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Dreams of designing a home & the required education

Mar 19 '09 16 Last Comment
Corby
Mar 19, 09 5:56 pm

I'm a graphic designer, with a love of architecture. One of the things I want to do before I leave this planet is design and build my own home. I feel that to do this, I need to be trained in architecture. I'm toying with the idea of taking a part-time degree over the next 6 years, in the hope that this might give me enough knowledge to make my dream a reality.

Do you think this is a silly idea? Is it foolish to study an architecture degree for no other reason than to build one personal project? Do you need to be a trained architect to design your own home?

Without training, can you ever truly successfully design a building?

 

FRaC
Mar 19, 09 6:10 pm
Do you think this is a silly idea?

not at all

Is it foolish to study an architecture degree for no other reason than to build one personal project?

no - if you're passionate about it and have the cash and time to burn, go for it!

Do you need to be a trained architect to design your own home?

as far as i know, no state requires an architect's stamp for a single family residence. so no, you don't need to be trained as an architect.

Without training, can you ever truly successfully design a building?

yes - training in architecture and being an architect is not required to create 'architecture'. however, it may make making 'architecture' a more likely outcome.

dia
Mar 19, 09 6:31 pm

Do you want to design it only, or design, document and oversee construction i.e do everything?

Getting a degree for this only is overkill IMO. What it might be good to do is break it down a little. Work with an architect on a small scale house/building first and see how you go. Then decide if it is for you.

There are two things going on here - the design knowledge and the technical knowlege. The architecture degree prepares you for more than designing a house. You can get a good knowledge of domestic architecture and its hisory and development on your own if you are passionate. And if I can be crude, the technical knowledge can be bought - hire a competent architect of draftsperson and work with them.

Corby
Mar 19, 09 6:58 pm

I guess the real attraction is the design of it. I have no real desire to actually become an architect, so studying it at degree level does seem overkill.

My concern is that the authorship of the design would be diluted, or taken away from me in some way if I was actually to go down the route of simply working with an architect. In the same way that in my own profession, I abhor being told how to design something by boring middle managers with no design talent, I imagine that an architect would dislike being put in a position where they are taking instruction from someone with a much lower level of knowledge in architecture than themselves.

I wonder if you can truly design a house on anything other than a superficial level without having had any kind of advanced architecture education.

Is there any history of non-qualified architects having designed any buildings of merit? Also, if I was to follow the architecture degree, I understand that this doesn't make me a "registered" architect; so what career path or opportunities are there for unregistered architects?

liberty bell
Mar 19, 09 7:06 pm

It's not a silly idea, but it has nothing to do with architecture. Architecture is a discipline packed with theory, history, tradition, and craft. You don't care about these things within the discipline, you just want to realize a structure in which you can live while pointing around you and saying "I did this".

That last sentiment is enormously satisfying, but, again, has nothing to do with architecture.

Don't bother with a degree, just do it on your own. As suggested above, start with a garden shed: design it, build it. Then decide if a whole house is something you want to conquer. Many, many people have done this and continue to do it every day, and make themselves homes of which they can be proud. Go for it. but for godssake don't go to school to "learn" how to do it. That's just a waste.

bowling_ball
Mar 19, 09 7:17 pm

"Is there any history of non-qualified architects having designed any buildings of merit?"

Just about any architect of repute (or rather, celebrity) practicing before the 1960. It's a generalization, but it's also very true. Many of our most well-known architects were trained in other areas, such as furniture or carpentry, blacksmithing/metalwork, jewelry design, painters.....

The idea of being 'qualified' or even 'registered' is a very new idea.

won and done williams
Mar 19, 09 7:30 pm

you're definitely over-thinking things. if you want to design your own house, just draw it. with enough money, you'll be able to find a contractor to build it for you. if you want to spend a little bit more money, you can find an architect who can help refine your ideas. most architects are not in the business because he or she wants to be the "author" of a design. architects work with clients to develop ideas into something constructable. i think your ideas about architecture and authorship are based more on ayn rand and frank lloyd wright (and maybe a little bit of mike brady) than they are based on what we actually do as a profession.

dia
Mar 19, 09 7:42 pm

The other thing corby - being an architect and designing a building does not automatically make a building architecture, nor is the authorship issue solved. With everything, it comes down to the vaidity or otherwise of the end result.

Antisthenes
Mar 19, 09 7:50 pm

just don't try to be your own engineer w/o training

knock
Mar 20, 09 5:36 pm

"My concern is that the authorship of the design would be diluted, or taken away from me in some way if I was actually to go down the route of simply working with an architect."

Don't worry, the contractor will take care of diluting the design intent, no matter who the "author" is.

Steven WardSteven Ward
Mar 20, 09 8:11 pm

i'd actually encourage you to learn as much as you have the luxury to learn. it could be a hugely enriching part of the process of deciding what you want. i'm sort of assuming that this is why you asked: you don't already know what you want and you're curious what you can learn to make it better. i say go for it.

Isaac Gaetz
Mar 20, 09 9:22 pm

My two bosses, both engineers, designed their own homes respectively and both have consistently recommended that I someday design my own, BUT, they always make sure to mention that it shouldn't be the first home I design. No matter how much you think you've got everything designed perfectly in your head, it would be nice to have a trial run of some sort. They are very happy with their homes, but like all perfectionists, they'll find things they'd have done differently if they could change it now.

Short of some sort of trial run, why not capitalize on an architect's experience and let them help you see what you otherwise won't see until it is too late? Talk to a few architects, treat it as though you are interviewing them, and find out the one right for you and you should have a very good experience.

strlt_typ
Mar 20, 09 10:42 pm

people in third world countries do this all the time...

jbirl
Mar 20, 09 11:56 pm

Isn't this what Jefferson did? Not crazy, learn what you need to feel comfortable and go for it. Many of us do the graphic design thing and never went to school for it.

Orhan AyyüceOrhan Ayyüce
Mar 21, 09 12:19 am




On Ludwig Wittgenstein's sister's house;
"The door handles took a year to design. The radiators took another. And then the ceiling had to be raised - by a few millimetres. Stuart Jeffries on what happened when Ludwig Wittgenstein applied his philosophy to architecture"
link

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May 12, 09 7:37 am

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emaze
May 12, 09 10:43 pm
the most beautiful house in the world

is the one you build for yourself...

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