Sunday, December 29, 2013

Networking - Architectural Visualization

Good morning Dr. Architecture.

I'm 34 years old. I have been one year living in Washington DC. I´m resident permanent.

I born in Peru, where I obtained a bachelor of architecture at "Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria". My specialty is architectural vizualization (3D images and animations). I start my new live in DC, but its difficult for me to connect with the profession, because I´m learning English language, and start to create a network in the profession.

I want learn new knowledge, continue my studies and obtain more experience in the profession. You could offer me a good advice, about where start my studies, and how start to work in an DC architecture office.

I appreciate your help.

Congrats on your pursuit of architecture and architectural visualization.

First, access to education in DC is plentiful.  There are a number of accredited architecture programs in DC - Catholic University of America, Howard University, University of Maryland, and VTech has a branch campus in Alexandria, VA known as the Washington-Alexandria Center.  All of these are good places to start with your network - attend lectures, connect with professors, etc.  For a list of the programs, visit --

As well, join the professional association - American Institute of Architects (AIA) with their local chapter - DC AIA (  As well, there are other institutions that may be helpful including the National Building Museum - (

I hope this provides you a start.  Best!

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Architecture - Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge

I came across your web site and I am not sure if you can help my son on the Architecture  Merit Badge.  The architect counselor has high expectation from my son (13.5 years old). He needs to submit Site plan, landscape plan, room plan and all drawn to scale.  To save time, I tried to find some free CAD software for my son. Will Google Sketchup work for this purpose? Any other easy to learn free CAD software? Is it better to draw the plans by hand?  

From my review of the Architecture Merit Badge, it appears that drafting scaled drawings are just a part of obtaining the badge.  Regardless, I would suggest that doing it be hand may be easier than learning a free CAD software.  Of course, with hand drafting, you would need a drawing board, t-square, scale, triangle, and drafting pencils.

Measure a room such as one where you live or where your troop meets. Make an accurately scaled drawing of the room's floor plan showing walls, doors, closets, windows, and any built-in furniture or cabinets. Neatly label your drawing with the following: your name, the date, what room you drew, and the scale of the drawing. (Drawing scale: ¼ inch = 1 foot)

With that said, I will be honest - I am NOT an expert on software but from a simple Google search, found the following that might be helpful.  I do not offer an opinion on one over the other as some are Windows based while others are cross platform.

Further, if your son is interested in architecture, I suggest he obtain Becoming an Architect, 2nd ed. (see attached).

As well, visit the website - --


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Recommendations for a School.

Which schools would you recommend a high school student apply to when considering architecture as a career?

Unfortunately, I do not recommend architecture programs.  Ultimately, it is up to you to research the programs against what is important to you to determine the best fit.

Below are two resources for you to review --

NAAB - - list of accredited programs - - list of accredited programs with ability to search.

Aside from these online resources, inquire with each program and ask for names of either current students or recent graduates for insight on the program.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Selecting an Architecture Program

My daughter is a high school junior with career plans to become a licensed, certified Architect. As we have been visiting colleges, it looks like there are many different programs, but not all meet the requirements to allow her to take the necessary tests. Either that , or some take much longer than others to reach their endpoint, or get there in very different ways.  At some of the places we visited, we have not been convinced that even after completing their 5 or 6 years of training that Julia's requirements to move forward in the certification process would be met.

How do we evaluate programs to be sure we are in the right place? Is there a list of acceptable accredited programs we should work from? Any guidance you can provide will be very valuable as we try to find the most effective program somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, New England,  or East Coast area for her to be in for the next 5 or 6 years. Thank you.


First, I will suggest you obtain the book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition as it outlines the entire process from high school to licensure.  With that said, I will provide answers to your questions.  We may also wish to touch base via the phone.

To become an architect in most states, an individual must have the following: 1) accredited professional degree by NAAB, 2) completion of IDP - Intern Development Program, and 3) pass the ARE - Architect Registration Exam.

As for degrees, NAAB accredits the following: 1) BArch - five year program, 2) MArch - typically 2-3 years following a BSAS pre-professional degree, 2b) MArch - typically 3-4 years following a BA/BS in a field other than architecture, and 4) DArch - only available from Hawaii.

What you have visited may be pre-professional degrees that require further education with the MArch.

To see the list of accredited programs, visit the NAAB website - Another sources - it requires a login, but is free.

To evaluate programs, I strongly encourage her to visit the programs and have a list of needs. 

Also, I would strongly encourage her to attend a summer program to experience it firsthand prior to college.  Attached is the preliminary list for Summer 2014.  The final list is available in late January.

Do let me know if you have any additional questions.  Best.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Architect to What?

I have enjoyed reading your blog over the years. I am wondering if you can help with my career predicament. What can I do with a B.Arch degree besides 'straight' architecture -- what graduate programs or careers would I be fit to undertake? Can you help with ideas?

Here is my background. I became a licensed architect in California. I graduated from Cal Poly SLO and then worked at a school design firm, then a residential firm. During my time at the school firm, I initially drafted CDs, and then later became a Project Manager doing construction admin work. I excelled at the management side of things, but felt I wasn't doing anything artistic. I turned to graphic design and web design as a career and left the profession. I have since been working in web design, but sometimes feel I am selling myself short in terms of the broad knowledge base I acquired through my architectural training (math, engineering, environmental control systems, design). I love learning and would like to do more academics if possible, but feel I need to be committed to a particular career/job title end goal. I have not worked in an architecture office for seven years, so feel like it is an impossibility to go back.

I appreciate any advice you may have -- if you have time! I realize you likely get many inquires. :-)

I am very pleased that you have enjoyed the blog for the past few years.

I appreciate your question as I have been spending time writing on the issue.  Below are a few articles that I have authored on the topic on what I call Architecture and Beyond.

All I can suggest is that you pursue your passion.  As you have discovered, an architectural education is a tremendous foundation for any number of career fields.  Of course, it is not easy to determine the best path.

Spend time assessing what you like -- interests, skills, etc.  Make the match between what you like and what is out there in terms of employment -- What is your timeline?

Keep searching and pursue it with a passion.  It will be hard to get back into architecture, but if you want it, go for it.