB or the registration board of the state in which you wish to become licensed.

I wish you the best.

Music to Architecture

Dear Dr. Architecture,

I have been reading your blog and find it incredibly inspiring and helpful. I have a few questions about becoming an architect and was wondering if you'd be willing to take the time to answer them.

I am about to complete an undergraduate degree in music composition, and I would like to study architecture in graduate school. Since my primary focus over the past four years has been music, I haven't been able to take many unrelated classes; and I don't have any extra room to fit them in. It seems that some general prerequisites for M.Arch programs are physics, calculus, art history, and studio art. Is there anything I can do to fulfill these requirements after I complete my undergraduate degree? Do you think that it's realistic for me to pursue an Architecture degree at this point in my life?

Thank you very much!


First, congrats on your desire to pursue architecture.

As for prerequisites, you may certainly seek to take these courses after your degree at a community college; it is very common for those with an undergraduate degree in another discipline to take these courses after their degree in preparation for the pursuit of a MArch.

I would only suggest you check with each of the graduate programs to which you plan to apply and determine what they require.  For some programs, they are required; for others, it is recommended.

I will argue that you will want to pursue some art/drawing courses to generate materials for your portfolio.  Although, you may be creative to include your music composition work.  Remember, they want creativity not necessarily architecture.  It may difficult to include recordings of your work, but you could include the written music.  Having a brother in music composition, I can share that there are many parallels between the two disciplines.

Finally, it is certainly realistic for you to pursue considering you are just completing your undergraduate degree; I would simply encourage you to "test" the waters by shadowing an architect, taking a summer program ( for a list), visit and talk with current architecture students.

Also, obtain the book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Ed.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

BArch to MArch?

I am doing a bachelor of architecture from India. I want to do a masters degree, and if i do a masters will it help in future? also does doing masters in india and abroad is different or equivalent? I am very confused whether to take up masters in india or abroad?

First, remember my expertise is in becoming an architect in the U.S., not India.

In the U.S., an individual with a BArch would be eligible to become a licensed architect; those with a BArch would only pursue a graduate degree in architecture to for the pursuit of additional knowledge typically a targeted topic.  They would NOT need the graduate degree to become licensed.

For you, I am not sure if you NEED to pursue a graduate degree in architecture; do you WANT to pursue a graduate degree in architecture.  Certainly, pursuing a graduate degree can only be helpful, but do you have the finances to do so?

To learn more about graduate programs in the U.S., visit --.

As you do more research, feel free to ask more specific questions.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Master vs. Bachelor

Greetings Dr. Architecture,

I heard from a professor that in order to be licensed to design a building, you'd have to have a Master's Degree in Architecture. My question is, if I'm only aiming to be a part of a design team will a bachelor's degree in architecture be adequate? Thank you in advance for answering. 

To be an architect in the U.S., you must have a professional NAAB accredited degree in architecture.  As stated by NAAB, you may either pursue the Bachelor of Architecture (5 years), the Master of Architecture (2-4 years after an undergraduate degree) or the Doctor of Architecture.

Students reviewing work

Thus, what do you wish to be?  If you wish to be an architect, you can pursue either the master or bachelor degree.


18 Years Old - Too Young?

I am 18 and a year away from college. I just developed my interest in architecture and worry that I am too old to become an architect. Whenever I read about great architects I read that they've known that they've wanted to be architects since they were children and I fear that I should give up.

Also where do most architects get inspiration? How can they just whip up a brilliant plan in like a day?


No worries - you are the perfect age to pursue architecture and become an architect.  

While it is true that some individuals learn of their desire to become an architect at an early age, just as many learn of their passion at your age or even later.  Philip Johnson, one of the most influential 20th century architects did not pursue it until he was 39 years of age.

Philip Johnson - Glass House (1949)

Trust me, you are not too old -- pursue it with a passion.

As for inspiration, it varies but one of the most important skills of an architect is "to see."  As you go through your daily life, SEE your surroundings.  Look at the built environment around you and take mental notes -- look at nature, people, materials.  All of it becomes inspiration.

As to your last question, they do it because they have an architectural education and experience, something that you will pursue.  Also, read architecture books as you have and even websites that highlight architecture to gain inspiration.

Finally, draw and sketch to express your ideas.


Art History to Architecture

Dear Dr. Architecture,

I recently graduated with a B.A in Art History because my university did not have an architecture program. It has always been a plan of mine to be an architect. What universities or programs would you recommend before applying for graduate school?


First, congrats on your recent degree and interest in pursuing architecture.

As a practice, I refrain from recommending particular universities or programs as there are many factors to consider when selecting a program.  I would suggest you begin your research process by visiting -- and -- both provide lists of NAAB accredited programs.

Given your undergraduate degree is in an unrelated discipline, you will be pursue the Master of Architecture (3-4 years).  As outlined in my book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd ed., there are many factors to consider - You, Institution, and Program.  I will suggest that you spend much of your time on the factors related to the program as you will spend the most time there.

Degree, academic structure, philosophy/approach, accreditation, enrollment, academic resources, special programs, faculty, students, career programs, postgraduate plans, etc.

It is up to you to consider these and determine their level of importance.

Also, contact each program and speak directly with the academic leader (dean, chair, head, etc.) and be in contact with current students or recent graduates.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Which degree?

First of all hats offs for your blog and your desire to help students like us who are interested to know more about architecture.

I did my civil engineering batch of 09-13 ,and I'm interesting in getting in to architecture and its allied industry .i have zeroed down two options a)first prof degree in architecture b) computational designer 

Right from childhood I was interested in arts, but always want to work at the intersection of mathematics and arts.i always use to think that science and arts are not two different things but after a certain level of abstraction u tend to find analogy in it.

I'm confused which degree to get

1) do a first prof degree 3.5 years and then 1.5 years ms in CD , i cannot afford to study for 5.5 years as for each  year i cannot afford 40k ,
2) do mtech in mathematics and computing  ,and then apply for ms in cd ,i m more interested in field like parametric modelling,algorithmic art,biological morphogenesis,fractals,differential geometry,topology  and its application in form finding 

People say that a degree in mathematics in not required for cd,but i believe i will more efficient in CD thinking if i study more of mathematics

Also i can easily afford with out any loans a ms in CD 

What do you think are prospective pros and cons of both these degree, and how much starting salary to expect after both these degree


Thanks for your compliments.

Based on your question, I am not sure if I am the best resource to address it.

If you wish to become an architect in the U.S., you must obtain a professional NAAB accredited Master of Architecture; as your degree is in civil engineering, the degree would take between 3-4 years.

I apologize, but I am not sure what you mean by "computational designer."  My expertise is in becoming an architect.

In the broader context, I suggest you pursue the degree that provides you the necessary educational background and skills to do what you wish to do in the long term pursuit of your career.  For architecture, it is necessary to pursue a degree in architecture -- thus, it is simple: if you wish to become an architect, you need the architecture degree; if not, you may pursue another degree.


Architectural Gift ideas for 10-year-old

Dear Dr. Architecture:

I stumbled across your blog while trying to find an architectural kit or game or software that I could give as a gift to my 10-year-old son. He has been interested in building things since he had the the ability to do so, and he is constantly "inventing" inventions/contraptions in his head and on paper. There is never a moment where he is not thinking. He even draws house plans in notebooks (rudimentary, but still plans). He has shown an interest in architecture for a few years now.

I saw your post about books that you suggested for 12-year-old interested in architecture as a career. I also read the advice you included along with the list of books. I am wondering if you could add to that and tell me if a "course" exists that could teach a 10-year-old the basics of architectural drafting and drawing. I know of Sketch-Up, but I am thinking more of something that is kind of a step-by-step thing where I could buy an architectural drafting kit of tools and have him learn to hand-draw things like blueprints and architectural sketches. He likes to draw and doodles frequently. He enjoys art of all kinds. 

If you have the time to e-mail me regarding physical architectural drafting tools (non-computer, as we'll try Sketch-Up for on-computer drafting) and course books that a child could understand and use, as well as additional online tutorials or software that teaches these things, I would greatly appreciate your assistance.

His birthday is fast approaching, so I am running out of time to find something architecture-related, but my own searching has not yielded anything with good reviews.

Thanks in advance!


As the birthday is fast approaching, I will hope this provides you enough time to secure a great gift.

Some best shops for architecture-related gifts are the following:

National Building Musuem -
Chicago Architecture Foundation -

A CAF new website to teach teens about design is the following:
Discover Design -

CAF also offers a great book - The Architecture Handbook

Also, below is a brief paragraph from my book - Becoming an Architect, 2nd ed.  Truly, I would suggest building blocks to encourage imagination and creativity.  Everyone uses legos, but simply blocks -- a good sketchbook is also great to encourage drawing.

Over the past century, numerous toys with an architectural theme have been developed.  Many are variations of blocks; all provide children a sense of design, discovery, and creation.  For example, Legos® are one of the more popular children’s toys that architecture students say helped them become interested in the field.  John Lloyd Wright, the son of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, invented Lincoln Logs in 1916. Introduced just prior in 1914, Tinkertoys® and Erector Sets allow children to construct and build their ideas.  A more basic toy that almost all children play with is blocks.  Sets of purchased wooden blocks can be used to build everything from patterns to elaborate structures, houses, and skyscrapers.

A less well-known toy, used by Frank Lloyd Wright as a child, is Froebel Blocks, a series of wooden stacking blocks developed in the 1830s by Friedrich Froebel, a German educator and the originator of the kindergarten, for children to learn the elements of geometric form, mathematics, and creative design. Wright described their influence on his work: “The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterwards leaves the fingers: so form became feeling,” and “A significant idea behind the blocks is the importance for developing minds of examining things around them in a freely structured manner.”

Another set of wooden building blocks to consider is Kapla.  Made of pine from renewable French forests, Kapla are small rectangular planks all measuring 1” x 4 ½ “ x ¼ “ .  Children of all ages can create just about anything without any glue, screws or other fastener.

As for tools, you might consider a drafting board and t-square, triangles, lead holders, etc., but I truly think a sketchbook would be best.  Drafting is NOT what architects do.

There are many summer programs offered by schools (mostly for high school students) that would be appropriate; check out -- -- for a list of them.


Employment Prospects?

Good Morning!

I'm trying to find information on future (into 2020) careers in architectures. Can you help me? Thanks in advance.


The only source (BLS) that I am aware of reports a growth of 24% between 2010-2020 faster than average for all occupations.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Architects, 
on the Internet at (visited July 13, 2013).

Digital vs. Hand?

I asked him some questions about architecture and he suggested you and said you could help me.

I'm an architect not a real architect because i just passed Bachelor courses and it's a long way to being a good architect.

I want to continue my studying even though it will be a hard way. I'd like to apply for Master degree in America or Canada's universities and I want to know what's most important for them to accept me? 3d Modeling (Revit or 3ds Max) or Sketch??

From my past experience working at three U.S. institutions (IIT, Univ. of Maryland and Univ. of Illinois), I would not suggest that they are not concerned that your work is digital vs. hand, but rather review based on other criteria.

Your best source to determine those criteria is the actual programs to which you are applying.  If you are not sure, the best source for a list of accredited programs in the U.S. is or --.

By contacting each program individually, you can inquire on how they review portfolios and how they make decisions on admissions.  I would suggest that your portfolio have a mix of both digital work and hand work.


Becoming licensed across borders.

Dear Dr. Architect,

I came across your blog while researching M. Arch programs in US, UK and EU. I am currently a B.Arch. student from India and will receive my National Architecture license from the Council of Architecture, India soon after graduation.

I would like to work as an architect in the countries mentioned above and it would be really helpful if you could provide me some information on the licensing and education requirements for international graduates to find work there.  Also how long would it take before I can start work there? 

P.S : There are a number of ‘Star-architects’ who design projects across the globe. How do they get approved to work if they are licensed only in their native countries?  

For information on licensing within the U.S., the best source is NCARB - National Council for Architectural Registration Boards -

As your degree is from India, you will need to follow EESA to have your education evaluated; of course, if you pursue the Master of Architecture (NAAB) accredited, you will meet the education standard.


As for U.K., I suggest you be in touch with RIBA.


As for the EU, I am not sure, but I am pretty sure that each country has its own requirements.

P.S. Question - Architects who are not licensed in a particular country or jurisdiction partner with a local architect of record who is licensed in the local jurisdiction.