Monday, October 22, 2012

What should people know about becoming an architect?

A longtime colleague of mine, Lee Waldrep (aka Dr. Architecture), is working on a revised edition of his book Becoming an Architect.  Dr. Architecture is looking for some input from those who know the present and future of this profession best--you!  Below is his present table of contents for his book, but he and I both want to know: what should people really know about becoming an architect? What do you wish you'd known about two, four, six, or even eight years ago?  Feel free to post your input for Dr. Architecture in the comments, and thanks!

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.


  1. I'm sure I'll have more but;
    - accredited degrees vs. un-accredited. When I entered undergrad in the "architecture" program .. also known as Bachelor of Environmental Design. I was told that becoming an architect was no issue. However around junior year the truth came out ... I can become an architect with that degree but it required more IDP hours .. and NCARB would be an issue. I ended up going to graduate school which was an accredited program, but having friends deal with this now is enlightening.

  2. I would definitely stress these points:

    1. Architecture is not always a great profession for those looking to make good money (as compared to other general fields, i.e engineering). Most architects stick it out because they have a passion for the field. So, stress the passion>money issue. I know this is a discouraging issue but you did say "What do you wish you'd known about two, four, six, or even eight years ago" so I'm being honest.

    2. Job market. I don't know how present-focused this book is, but in the "present" time, the job market for architecture, especially young architects/interns is, well, disappointing. So, without directly discouraging the reader, I would want to stress they fluctuation of the market and maybe talk about what in the economy helps and hurts the need for architects.

    3. I would add a section on successful architects, or a section on the pinnacle of the profession. Something very positive for the reader to look forward to and appreciate. Perhaps placed at the end of the book; mention, for instance, Koolhaas, BIG, Zaha (as an inspiration for women), Adrian Smith (success of Dubai), etc. Just a few of the thousand names off the top of my head.

    My 2 cents.

  3. Architect Timmy and Gary - Thanks for your comments; I very much appreciate it and will consider your thoughts for the next edition.

    Do others have comments and thoughts?

    Dr. Architecture