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    The 3 Best Cities for Architecture Careers

    David C. McFadden
    Jul 16, '18 5:52 PM EST

    Successful architecture careers don’t happen by accident. Just like well-designed buildings, they’re the result of careful planning.

    While there are countless metrics you can consider when going about this planning, one of the most important is the city within which you’ll work.

    That’s why we’ve put together a list of the three best cities in the country for professionals who are serious about pursuing successful architecture careers.

    We based this list on the all-important factor of salary but also on other unique traits worth considering.

    1. Atlanta, Georgia

    Georgia is one of the best states for architects, so it should come as no surprise that many point to its capital as the best city for this profession.

    Even though Atlanta is home to countless high-paying careers, architects are among the top 50 best-paid. Architectural managers even crack the top 20, alongside lawyers, several doctors, and even physicists.

    Of course, Atlanta also has an impressive history of hosting incredible buildings from a number of different styles, so you won’t be lacking for inspiration. That said, you won’t be lacking for competition, either. Atlanta is home to a few award-winning architects, though that also means plenty of impressive firms looking for new talent.

    2. West Palm Beach, Florida

    Located about an hour-and-a-half north of Miami, West Palm Beach has plenty going for it aside from the incredible weather. On average, the highest-paid architects in the country call West Palm Beach home. That average salary is an impressive $120,380 a year. Florida does not have a State income tax either.

    The city is also full of architecture firms – well over three dozen of them – so you shouldn’t have too much trouble beginning your job search.

    Many world-class architects choose West Palm Beach for their headquarters because there is no lack of developers with large budgets who appreciate beautiful designs.

    The city also attracts talent from across the world for the same reason. As just one example, look no further than the $100-million expansion of the Norton Museum, which was designed by Norman Foster, a winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.  

    3. Chicago, Illinois

    For our third spot on the list, we head north to the Windy City. Chicago’s history as a city of architectural wonders probably began in 1893 during the World’s Fair. It debuted the first ever Ferris Wheel but also brought in some of the time’s most prominent architects to contribute their talents.

    Though only one major structure survived, Chicago’s tradition of welcoming incredible architects has carried on. Over the years, famous architects like William Le Baron Jenney and Frank Lloyd Wright have all left their mark on Chicago.

    Modern architects looking to do the same won’t be disappointed. While the pay isn’t as much herethe cost of living is also much lower, meaning your salary will stretch a lot further.

    Work with Experts Who Specialize in Launching Architecture Careers

    Want more help getting your career off the ground?

    At Consulting For Architects, we specialize in both project placement and permanent placement for professionals who are dedicated to pursuing successful architecture careers. If you’d like the help of an experienced team of experts, please feel free to contact us today.


    After working at various design practices on a full-time and freelance basis, and starting his own design firm, David McFadden saw that there was a gap to be filled in the industry. In 1984, he created an expansive hub for architects and hiring firms to sync up, complete projects, and mutually benefit. That hub was Consulting For Architects Inc., which enabled architects to find meaningful design work, while freeing hiring firms from tedious hiring-firing cycles. This departure from the traditional, more rigid style of employer-employee relations was just what the industry needed - flexibility and adaption to modern work circumstances. David has successfully advised his clients through the trials and tribulations of four recessions – the early 80’s, the early 90’s, the early 2000’s, and the Great Recession of 2007.


    • BR.TN

      This is a better list:

      1. New York

      2. Chicago

      3. San Francisco / LA / Seattle

      Meanwhile, your list is really easy to disagree with...

      -Atlanta? The only good thing that the architecture scene in Atlanta has going for it that fact that Perkins+Will's Research Lab/Innovation Incubator is headquartered there. "Atlanta is home to a few award-winning architects," - keyword, FEW. With a city of Atlanta's size, there would actually be notable architects there if it was a good as you think it is.

      -West Palm Beach? "Many world-class architects choose West Palm Beach for their headquarters" didnt read the article, right? NO world-class architects are located in WPB. Barely any are even located in Miami, let alone an exurb 75 minutes away. How did you let this slip through your abhorrent reading comprehension?

      Finally, I'll critique the reason why you've failed at this list:

      "We based this list on the all-important factor of salary but also on other unique traits worth considering."

      -Salary? Dammit. We don't do this for the money...besides, at the very least, we make enough to live a comfortable middle-class life, while at best, we're upper-class millionaires. The "all-important factor" to an architect is actually the factor of positively contributing to a community's built environment and impacting the world we live in. Money comes second to passion, and the most talented architects are those who put their perfectionist level of design quality first and foremost. That's what they do in my Top 3 listed above. If you're the best at what you do, you will be paid handsomely for it, so stop worrying about the money, and start worrying about your impact on society.

      Aug 1, 18 6:48 pm  · 

      "so stop worrying about the money, and start worrying about your impact on society"

      Do you have any idea how many renown architects spent their lives one step ahead of the bill collector?

      Aug 2, 18 8:37 am  · 

      Interesting blurb, we definitely need to worry about both. Money is the currency of respect in our society. I hope any talented architect get paid what their worth... whether it be from an employer or the client. 

      I will say, this list really surprised me. would have thought that LA or NYC would have been on it. That said, I can confirm that the pay rate for the average younger architect in nyc is crap!

      Sep 6, 18 6:48 pm  · 

      Good comments. Thanks.

      May 28, 19 3:55 pm  · 

      To BR.TN:

      New York is the absolute worst place to start a practice or grow an architectural career. The average salary of $65K means you will take home approx. 30 thousand after 5 layers of taxation kicks-in, meaning you will likely have 7 or more roommates, no car, barely enough money to afford the monthly cost of a subway pass.  New York is the "City" of the unpaid trust-fund baby!......nobody else!

      And to Consulting for Architects, the author: West palm Beach.....ha ha...give me a break! West Palm beach may be a really great place to build a solo start-up architecture firm, yes definitely, but for salaried employment?.....As someone who has lived in South Florida for many years, I think your information is either incomplete, uninformed, or just plain incorrect!......

      Dec 18, 19 12:31 pm  · 

      The dubious findings lay bare the limits of the analysis method used by the author.

      Dec 18, 19 8:49 pm  · 

      According to me, LA is good.

      Aug 2, 20 3:09 am  · 
      1  · 
      Zafer Ustuner

      Hi I am researching on this topic, would be glad if anyone that comes by drop more ideas. It cant be just 5 places in all of US. Can it be? 

      Oct 10, 20 7:41 pm  · 

      West Palm Beach, FL

      120k per year!...."Whites only"...(and token Batista Cubans that pass for white).   Sorry to burst your little consulting bubble!!....I dare you Mr. blogger to say (and prove with examples) that  it's not true?  Or maybe you don't suppose there are any "Blacks" that can be hired next door to Trump's neighborhood?...hmmmmm....

      Oct 11, 20 11:16 am  · 

      is this a really badly programed bot? /\

      Oct 11, 20 4:38 pm  · 
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