Career Change to Architecture?

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Career Change to Architecture?

Postby JS » Tue Apr 16, 2002 3:04 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 mtsquan » Tue Sep 21, 2004 6:50 pm

don' t worry about the age mate, at the end of the day you should be satisfied with what you really want to do, remember, life should be worth living, not full of regrets!!

if architecture is what you really want to do then go for it!!!!
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Postby space_invader » Wed Sep 22, 2004 3:50 pm

now that is a shit reponse mate. a shit response to a very well articalted quandry.

js - you seem eminently suited to architecture - you certainly play down your apparently arty side but then go on to say you've webbed up, done techy dwgs, jewellery, cards etc. sounds about right. and anyway dinnae overplay the arty bit of architecture - i can tell you that is only one small part of a much wider discipline.

in fact discipline is the key word - to be an architect is to be the ultimate project manager - you must corral information in the same manner a good butcher chops meat - whatever the fuck that means.

35 is not young to be a graduate architect. anyway - the method of attaining riba accreditation is changing. it may not be as long in the near future.

also, once you've got part 1 (an undergrad degree) sorted you cqan begin to develop an interesting career.

i say go for it never to late n all that. but don't 'go for it' if it is cash you are after and be prepared to let it become part of your life in a way other careers don't.

i'm a journo now. i was an architect but i also dabbled with computer games and freelance digital design. a good university education (and one in architecture is pretty good) allows you to apply a mindset to any kind of professional carreer.

and anyway, good architects never retire.

and don't score success till they are at least 44 and 3/4 years old anyway.
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Postby greginlondon » Wed Sep 22, 2004 4:14 pm

Dont listen to he guy above saying you are "too old" - absolute rubbish.

I have many friends from Denmark and Holland who are only just getting round to finishing their studies by their mid thirtees. There is hopefully plenty of life left after that!. Just look at an architect like Rick Joy in Arizona d arhchitecture school at 27 and look at him now! I actually believe it may be beneficial to start late - maturity can be quite helpful and you will naturally be motivated from the outset as you will KNOW it is something you want to do.

Advice? I would consider starting the course as soon as you can, however. Somewhere that is going to get the juices going immediately - the London schools are generally excellent and I feel none of them are a bad choice.

If you want to do something related but not direct studying for a year, how about some practical experience? maybe hook up with a craftsman of some sort or just design and build a tree house in your garden!You could, I'm sure, do some sort of work for friends or relatives. How about cutting your teeth on a deck, or a small gazebo? - look at Carlo Scarpa detailing, get the jigsaw out and go for it! Architecture schools will see this type of experience as invaluble, also.

Good Luck!
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Postby phil » Wed Sep 22, 2004 4:58 pm

Philip Johnson was older when he did his architecture degree aswell wasn't he?
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Postby shadow » Wed Sep 22, 2004 9:30 pm

Philip Johnson was also rich
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Postby space_invader » Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:06 am

well there was a famous architecture bloke around in the 16th century - Sinan, the architect to the ottoman court of suleiman the magnificent and consequently the designer and builder of half of imperial istanbul and some very large and beautiful mosques, bridges, castles, tombs, hammams, caravanserais, fountains, whatever.

he became the sultan's architect when he was fifty. then spent the next 46 years rewriting stone technology (see suleimaniye cami in istanbul).

previously he'd been a seige commander helping expand the ottoman empire.

the whole age thing is just pish.
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Postby phil » Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:41 am

Originally posted by shadow
Philip Johnson was also rich


Was he rich before becoming an architect or was he rich as a result of being one? ie, Shadow are you saying that he could afford to study it at a later stage due to his wealth or did he make his money from it?
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Postby shadow » Thu Sep 23, 2004 11:55 am

Before electing to go to Harvard GSD he was involved with MOMA a post he was "sponsored" by family. Without the concern of making a living gives one freedom to pursue architecture. His family was wealthy prior to his involvement in architeture and I am sure he has made sufficent money from the various large scale proejcts he has been invovled with. He has been quoted as saying that architects are like prostitutes and his knack for shifting with the various winds of architectural change is well known.
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Postby Adamski » Thu Sep 23, 2004 3:09 pm

Hi,

I think that the very fact that you have written the e-mail suggests that this is something that you really want to do.

As a lecturer in architecture (I am Year One Leader on the BA Hons Architecture course at Oxford Brookes), I would like to suggest that a degree in Architecture is a fantastic experience, and a superb way to manifest your creative juices. The achieveing of a degree in architecture also opens up many other avenues for design and creativity. As the architecture course by its nature is diverse, you will be exposed to many other design disciplines- and in fact by undertaking the design projects on offer to you, you will undoubtedly question what you percieved as 'architecture' before you started!

I would aslo (with respect) suggest that your admission of conservatism is due to not only the fact you outline, but maybe a conservative environment you may find yourself in on a daliy basis. Architecture school will certainly change that.

Lastly, remember it is never too late- and mature students of architecture are very much welcomed, as you will be able to offer life experience amongst other qualities to younger students!

If you wish to talk further, don't hesitate to e-mail me.

Regards,

Adam Cowley
Year One Leader
Senior Lecturer
Oxford Brookes University
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Postby afm » Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:18 pm

I'm in third year in Dundee and heading towards 28, don't regret it. There are quite a few mature students in Dundee, if you are interested you should get in touch with Year 1 head, Brian Adams, great guy, rather unorthodox.

the years pass anyway, do something you really enjoy.
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Postby FIN » Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:35 pm

brian and his feng shui!!!
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Postby Georgie » Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:06 pm

Give me a call as I am a architectural recruiter and have many clients that could be interested in your skill sets. 01223 448685!

Thanks,

Georgie
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Postby ni » Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:44 pm

I think that the degree may be a better option - no - its not late!
I know at least five persons aroun 30´s that are still in college. you can allways conciliate the study with work in any other area, if it makes you feel better.

good luck!

be brave...

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