What would you say to young students thinking about a career in #Architecture? by @WJMArchitect (Part 1)

I was recently catching up with my buddy Billy Martin and  I asked him to help me write about Architecture as a profession.

This is part one of what he had to say….

Question: What would you say to young students thinking about a career in Architecture? 

by William J Martin

I speak with students all the time about architecture as a profession.. ok …… 13-14 year olds………here goes…

Architecture as a profession–

The architectural profession has a long history. It goes back thousands of years to when the first humans put rocks and tree branches together and created shelter to protect and comfort themselves from nature’s cold, hot, snow, rain, earthquakes, etc.

Moving forward in time, ancient Egyptian architects created the Pyramids, Chinese architects created the Great Wall, Greek architects created the Acropolis and Parthenon, Roman architects created cities, aqueducts, coliseum, etc. and in the modern age, architects have created skyscrapers, sports stadiums, department stores, as well as homes.

Architecture is, first of all, an art. Artistic beauty, correct layout of the interior, heat and air conditioning, construction cost all need to be considered in designing buildings. In other words, It has to look “COOL” inside and out, not leak from the roof, not be too hot or cold, and not cost too much to build.

An architect has the knowledge and training to figure out how to blend all these things together.

Architects design buildings with all these things in mind. In many ways it is like solving a giant 3-dimensional puzzle. OR like playing a video game where the goal is to place and move objects and materials together to create a complicated machine that works for shelter and looks “COOLER” than anyone else’s.

Watercolor of Hagia Sophia by Unknown http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagia_Sophia

Architects use drawings, art, history, social studies, math, science, astronomy, sports, and computers to design and plan buildings.

Architects use art and drawings to plan out spaces and shapes that will look and feel “pleasing” to people. We use computers to help imagine what the building designs would look like and compare different shapes, colors, materials and ideas. We call this simply the “design process”.

Architects use mathematical calculations to determine safe beam and column sizes to build safe stable buildings. We use science and chemistry to design materials such as concrete, stone, wood. We use the science of water and pipes for plumbing. We use the science of electricity for wiring and lighting. We use astronomy to calculate the sun angles for window locations and daylighting inside buildings. We use the history of buildings that were built before, to design new buildings, like a bank with big columns in front. We also create completely new shapes and spaces to solve a new need for space that maybe did not exist before, like a golf driving range with 3 levels so more golfers can hit balls at the same time. We use writing, cameras, computers, video and other media to plan and explain ideas.

If you like this post please share it with friends and family, especially those with children aspiring to become Architects.

(Click Here to read Part 2 of 2)

Also Check Out:

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://www.fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.

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13 Comments on “What would you say to young students thinking about a career in #Architecture? by @WJMArchitect (Part 1)”

  1. Beautiful, succinct post. Great job Frank and William. And I love the watercolor rendering of the Hagia Sophia– breathtaking!

  2. askmaverick says:

    Great post Frank and loved the way you have mentioned how we integrate different sciences to solve a design. I had recently written about “what do architects do” and talked about the practicalities faced by us as professionals. Architecture a great profession to be in but not as glamorous as perceived by aspiring students or a lay man. Still a building in itself is so complex and to make it functional, aesthetically pleasing and economically viable is the architect’s job. For me, Architecture is truly an art which changes the lives of people touched by it.
    Leaving a link of my post for your reference below http://askmaverick.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/the-art-of-architecture/

  3. Matt Taylor says:

    Nice piece. Here is my response to questions from older students of architecture working on their thesis. http://www.matttaylor.com/public/authentic_architecture/authentic_architecture_dialog.htm

  4. Mark Joel says:

    When I used to take people to Europe on business trips for industrial equipment, I would show them the local architecture; the old churches, the Roman aqueducts. In my opinion, the state of the art in technology for the time these structures were created was expressed in the architecture of that time. The best and brightest minds were working on these structures utilizing whatever principals of engineering, and discovering new ones as they went along. The foundation for our modern technologies is partially based in the advancement of architecture. Just one guy’s opinion.

  5. Brian says:

    I really like how you wrote this article specific to the teenage frame of mind-easily understood. There’s nothing more absurd than to sit through a studio critique and listen to some knucklehead go on about the “intrensic capability of the building to capture in the inherent themes of the surrounding flora and fauna…” No one wants to hear that. Speak english! We’re not lawyers. So you mean the building invites nature in? Huh. Architecture needs simplicity, and we need to stress that to kids who want to grow up practicing design, so bravo.

    • fc3arch says:

      That’s a critical decision making time for most children so I believe Bill was trying to focus on their point of view. Bill and I have spoken to countless children over the years and we like to ensure them that although challenging, Architecture is a great career decision. For those that choose to go a different route, we are still happy to inform them of what Architects do in the event that they are ever in a position to work with us. No career choice is “easy” what matters most is that people choose to do something that makes them happy. Simply, put, that is what makes one’s life successful, not the amount of money one can earn (altho that doesn’t hurt either!!!)…

  6. D.Chehab says:

    Very nice post describing the profession. However, it is also important to provide a word of warning on how difficult it can be to make a living as an architect, and that many end up leaving the profession because they have to make ends meet.

  7. […] anyone in school considering Architecture as a profession, check out this great article by my colleague, William Martin, […]


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