Mature Student - Architecture

Mature Student - Architecture

Postby daveheeney » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:56 pm

Folks,

I've been asked for career advice, and as it's something that I hate giving, I'm throwing it open here (this way, if things go horribly wrong, it's you not me who will be getting the blame!). A friend of mine has been talking about going back to college to study Architecture. He's in his late twenties and has the money saved for the fees. He wants to know what I think.

I'm well out of the loop architecture-wise :cool: , so I feel far from confident in advising him. Anybody have any feeling on this? Is it worth his going back and being in his mid-thirties by the time he qualifies? IF he qualifies? And would he even have a chance of getting in as a mature student? I'm loathe to tell him that he should give up a well-paying job, as no doubt over the next few years he may want to buy a house or have kids.

Any thoughts - leftfield or otherwise - are welcomed. :confused:
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby Richards » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:58 pm

I applied to go back and study architecture in Dublin over the last two years as a mature student,

On the second attempt, I was offered a place in UCD, however I declined the place as my personal circumstances had changed.

My advice would be to at least apply as the odds of getting a place in Architecture (at least in Dublin) is about 1 place for every 10 applicants. If undecided, getting a portfolio together etc might help the potential candidate make a decision.
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby sinnerboy » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:39 pm

Don't want to start the old Techie vs Architect rivalry off - but from a pragmatic point of view , being a shorter course of study , the Arch Tech may be a more "flexible " bet . I.E may well make it to end the course without life altering circumstance tripping your friend up .
Courses are due to come on stream ( perhaps they have already ) to allow Technicians to do post grad studies to obtain degree status . With an ever increasing expansion of technological , ecological , health and safety , fire safety , access for disabled etc , issues to challenge and engage with I can say as a Techie myself ( for 22 years ) that it is a stimulating and rewarding way to earn a crust . And , oh yes , working with Architects is not all that bad ( LOL )
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby henno » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:46 am

sinnerboy wrote:Don't want to start the old Techie vs Architect rivalry off - but from a pragmatic point of view , being a shorter course of study , the Arch Tech may be a more "flexible " bet . I.E may well make it to end the course without life altering circumstance tripping your friend up .
Courses are due to come on stream ( perhaps they have already ) to allow Technicians to do post grad studies to obtain degree status . With an ever increasing expansion of technological , ecological , health and safety , fire safety , access for disabled etc , issues to challenge and engage with I can say as a Techie myself ( for 22 years ) that it is a stimulating and rewarding way to earn a crust . And , oh yes , working with Architects is not all that bad ( LOL )


I appreciate the suggestion your making above sinnerboy, im a Technician myself and wouldnt have it any other way, however it doesnt really help the original poster in advising his friend on how to access Architecture courses. I can only assume his friend knows the difference between an Architect and an Architectural Technologist, and as such is more inclined to the design aspect of Architeture.

OP, I would advise your friend of the following timescales, assuming they would like to be self emplyed:
1. need prepare portfolio in order to pass interview to obtain position in course (maybe 6 -12 months.. maybe need to do a portfolio preparation course)
2. 5 years full time study,.... possibility of a year out somewhere in the middle
3. minimum 2 years full time work under instruction from RIAI architect... in order to obtain membership of RIAI and subsequent permission to register as an Architect according to the Building Control Bill.

If the OPs friend is more interested in the technical and applied science of buildings, he would be more suited to the Technology course of Architecture, as suggested by sinnerboy.
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby daveheeney » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:43 pm

Thanks for the posts. I was hoping that somebody could convince ME one way or the other as to how I should advise him... At the moment, I'm not convinced myself as to what I think he should do, so I'm finding it hard to sound convincing.

It's not even the combination of the length of time with the consequent loss of wages: I'm just not convinced that working as an architect he'd be any happier than he is now. Or any better off (he's in building services engineering at the moment). I've tried telling him that its not all creativity and freehand sketching, but I'm not sure he's hearing me.

As for a portfolio, well he's got lots of sketchbooks and architectural photographs which I think are pretty decent, but like I said originally, I haven't worked as an architect in quite a while, so not sure how valid my opinions are...
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby pico » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:50 pm

I was a mature student when I came to Architecture, and would thoroughly recommend it.

You should consider how important money is to you,( if you are re-training, you would earn much more in law, medicine IT and many other sectors)
However, in terms of job satisfaction and personal fulfilment, it is potentially a very rewarding profession.

See my comments under this thread as well
http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=5137
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby daveheeney » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:59 pm

Anybody know if the portfolio requiements (expectations?) for a mature student are different to those applying directly through the CAO?
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby massamann » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:57 pm

Not sure about the portfolio requirements, but I'm in something of the same position myself, except a couple of years older. (wiser, dammit, wiser!).

My dilemma is whether to be qualified to design a house in Dublin, or stick with my current job and hopefully be rich enough to afford one...
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby Zygnoth » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:08 pm

Hey, I think the requirements for the portfolio are pretty similar for mature students as well. The "requirements" are generally quite broad so you just have to show an interest in space, buildings, light, etc. For DIT, it is possible to attend the interview without a portfolio but it isn't normally recommended without some very good reasons.

Portfolios for interview don't always have to be drawings (but it's very useful in the future)...just something that shows your creativity - photographs, sculptures, models, woodworking. You're trying to convince these people that you're worth the effort...

Hopefully this helps a bit.
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby Fred Fulton » Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:41 am

Dear all, I have read your postings with great interest. I am considering retraining at the ripe old age of 37, and really need to weigh up the pro's and con's. As opposed to most if not all of you who are thinking of, or refer to friends who are thinking of taking the plunge, I really dont have any previous professional links either to the artistic world (I sculpt in stone and do various other arty things - and have several friends and family friends who are architects) or to the architecture world, but I have had a growing interest in architecture over the last few years, accentuated perhaps when I did an MA in Development Studies at Oxford Brookes which is hosted by the School of Architecture... (previously I was founding employee of a couple of tech firms - sadly they were hit hard by the .com bubble bursting, and latterly Ive been working with the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies based out of Geneva).
I am interested in various aspects of Architecture and what I believe it can give me long-term (and being 37, I still have a good 30 or so years of work ahead of me... .hopefully more if I truly love my work!). So far Ive only seen reference to people retraining in their late 20s and early 30s.
Would anyone have a view on my age and previous experience(s) in terms of attempting to pursue a career in Architecture? Would anyone recommend anything more for me to do other than to talk top more architects, perhaps do a foundation course (as suggested)?
Any and all comments most welcome!
Thanks very much
All best
Fred
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby pico » Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:31 pm

Fred, I did my architectural education in two phases, first three years when I was 33 and last two years when I was 40. Personally, I’d say its never too late. It will be an experience in itself, doing a design course, open you up to new opportunities and hopefully open up other aspects of yourself.

Put a portfolio together, hopefully you have some drawing skill from your stonework (?) and if not, do a class. Read architecture magazines, sneak into UCD architecture library at Richview, I still find it inspirational.

See thread
http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=5137 for other info.
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Re: Mature Student - Architecture

Postby UW M.Arch » Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:36 pm

Greetings -

Even though I'm not in Ireland, I am a mature (47) M.Arch student at the University of Washington, here in Seattle - and I'm some percentage Irish as well.... :D

I returned to get my masters degrees in Planning & Urban Design (MUP) and Architecture (M.Arch) when I was in my early 40s. It's my fifth year of this 'overhaul' of my life - and while I would say it has been anything but easy, as well as very expensive, I am very happy I made this decision.

You can counsel your friend that whatever his decision, rest assured that in five years or ten years he will be five or ten years older - regardless. If his desire to study architecture is a serious one (the important distinction) - then he should consider the move. However he should know going in that it is not easy, there will be little/no income reward and there is lots of competition.

You might have him read a small book from the American Institute of Architects called "Architecture: A Guide to the Profession". It's not a friendly book - not a cheerleader book for the profession. It is a realistic look of all the pain and suffering he will have to endure to get the degree, get a job, get registered, etc... It's really a face full of cold water - and may help him in sorting it out. You can find it on their website.

All of this said: the only time it's really too late for making changes in your life is when priest lowers you into the ground.

Good luck!

Sean in Seattle
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