Archinect
anchor

Looking for a City that Architects Love to Live and Work in

buildgirl

My architect husband and I (an almost licensed architect) and our 3 kids are looking to move out of Philly.  We rode out the recession here (after college) but are now eager to move on to a city that cares about its environment and people.

We'd love community involvement, Great schools, Outdoorsey possibilities, Great Restaurants, Sustainably focused people, relative proximity to a large airport...

We'll both be applying to firms and are eager to get some direction!  Also, are there firms where people really enjoy the work environment/ firm culture?

We're not interested in cities that are far out of reach for most architects, home price-wise (NYC...San Fran$isco) or the really hot southern states.

Where should we look??? Thanks!  

- Sarah

(we just got back from a visit to Seattle...so beautiful...but where do architects afford to LIVE?!)

 
May 11, 15 10:13 pm
b3tadine[sutures]

Well, there's only one spot in America for you then; the progressive north woods of Minneapolis - St. Paul.

We're building a storm, can't find enough architects, affordable, outdoorsy, great foods, tap-rooms, sustainability types, large airport which is easy to get to....decent pay, work life balance, culture, arts, music scene, theater.....blah-blah....

May 11, 15 10:21 pm  · 
 · 
geezertect

^  Minneapolis is a great city but beware.  The winters are extremely cold and it will take some real getting used to.

The criteria you list are what everyone wants, and on architects' salaries you are going to have a hard time competing with people in real professions.  There's a reason the nice places are so expensive.

May 12, 15 6:47 am  · 
 · 
x-jla

Denver?

May 12, 15 10:16 am  · 
 · 
tintt

^ isn't accepting new residents. Already full. 

May 12, 15 10:34 am  · 
 · 

Chicago is a good option but the schools may be tricky. Lots of firms to work for, global city but affordable.

 

Peter N

May 12, 15 10:43 am  · 
 · 

Minneapolis, absolutely. For slightly better weather but significantly less coolness, Indianapolis is becoming better. Louisville is also a serious option, slightly warmer (south) than Indy, but also significantly cooler.

May 12, 15 10:58 am  · 
 · 
JLC-1

OK, not a city, but very nice place to raise kids. Downside, is 3 hours from Denver Airport.

May 12, 15 11:21 am  · 
 · 
geezertect

^  You're joking, right?  Median home price well into 7 figures.  If you can afford Aspen, you probably can afford a private plane.

May 12, 15 11:29 am  · 
 · 
JLC-1

Right, if you need to keep up with the Koch's.  Not my case. or any architect I know here for that matter. And I don't live IN Aspen, just 15 minutes away, in Woody Creek, look up the median home price there. 

May 12, 15 11:41 am  · 
 · 
code

if it wasn't for the cost I would say San Francisco - I live in Oakland and work in Berkeley - that being said, there is a lot of work in SF and there is AIA-SF which has many programs that integrate the city with practice and well as IDP and ARE.

May 12, 15 12:09 pm  · 
 · 
PA650

I find Kansas City, MO to be an up and coming place.

May 12, 15 2:41 pm  · 
 · 
Volunteer

Chapel Hill-Raleigh, North Carolina. Asheville, NC., Roanoke-Blacksburg, VA, Columbia SC (might be too hot for your taste), Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA.

May 12, 15 3:04 pm  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

I second Xenakis. He and I have similar situations.

May 12, 15 4:44 pm  · 
 · 
StarchitectAlpha

San Diego, I'm pretty sure home ownership is out of reach for most practicing architects so might as well live in an awesome place. Rent is cheaper when your "far" from the beach I.e. more than 15 minutes. However, the job market is pretty dismal down here because most larger firms choose to locate in LA and OC which are just the worst places in the world when you come from community and architectural design backgrounds. 

May 12, 15 5:14 pm  · 
 · 
sameolddoctor

!

 · 
Carrera

Sorry, it's "Pure Michigan", around Grand Traverse Bay, primarily Traverse City for a young family.....Midwestern values, unbelievable beauty, people who think like you do.

May 12, 15 5:28 pm  · 
 · 
g.thomas.z

Denver.  Love it here and firms are overpaying for people right now.  Every decent architect I know that is either looking for work or switching jobs has multiple offers to leverage with (if you don't mind doing mix-use and multi-family housing)-- it's crazy.  Not to mention we have 300 days of sunshine, beautiful mountains, an enormous recent influx of young people, and a fantastic culinary and bar scene.  Cost of living is going up, but still nowhere near that of SF and NYC.  Never met a soul that regretted moving here.

Ok I'm done.  Gonna go change my shorts now.

May 12, 15 6:25 pm  · 
 · 
code

SatrchitectAlpa - sure is - that's why I moved to the Bay Area - the recession hit SD early(2006) and I graduated in 2007 - nobody would hire me in SD. SD gets hit hard in recessions and does not get back up - very un-resilient economy -

May 12, 15 6:58 pm  · 
 · 
sameolddoctor

"LA and OC which are just the worst places in the world when you come from community and architectural design backgrounds. "

OC is shit, I get it. How is LA bad "when you come from community and architectural design backgrounds"?

SD is OK, but seems to be a town over-run by Frat Boys.

May 12, 15 8:11 pm  · 
 · 

Architects live everywhere in Seattle. You'll be fine.

May 13, 15 12:00 pm  · 
 · 
null pointer

Brooklyn (Not New York).

May 13, 15 3:10 pm  · 
 · 
timothysadler®

What Evan said.  My wife and I (commercial interior designer and architect, respectively) have lived out here for 14 years or so.  The cool thing about Seattle is the wide range of options - if you want the live/work loft lifestyle it's here, highrise apartments are here, just out of downtown cheek-by-jowl bungalows, island/ferry commute, generic-ish suburbs.  Lots of options.  We live in one of the near-er northern suburbs with great schools and lots of kid-friendly family-lifestyle activities.  Not to mention brewpubs and distillery options springing up when you're tired of kid-friendly family-lifestyle activities.  I recommend Seattle wholeheartedly.

May 13, 15 3:17 pm  · 
 · 
BR.TN

Everyone loves to live and work in Chicago, so I'd assume Architects do as well seeing as it holds the second-highest caliber architectural market in the country behind Manhattan.

It sounds like everyone loves to live and work in Seattle too...

 

May 13, 15 3:35 pm  · 
 · 

This is a question I've been struggling with in a big way lately. I recently left NYC and moved back to my hometown of Cincinnati partly due to the obscene cost of housing and terrible quality of life in New York, even though it meant walking away from a great job.

Cincinnati seems to be one of the few places left in America where people on a middle-class salary can still afford to live a reasonable quality of life, and while the local design scene is generally very conservative and corporate, there are a few local firms producing good work and the city as a whole punches above far its weight when it comes to the number of architecturally-significant local buildings. We could use a few more talented outsiders to set up shop here and shake things up a bit.

That said, part of me still dreams about moving to Seattle or Portland, which I may do someday if the cost of living in those cities hasn't yet skyrocketed to NYC-levels by the time I arrive.

May 18, 15 1:35 am  · 
 · 
Carrera

David, re: "outsiders" - during some expansion a number of years ago I considered Cincinnati, but was told if we went there we would be forever "outsiders", wondered what your take on this is.

May 18, 15 1:47 am  · 
 · 

Cincinnati is notorious for its parochialism; the running joke is that nobody takes you seriously here until they know which high school you went to. While it's still a factor that causes me to want to pound my head against a brick wall sometimes, I don't think it's as bad as it used to be, and it's certainly not as bad as the stereotype. A lot of the new development in the urban core is being driven by outside money and has drawn a lot of imports to the city, and progressive-minded locals recognize the need for new blood and are welcoming the outsiders with open arms. IMO, the parochial old guard is slowly but steadily dying off, moving further out into the exurbs, or is otherwise becoming more marginalized.

May 18, 15 1:57 am  · 
 · 
Carrera

David, interesting, but I don't know....with this being the town logo:):):):)

May 18, 15 11:19 am  · 
 · 

It's not the town logo, it was the logo of Procter & Gamble before a bunch of crackpots invented some baseless conspiracy theory about satanism.

May 18, 15 12:04 pm  · 
 · 

It could be misinterpreted unless we know the history and context of the logo. You can see 5 of such inverted 6's.

In fact, that logo is the old Proctor & Gamble logo.

It is possibly being misunderstood.

In fact it was known as the star and moon logo if you recall the story of seeing and old man's face on the moon and such and this is more an artistic interpretation.

If you think actually biblically, the devil has no specific appearance and would in fact be more described as a snake because that is how in actual Bible stories had been characterized as the snake since the Genesis story. 

In fact, this is more a play of the folk tales of old man on the moon and bearded and that was the character presented in this artistic expression.

May 18, 15 12:29 pm  · 
 · 

If you actually pay attention the the color logo, it is not a horn but hair and beard artistically formed to maintain the crescent moon shape. Nothing satanic intended.

May 18, 15 12:33 pm  · 
 · 
Carrera

Understand all that, but in many ways P&G is the town. Was at the AIA convention in 1980 (Cincinnati) and took a picture of a different symbol on an iron gate at an old P&G factory…was spooky, can’t find it, sure its long gone…knew some guys from Turner who built the P&G headquarters, more spooky stuff…no problem with anything, just fun. If you want a logo to worry about, try this one from Yale, and its list of members, it will answer all of your questions:)

May 18, 15 1:38 pm  · 
 · 

Bush sr. club

May 18, 15 2:08 pm  · 
 · 
shellarchitect

traverse city is a great place - but can an architect make a living up there? 

May 19, 15 12:32 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

Sedona

May 19, 15 2:17 pm  · 
 · 

Metropolis.

May 19, 15 2:33 pm  · 
 · 
chigurh

Oregon is awesome.  Bend, Portland, or anywhere on the coast.

California is hard cause most firms are in SF and LA even though there is work all up and down the coast.  If you could live and work in Santa Cruz, Monterey those seem like good places to raise a family.  Agree about SD, fucking bra town.  Avoid the Orange Curtain like the plague.  

Obviously, all mentioned are west coast off the beaten path (portland exempt),  those are areas I would look...Don't know enough about Washington to comment.

May 19, 15 4:44 pm  · 
 · 
Carrera

"traverse city is a great place - but can an architect make a living up there?"

Shu, if you can find a job, you can make a living. In terms of volume it’s not either coast, but people up there know what architecture is, and do respect & hire architects.

May 19, 15 9:55 pm  · 
 · 
xtbl

Does anyone know how things are in Nashville? I grew up in the area but it's been some time since I've kept up with the growth. Last I heard it's an up and coming city for young professionals.

May 20, 15 12:33 pm  · 
 · 
Sam Apoc

Volunteer, you have a pretty unique list relative to what others are posting.  More small to mid sized cities than Minneapolis, Denver, etc.  My wife and I are thinking of relocating in the next year or so and actually have a similar list, but I'd love to hear some of your reasoning behind these cities.  Particularly how do you see the prospects for finding interesting work in these smaller markets?  Any firms currently doing compelling work in those cities worth checking out?

May 21, 15 9:13 pm  · 
 · 
Volunteer

Chapel Hill-Raleigh is probably the most diversified economically and has been growing steadily but not too fast over many years. The metro area is home to the University of North Carolina, NC State, and Duke; together that is a resource that is not easily duplicated in any metropolitan area of any size. Having so many colleges and faculty translates into very good public elementary and high schools as well. The climate is mild, the beach is a couple of hours away and the mountains about four hours away. It is the best area of the entire mid-Atlantic in my opinion. Chapel Hill is the most beautiful college town I have ever seen and events are always going on at all of three colleges that are available to residents.

May 21, 15 9:55 pm  · 
 · 
Carrera

Sorry to bring everybody back to the Midwest, but as far as university influence is concerned, I would nominate Ann Arbor, Michigan.

May 21, 15 11:40 pm  · 
 · 
kkdavis

xtbl

Nashville is great, tons of young professionals.  Building so fast we can hardly keep up, I think I read that 80 people per day were moving here.  It's also becoming incredibly expensive to live within Metro Nashville and the wages have not caught up with the cost of living IMO.   

May 28, 15 11:17 am  · 
 · 
pale shelter

... just lost some friends to Seattle from MSP... but OP: move to the Twin Cities ... someone said "small city" ? I always say "2nd-tier" .. about 3.8M i think.. and top 15 in population? Hey, size doesn't matter. It's just right up here.

I'd say we compete with Portland/Seattle (hipster like MSP) and Denver...and Chicago. "Smaller cities" in my opinion would be Kansas City, Milwaukee, Memphis, etc....

MSP: #1 or 2 usually for cycling. usually #1 for 'healthiest city' (lowest obesity rate - when it's nice up here, people get outdoors).. we have all major sports teams.. soccer coming in 2018 ... Go Twins; #1 Green City "access to and area of parkland" - something like everyone within the Minny/St. Paul proper is within 4 blocks of a park on average? Still true for me and I live in Downtown. Just after NYC for most theater per capita. Educated. Pretty Liberal (longest running blue state perhaps ? lol ) ...

(i understand rankings are often b-s)...

http://www.minneapolis.org/media/facts-amp-research/accolades

The problem my fiance and I are currently having is: there's too many great neighborhoods to choose from to 'settle in' for a while to buy.

Here's a cool website on neighborhoods around downtown: http://condoguide.drgmpls.com/

May 28, 15 2:01 pm  · 
 · 
3tk

^ MN tends to have excellent public school systems (something to do with the scandanavian influence -or nothing else to do in the winter-); it's great when it's warm and you do get used to the cold... takes a bit for the locals to truly warm up to you, and is rather strongly northern european for the most part, but once you're in, you're in!

Asheville is one of the not-too-hot cities down south.  a bit hip for some, but nicer than most other places in the region.  The research triangle should see strong growth regardless of whatever fiasco UNC goes through with their academic/sports scandal.

May 28, 15 2:48 pm  · 
 · 
justinritchey17

For sustainability, Portland OR and Austin TX are good. Austin has seen great growth and is the 14th largest city in the US. However, Austin can get hot, but it is cooler than the deep south and the southwest and the last few summers have been getting cooler in Texas. If you like colder climates then Portland might be better, but don't disregard the Texas economy. 

May 31, 15 12:32 pm  · 
 · 
Volunteer

Lexington, KY, is a sleeper. Beautiful part of the country, home of UK, moderate cost of living and no weather extremes.

May 31, 15 8:27 pm  · 
 · 

I've actually had Los Angeles on my mind a lot lately, probably because I'm likely headed out back out there soon for a site visit. I lived there during most of 2012 for a co-op and loved it. The design culture and cost of living are similar to NYC, but at least in LA you can design real buildings instead of just interior renovations, and you'll probably have a swimming pool and palm trees outside the window of your obscenely-priced apartment instead of a brick wall and a pile of garbage. As a bonus, you won't live in fear of the outdoors for half the year, and the mountains and the ocean are each within an hour or so (depending on traffic). Just be sure to find a place to live as close as possible to your office.

I think part of me would still prefer Seattle or Portland, though.

Jun 1, 15 12:31 am  · 
 · 
s.o.

I'm in Brooklyn (where people are very engaged), but my husband and I are looking for a smaller city. Philly has been on my radar since we want to stay in the northeast (family nearby), so I'd really be interested to hear what's wrong with the city in your opinion. I assume a small job market is part of it.

I realize this is a tangent, so if you're willing to chat, we could private message instead (think there's a way, but new to posting on archinect). Thanks!

Jun 2, 15 1:33 pm  · 
 · 

^ I had the same thought. I love Philly. The cost of living is reasonable, and there are some good firms there and some great neighborhoods. The fact that it's almost a suburb of NYC is icing on the cake.

Jun 2, 15 10:11 pm  · 
 · 
jrhews

Yea not sure why the OP said that a while back about Philly. It's definitely on the come up and has a lot of great architecture and culture happening.

 · 
anonitect

Pittsburgh, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Louisville.

Medium size, medium density makes for a good city.

Jun 2, 15 10:36 pm  · 
 · 

Block this user


Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: