What would you say to young students thinking about a career in #Architecture? by @WJMArchitect (Part 2)

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 two of what he had to say….

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

by William J Martin

All of this is part of the plans or “blueprints” of a building to be built.

Architects need to be physically fit and mentally strong. While the building is being constructed, the architects are visiting, checking, walking on steel beams, crawling into foundations, climbing up on the roof. We do this to make sure everything fits together properly and safely.

Knowledge of sports and sports strategy is needed for the architects and workers to be acting as a coordinated team while assembling the building. Thinking ahead to the “next play” is part of the strategy of building a design from the plans. Very often millions of dollars are spent on buildings and architects are there to help get it done.


Architecture is a licensed profession just like a doctor, a lawyer, or dentist, This means a person must go to and finish college, study, and pass tests given by the government,. Passing the tests shows the person has all the knowledge needed to provide architectural services safely and competently to the public. We don’t want our buildings to fall on people.

Studying hard and doing well in high school is a good start to becoming an architect. English, math, science, history, and especially art, drawing, and computer classes are courses in high school that will prepare you for architecture school. School plays and stage set building, playing sports, being physically fit is also good preparation.

After high school, apply to an accredited architecture college for admission to an architecture learning program. It takes a minimum of five years of college to complete the courses and receive a college degree in architecture.

After college, a 3 year, paid internship is required. You work in a real architect’s office and use the knowledge that was learned in college. You get paid for your valuable work as you learn more. The intern architect works with a licensed architect to learn how exactly to use the knowledge that was learned in the classroom. The internship involves doing everything an architect does, but the more experienced architect guides the intern architect to make sure things are done right.

After the internship is completed, passing the Architectural Registration Exam is the next step. Once you get a passing grade on that exam, the State you live in, will give you an official license to practice architecture and design buildings on your own. You can then start you own company and design buildings for people who need them.

Fallingwater or Kaufmann Residence designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in rural southwestern Pennsylvania http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallingwater

Fallingwater or Kaufmann Residence – 2nd Floor Plan

Green design—

Many architects are now using a design point system called LEED. L E E D stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a green building rating system by which buildings are designed, constructed and rated for energy efficiency and environmental sensitivity. Buildings are designed and built using environmentally responsible construction materials and methods.

The importance of architecture as a profession–

Architects are more important then ever to our country and our environment. Right now architects around the world are using math, science and computers to design new kinds of buildings that will save energy and reduce damage to the environment. Everyone needs a home or building in which to live or work. Having buildings that use less electricity, less heating in winter, less air conditioning in summer, will use much less energy. That means power plants will produce less power and reduce pollution of the air and water. This is important to preserve the environment now and in the future.

(Click Here to read Part 1 of 2)

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

Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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

8 Comments on “What would you say to young students thinking about a career in #Architecture? by @WJMArchitect (Part 2)”

  1. Scot Masker says:

    This may be all part of the aspirations for and why one might be attracted to the “profession”. However, it is important to separate the dream from the reality. The dream being doing the art, making spaces, shaping places and setting the scene for the playing out of peoples lives. The reality is of an industry which is highly litigious with the liabilities lying somewhat heavily with the trusted professional- the architect! One needs to get the work, do the work and then collect our fees for the privilege. If an architect is lucky and entrepreneurial enough they may avoid the “drawing board” factories and have their own concern or work for a good one. Sometimes one works for a client who might not be a first choice as a collaborator, there is not often the privilege of turning work away as there are jobs to sustain, bills to pay and families to feed. The profession itself is it own worst enemy, architects are quick to criticize each other and their work very often on stylistic points instead of recognizing good work (buildings that do not leak) and high quality design when it exists regardless of ones own artistic predispositions (firmness-commodity-delight, remember that lesson). This peculiar position and self appointed role as style police is reinforced in many universities which promote “contemporary” forms and the modernist idiom over other possible architectural languages. People looking to pursue architecture as a career should be made aware of the whole storey. But all that said I know that because I am an Architect I make things better and continue to assist people and businesses as well as enhancing the built and natural environment. After all this is a service industry as well as an artistic one. Its not always perfect but what always is?


    • fc3arch says:

      You make many great points. In the end we must encourage intelligent children to pursue the profession. They have options besides becoming starving artists or capitalists on Wall Street (perhaps some place in between, pursue an artistic profession and make some money at it). Sure the profession has many challenges but which one doesn’t? The most important thing is to educate the children and their parents on what Architects do, because even if they decide not to become Architects, they can respect and appreciate us when they need an Architect. Personally, I want people to WANT an Architect not NEED an Architect. Let us do what we do best — design. Please–Don’t just call us when you NEED us, AKA document your illegal renovations 😉


      • Scot Masker says:

        Indeed, people who do it well should be respected and educating people about the profession is important (The value added argument). But, regarding informing those who may aspire to the cause and want to do it as part of a life choice, they need to have the whole storey.


  2. Gene says:

    Nice job on the Falling Waters photo Frank.

    A really great perspective and the folIage… a fantastic negative space!



  3. Phil Zemke says:

    I would tell young students thinking about architecture to find work with someone who builds interesting buildings. Then I would tell them to get work with an entrepreneur who can teach them how to be self starters. Then I would insist that they learn how to draw, and even more important, how to see. Color, form, shadow, reflection etc. Then I would ask them to learn the local or remote architectural landmarks by visiting and studying how they are successful. Maybe a few months with an attorney, an accountant and a building inspector would also provide some perspective.
    Then I might let them on a computer to point and click their way through the archaic and complex programs that we so love/hate.
    It’s a great profession for the curious. there really isn’t a dull day.


  4. […] What Do You Say to Young Students Considering a Career in Architecture? (Part 2) Answered by @WJMAr… […]


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