Career Change to Architecture?

World architecture... what's happening generally....

Career Change to Architecture?

Postby JS » Tue Apr 16, 2002 3:05 pm

Hi. I am an IT Project Manager and am considering changing career completely, to architecture. Straight after school, I did a degree in economics and business. This decision was based on several factors, among them my interest in business, the wide application of such studies and the lack of confidence in my creative / artistic abilities, having not done art at school.

I am 27 now, and not surprisingly to me (on reflection), not finding my current career creatively stimulating or satisfying; there is this niggling regret that I didn't at least ATTEMPT (to study) Architecture when I was younger. To be honest, I am not convinced that the architectural discipline is necessarily the appropriate outlet for my creative instincts, and to make the decision NOW to follow the 7+ year formal education path (RIBA) to qualify as an architect, would therefore be a hefty one, with widespread implications. (e.g. What happens if after say 2 years things aren't working out, what am I skilled to do then, what doors am I closing by taking this course of action or if things do, how does the market look at a novice architect aged 35?!)

I am, by nature, observant and I pay great attention to detail. I have never really thought of myself as "arty", (please don't be offended by my stereotyping!). In fact, I think of myself as quite conservative (although this opinion has probably been formed by previous boundaries I have set for myself). My approach to life is logical, methodical and analytical, yet proactive and enthusiastic. I am very thoughtful, and within that arena, imaginative.

To date I have treated exploration of my "creative side" as a hobby: I have always been very interested in buidlings, and my photography has remained focussed on that subject matter. I love - and have had several opportunites to - look at (or create preliminary) building plans, to determine the most appropriate use of space and suitablitly to environment. I have built models for friends studying architecture and interior design. I have created logos and web pages, lighting and greeting cards, woodwork and jewellery, produced technical drawings and attended art courses. I love buidlings old and new, their history and their place in and contribution to society.

All this "talk" is getting me whipped up into a flurry of excitement! I have a few questions about which I was hoping members of the forum might be able to give some advice:

- Do I sound like the kind of person suited to a career in architecture?
- Do you know of any short courses - in/near London - (say up to 1 year, full or part time) that would serve as an introduction to architecture (a) to provide the basics on which further architectural studies could be based or (b) from I would emerge with some deisgn skills that could be used in other areas of design, should I decide that architecture is not for me?
- Would a general "introduction to design - skills, techniques and background" be a better avenue, so that from a broad base I could decide if I am strong enough in design to pursue a career therin?
- What is the architectural community's opinion of Draftsmen?
- Can one "get by" in the architectural arena with just a draftsman qualification?
- Can you recommend any draftsman courses in/near London
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Postby darrancrawford » Tue Apr 16, 2002 8:23 pm

You're creativey is not in question but I would advise against studying the full 7 years. There are many other careers that are creatively rewarding that you could try that do not require you to write off 5 years of your life in full time education.

My advice to you is to become a very, very wealthy IT consultant and then find a plot of land, commission an architect to help you out and design your dream. Then supervise the whole thing on site and you will get the rewards without the hard work. If you like it and enjoy it, then buy another plot of land and do it again and again.(you may even make a lot of money at it!) You will never get cynical by working for nightmare clients on design free jobs. Architects are snared at a young age and by the time they realise it they are too hooked on what they are doing to care....
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Postby James » Wed Apr 17, 2002 1:35 pm

Go back to college - do the full 5 year course as a mature student, get your 2 years post grad experience, pass your part 3 exams for institute membership and registration (if you're in the UK)and go on from there.

35 is'nt that old for qualifying - one of the best Architects I know did just what you're doing - qualified at 33 and took her part 3 exams at 35. She's had no difficulty getting the right type of work or finding job satisfactino in her (lately) chosen field.

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