Interior Design school or Architectural?


I'm about to start my final year of highschool, meaning I've got to start applying to post secondary schools in the next few months! I've been going back and forth trying to decide if I want to study Interior Design or Architecture, and have decided I'm going with Interior Design. Somewhere along the way though, I heard that Interior designers with a background in Architecture tend to be more successful than just having an Interior Design background. I plan on doing both now, but I am confused as to which I should do first? Please help me out, does the order of which I do first really matter? I want to do interior design first, then Architecture, but will I have more success in the future if I study Architecture first? Please help!

Sep 6, 15 10:55 pm

Architecture is a dead field of study and you don't need to go to 'college' for interior design.

Follow your passions and stop listening to your parents demands that 'you must go to college to become something great'.

I wish I did that more when I was younger, hesitate a little on what I wanted to do with myself  and my ambitions before being shuffled off to college. 

Sep 7, 15 12:42 am  · 

DeTwan is disenchanted. Take his word with a certain degree of salt. Yes, the profession as with all occupations in this age... especially in the United States is not hollywood likes to present it. It is good, bad and ugly. 

The United States doesn't need architects like it did in the post-World War II  period when the baby boomer generation was being born in the 1950s to mid-1960s. One reason  is there isn't a population growth rate. The average American family size is mother, father and two children to three children. This makes for a very small growth by population. Most growth will come from immigration. However, this had been slower than in the historical past. However, geopolitical drive for immigration is not likely to be big in the U.S. and mostly in the EU is seeing that because U.S. is not a politically friendly place for the immigration that is being seen by Middle Eastern refugees (from the Middle east crisis) in EU. This can spill over to the U.S. which historically is a melting pot... ironically. I would foresee this in the next 10 years. Especially when the EU tightens up their policy and this drive middle eastern refugees towards North America. It is only a matter of when but hard to guess what the scale would be. I won't predict details but I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of this in the next 5 or so years.

As for new housing development, it may or may not ramp up demand in the U.S. for architectural services in the domain of new construction.

I would argue however, that demand exists but you need to look at where it is happening. There is a need in the middle east but then war destroys buildings and invariably causes a demand for services. If you are into rebuilding from disasters, it isn't uncommon to see that. That is humanly assumed.

DeTwan is disenchanted because he is depressed because the field isn't what he deluded himself to believe. Be realistic. Don't assume fantasy. Lower your expectation for happiness and you'll find happiness. If you get caught up on a belief that you will only find happiness if you make a billion dollars a year and have a 100,000 sq.ft. mansion that costs $1000 per sq.ft. to build.... you won't find that. You will certainly find yourself not having that because the business model of architecture just doesn't yield that kind of money. The billion dollar fortune 500 companies are almost all mass production / goods manufacturing kinds of businesses producing products sold around the world. 

Business model of architecture are typically local and regional. They don't tend to be large corporations. We just are not that kind of business. People over their lives spend less in buying or building a house than they spend on products and such. YET.... building a house is often the single LARGEST expense and even yet on that.... we only represent a small fraction of the cost to have a custom home designed and built. When it comes to commercial goods production businesses, construction projects represents a small fraction of the expenses over the 'life-time' of a business. They may cost more in one year than labor cost but over 100 years... a goods manufacturing business will often spend more money on human resources and operational expenses to make the business like the expenses of making the goods. 

Try to learn and understand how residents and businesses operate. It informs you about how they do business and what they can afford realistically. This way, you don't lead your client on a primrose path to failure.

Yes, new buildings can cost more to operate than an existing building because we don't think about how they operate realistically at the numbers. Some architects may propose design solutions that ends up costing more and not be affordable to operate in. 

People make mistakes when they plan things based on ideally great times then build and when a recession hits, it buries them and they have to leave. That is not sustainable or fiscally responsible when it comes to designing. 

It would be nicer if architects were more trained in understanding the numbers of how our clients live and operate financially and learn this more in school then spending too much time doing a bunch of poo foo art drawings that are totally unrealistic.

DeTwan is disenfranchised and disenchanted. So take this in mind because this profession has a lot more.

I'm going to tell you this much, in most occupations except minimum wage jobs, the only way to get a job in that occupation is getting a college degree.... first. This is because employers aren't looking for people they have to do extensive on the job training where the employer is spending as much time as all the professors/instructors and instructional assistants spends in college helping students. They can't do that. They aren't a school unless you decide to work as a professor at a school and even then, they expect you to have a degree.  Employers are in business to make money EVERY day. They don't make money teaching students unless they do unethical if not outright illegal employment practices.

Occupations that pays more than minimum wage customarily requires a degree or years of experience. Higher entry level pay is the reward for getting in debt so you can pay the loans or by already investing time building experience at a lower pay. 

It isn't impossible to be successful without a degree but the paths are harder and over the years fewer employers are even willing to consider someone without a degree and even getting a start is few and far in between in any occupation. This is the nature of businesses who don't do apprenticeship and the like. 

Most employers are mostly in it for the money. This isn't strictly speaking of architecture but employers in general. They want more and more money in their pocket and reduce cost because they reach a ceiling in account receivable in the market. They peaked but want more money. Only way to do that is cut expense and costs that doesn't pay itself. On the job training and apprenticeship went because it doesn't bring money in. It is an expense not an income source. Employers aren't interested in spending money to make a person be a money generating worker. They want people that are money generators from the get go. They want those people from the get go. 

Yes, the real world is good, bad and ugly. It isn't utopia fantasy. If you are prepared and expect dismal, anything better than dismal is a successful and will bring joy and keep you going. Don't expect utopia. Expect the real world. There will be good days, not so good days and some days that sucks. This is what it is. The profession of architecture is not fantasy.

Between the two, I would choose architecture because you can do interior design in many places regardless of any degree. As an architect, you can engage in interior design in many states. 

Unless your passion is REALLY in interior design, I would choose Architecture.

Some people say you have to be in front of a computer day in and day out. Maybe as an employee.

There are other options, as well. Even if you decide not the pursue licensure as an architect, you do have options in the career of building design of exempt buildings that doesn't require an architect stamp. You can do that without calling yourself an architect or representing yourself as a licensed architect.

Experience in architecture office and in schooling will help you a good deal. Interior design is a tad more limited and focused in my personal opinion as being trained in a degree of interior design will not allow you to become licensed as an architect until one gets an architecture degree and interior designers usually are not trained in subjects necessary to practice architecture in their schooling. Architecture schooling provides you more diverse subject matter and you learn about structural design, spatial planning, interior and exterior design, etc. This matters because you need to think about how buildings are structurally put together. Columns, beams. The spacing between. There is visual pattern language but also works structurally when sizing the components to work. 

You have options. I am not saying what I said is all there is. Just a highlight that there are paths you can choose but don't worry about determining that all, today. 

Sep 7, 15 3:11 am  · 

Advice about higher education from a man who doesn't even have a bachelor's degree should be taken with a fistful of kosher salt.

Sep 7, 15 5:07 am  · 

You think a 14 year old is going to read all of that? Come on Richard...

As demonstrated by Richard OP, do something more meaningful with your life than write babble to a teenage kid at 4am on a labor day weekend.

Sep 7, 15 9:14 am  · 

If you major in ID than Architecture, you are wasting your time... An architect can offer ID Services, while an ID cannot offer architectural services... Get the biggest bang for your buck; major in Architecture ;)

Sep 7, 15 10:06 am  · 

When I was that age, I read through 1000+ pages in a single day fairly often. They would sure the hell read through a lot more reading some bullshit walkthrough for a video game so if they have the passion they have for video games to read through a walk through text then they should be able to read through what I am talking about.

So yes, I do expect a 14 year old to read all of that because I expect 6 year old children to be able to and have the tenacity and will power to read lengthy writing instead of pussying out after 5 words. If they are going to make it in college, they are going to be reading through longer reading assignments several times longer than what I wrote within a the time between Monday's class and the class lecture on Wednesday, for an example.

Sep 7, 15 1:17 pm  · 


I have more academic credits than most people even with a masters degree has. Just so you know, I was working on a Major+Minor which does in fact cause more courses to be taken. In addition, I had some courses that I needed to progress further not be available so I had to take additional courses until the next offering of that course. 

My financial aid was running at the edge of financial aid support under the 150% rule. There is an additional rule known as 600% rule for undergraduate or otherwise known as a 6 year rule that applies to undergraduate studies that I was also running up against. The 150% was reset but the 6 year or also known as the 600% rule was not because I did have financial aid in my first financial aid provided by FAFSA but not all my education at community college where I had 247 credits earned. That's more than a 5 year B.Arch or a typical 4 year bachelors and a Graduate Certificate. 

I was running the edge of that. So I might be able to garner the last fringe amount of aid but it would be a partial coverage for the year but I would have to get the rest of the years. The 600% rule didn't exist when I started college education in 2000. It came into effect some years later. I didn't know that until I was talking with financial aid office at UO. 

The 600% rule would bar me from the undergraduate federal student loans. I would worry about that, later.

While the 150% rule would bar me from the grants. Regardless, it isn't something I can't ever complete. It is that I have a temporary road block. 

Sep 7, 15 1:39 pm  · 

"I have more academic credits than most people even with a masters degree has." Any English courses in there, Dick?

Should we be impressed that you had a minor in the college education you didn't finish? It's not at all rare to have a double or triple major, and pretty much everyone who attends college or grad school has to navigate some kind of financial aid nightmare. Nauseatingly long explanations notwithstanding, your situation is not unique. At all.

Your inability to figure out how to finish means that you have no business giving anyone else advice about education.

Sep 7, 15 2:03 pm  · 

I'm not saying that it is entirely unique. However, I was only talking about my formal education. It isn't all that common. Not unheard of but not that common either.

In Associates of Applied Science degree in Microcomputer programming and Networking, it is essentially major (90 credits). I had taken a few extra courses along the way, in the 135 credits for the AAS in microcomputer programming and networking which include classes in Art drawing and some other courses. I also had a CAD certificate which is around 45 credits. I also taken other courses in foreign language requirements for preparing for university degrees as well as other courses that fulfills general education requirements. Then I had mostly completed (1 term's courses) of completing a second Associates of Applied Science in Historic Preservation. I was laid off from a part time job just before money can pay or the tuition for the last term's courses. The credits did cost more per credit than typical costs per credit. Otherwise, I would have completed that in June just before heading to the University of Oregon which I had already enrolled in for the following September. 

I didn't have a major set until I was into my second year there. I had my Minor selected in historic preservation while I was there. I did not have a major selected because I was looking at the getting into the architecture program there. I was essentially doing as much as possible to get the major completed in a single year (my third year there). Not exactly an easy feat. 

I suppose if I determined my major a little earlier... might not have been a problem but I wasn't exactly interested in the other majors at the University of Oregon. I settled with a major and even then, I got a significant majority done. 

My minor in historic preservation and the courses I taken in the AAS in historic preservation is equivalent to major by far. So yes, my education is like having 3 majors which is not exactly common. They aren't non-existent and there are people who as long as they have a money pipeline feeding their ability to do so. 

The question I am looking at is, is a bachelor degree worth it when you aren't going to get paid more than someone with no degree whatsoever? Those days are coming upon the pacific northwest (if not the west coast) very soon.

Sep 7, 15 3:23 pm  · 

I can care less if you are impressed or not but don't disrespect me for not having yet completed it. Either that you pay the courses. I'm not going to put up with you harassing me for not completing the bachelor's degree at University of Oregon. Pay the entire cost of attendance for a year or shut the f--- up. I'll deal with it when I damn well feel like it and that isn't going to happen any sooner than when I have the money for it. 

Sep 7, 15 3:37 pm  · 

Again, you've missed the point entirely. The initial poster was seeking guidance about what path to take in college. You, as a college dropout, are not qualified to give that kind of advice.

I hope you do eventually finish your degree. When you do maybe you'll have something to contribute to these kinds of conversations. I won't hold my breath though.

Sep 7, 15 3:46 pm  · 

Just because I hadn't yet completed the degree at University of Oregon for financial based reason doesn't mean I haven't been around academia for 15 years and UO, a public univerisity for 3 years from a school that actually has a degree in Interior Architecture and Architecture. 

I seen the academic curriculum. When you accumulating $10K+ in student loans a year and only have up to 6 years of Financial Aid support, you aren't going to be their any longer than you need to be there. A 5 year degree in B.Arch or B.IArch isn't going to give a lot of room to major in BOTH and have financial aid coverage. You better have entire academic years covered by non-FAFSA grants and scholarships. 

Don't hold your breath because you won't be able to hold it long enough. After a few minutes, you could be dead.

I have attained degrees in the past. So what if I haven't got a Bachelors. It is not different than attaining an associates degree any more than more credits. As for your drop out comment. That comment applies to people who never got a degree. If you want to be accurate, I been in academia and earned more college courses than Frank Lloyd Wright (who was a college drop out after less than a year) and a John Yeon (a building designer who also dropped out of college after one term or semester or two.) These guys NEVER attained a degree other than maybe an honorary degree after decades of experience.

Most of our best architects never had a degree because academia has a systemic problem of burning the creativity out of their students and that is why the most narrow minded people are the most formally educated as it seems. Think about it. There is a system of telling students they can do this and can't do that and frown upon with great disdain and ridiculing of those who think outside the box.

The forum is full of example of that because you guys hate people who have more creative spirit than you because you lost it in architecture school. That's a problem that architecture school tends to have. I've seen the personality and mentality of many architects demographically. Not only on this forum and others but also in person. They tend to be more narrow minded. 

However, I also have looked at the regulations in many states. Those who are licensed as architect can often practice interior design but those few places that do license interior designers, interior designers quite often can't practice architecture. They can't as in they are not legally allowed to do things involving structural elements. Most interior design degrees do not have courses in structural design / engineering. There are exceptions to the norm and they do exist but they represent a considerable minority.

Sure, we hear about it. How often do we really see people like that compared to others?

If a person wants a more diverse opportunity, an architecture degree is going to provide more opportunities in architecture field. Not just as licensed architects but also building designers.

Sep 7, 15 4:33 pm  · 

"I seen the academic curriculum."

Holy shit, dude. You are so dumb.


"So what if I haven't got a Bachelors. It is not different than attaining an associates degree any more than more credits."

If you really believe this, then you are even less qualified to discuss college options than I previously thought.

Sep 7, 15 5:41 pm  · 

I'm not talking about social life. 

I'm talking about attending courses, paying tuition & fees, buying books & supplies, and attending classes, doing the assignments, passing the exams, writing reports, passing the classes, meeting your academic advisor(s), enrolling in the next terms courses, etc. That is all basically the same. Sure, each institution may do things slightly different, it is all fundamentally the same.

I'm not talking about institutional office policies or instructor's instructional methodology. That is a variable at community college as it is at university.

I was pretty much done with my academic general education requirement before I went to the University of Oregon. 

Is it all that different between University and community college. No. Not really. You do the assignments, turn it end, and so forth. But undergrad courses weren't all that different than it were for community college in my experience. I'm doing the same basic stuff. Sure, individual courses maybe different but so what? A chemistry course is going to have subject matter difference to that of a human/cultural geography courses. 

I'm talking about the core essence. As for instructional methods, every professor or instructor is going to vary but that variability isn't unique to University to that of community college. It isn't. I'm not saying CAD is the same as Architecture courses. I'm not saying that. At least not blatantly. However, some things do have a degree of commonality.

I hold social life as distinct and separate from academic life. As for social relationship with fellow students? I don't see it any real difference because I had a dynamic array of social experiences and personalities in my life at Clatsop Community College as I did at University of Oregon. Sure, there were more students at University of Oregon on campus all the time. So what.

Sure, living in a dorm is not the same as living at home. So what. At the end of the day, your focus is to get the assignments done and get it done. When I got assignments done, I streamed programs to my computer or so forth. 

Getting a bachelor's degree isn't that much different. You have 180 or so credits. You have a general educational component of the degree and the core subject/major. I already have been aware of this stuff since 2001/2002. Nothing entirely new. Even an AAS degree has general ed component, degree major core courses and some elective. 

A 180 credit curriculum will have a standard University System (state wide for the state public universities) general ed core curriculum. I had taken pretty much the requirements as they were in 2003 over the years. A few additional courses were required because of changes that occurs over the year. They you have a major. Which a major maybe 36 or more credits long core courses but a bachelor degree totals 180 credits or more. Some curriculum core courses requirements for the major varies based on the courses.

I was already considered a senior after 1 term. That was AFTER half my community college courses were deducted. So go figure. I was already up there in credits. 

I know you are all caught up with semantics. If you are talking about $ per credit, you are talking about irrelevance because what a University costs in tuition depends. In some places, tuition at a University can be less than my Community College tuition. 

Tuition varies from college to college. Social relationship experience, varies and exists at all college. Also irrelevant. That variability exists at community colleges as they do at University. There were community colleges with dorms/student housing. Clatsop Community College at one time, had student housing. 

Can they, sure. If enough students enroll and the needs are there... sure. Financial aid does provide aid for on-campus or off-campus housing for community colleges and universities.

It depends on the demographics of student body. How many come from across the state to attend. It depends on the program offering. Again, kind of irrelevant. 

Sometimes, you guys give a shit about how many people and get all that wound up on that. I don't care about all that non-sense. Grades aren't determined by how much you spend going to Autzen Stadium or Matthew Knight Arena except that doing so excessively leaves you less time to do your course assignments.

As for the B.IArch and B.Arch.

Granted, UO's B.IArch is closer to Architecture than most Interior Design curriculum but a B.IArch doesn't qualify you to be an architect. You need an NAAB accredited degree. 

Sep 7, 15 7:03 pm  · 

You might think the curriculum isn't all that different. Sure but it is a B.Iarch nor a B.Arch. A difference enough. A 2-3 year difference in academic curriculum. The difference between being able to be licensed with just the B.Arch or having to go on and get an M.Arch that will take somewhere between 2 to 3+ years. An important distinction and value.

Sep 7, 15 7:09 pm  · 

If you can, go to a large school that has architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, civil engineering, construction management, and industrial design in their curriculum and talk with students and professors in each field in your freshman year and then make an informed decision.  Virginia Tech and the University of Florida are two schools that pretty much have such a diversity of majors and there are others. What state are you living in now? 

Sep 7, 15 7:26 pm  · 

Good suggestion, Volunteer.

Sep 7, 15 8:09 pm  · 

If you really believe that the quality of faculty, students, work, and culture of an accredited B.Arch program is "fundamentally the same" as a community college, then you are an absolute idiot.

Sep 7, 15 8:15 pm  · 

YAWN! You missed my point altogether. So I am not arguing this with you. You totally missed the essential points.

Sep 7, 15 10:45 pm  · 

Missing your "points" and finding them completely asinine are two very different things, Dick.

Sep 8, 15 12:09 am  · 

You missed the point because you don't understand what I was referring to by "fundamentally the same". Since you don't know or understand what I mean because you think all the personality makes and defines your role as a student in a university is totally because you started university with the maturity of a middle school student because you did not mature to adulthood during high school. 

College/University degrees are for preparing people into careers. Your role as a student is no different at a community college as it is at a university. Your role and JOB is to learn and study and prepare YOURSELF for your intended career. That is what you are there for. You aren't there to bang the girls or guys otherwise, you don't belong there. That's for AFTER marriage not before marriage.

That stuff will distract you and derail your education and derail your career if you are not careful.

Fundamentally the same. The fundamental tasks is pass your classes required for your degree major/minor and get your degree so that you can get into your career and maybe in your case...... to become Frank O. Gehry's coffee bitch slave or Zaha Hadid's dildo. I don't care. 

Sep 8, 15 1:13 am  · 
Non Sequitur

Zaha Hadid's Dildo.

Great band name.

Sep 8, 15 8:43 am  · 
To the original OP. Idk your math ability but even if it is not strong don't let that stop you from going into architecture.

There isn't as much as you think. you can always work with the instructor and other students to figure it out.

Good luck!
Sep 8, 15 10:37 am  · 

Architecture is a more complete/rounded program.  I wouldn't waste time on an ID degree even if the end goal is a career in ID.  

Sep 8, 15 10:45 am  · 
null pointer

I wanted to say something, but placebeyondthesplines just said everything I needed to say.

Sep 8, 15 10:50 am  · 
Sharky McPeterson

Richard, just like anyone else, is entitled to have his own opinion and share it as he sees fit. You don't have to agree with him, or even pay attention to him, but there's no reason he should feel the need to stay silent if he thinks he has something meaningful to add.

Sep 8, 15 12:15 pm  · 

Original Poster:  I'm a licensed architect and a registered interior designer.  My undergrad education was a 4-year combined architecture and interior design major, followed by an M.Arch.   In general I agree with those who have advised that you'll be better prepared for a career in both by majoring in architecture - and that it's far easier to become licensed as an architect if you pursue an NAAB-accredited B.Arch or M.Arch than if you do not.  Many states do not have any licensing route for those without an NAAB-accredited degree.  Some still do have alternate licensing routes for those without, but they take more years of experience, and more importantly they limit your career flexibility becaue you cannot be reciprocally licensed in some states.

Obtaining an interior design license and/or NCIDQ certification as an architect is fairly simple - you still have to document education and experience, and for NCIDQ you must take those exams - but most architects meet the education and experience requirements easily.  What I would caution is that if you want to work as an interior designer, you should take specific coursework in the field - even if you can't find a joint major like I did - and you should intern with an interior designer before you graduate.  I can tell you from personal experience that you will encounter interior designers who feel strongly that most architects don't know nearly as much as they think they do about interior design - and generally that's true.  You'll need something beyond just an architecture degree to have credibility and get past that bias when interviewing for interior design positions.  

As for Richard:  I feel bad that you can't see what you don't know.  I believe a lot of the blame for this lies with your parents, because of things they did before you were old enough to have agency to make better choices:  by your account you were a fairly promising elementary or middle school student, and then they pulled you out to home school you - and clearly they were not qualified to do so.  Then you went to a community college that has let you slip by without a solid grasp of many of the subjects you've taken - which leaves you with the mistaken ideas that you're qualified in those areas and that you can recognize strong curricula in them.  Unfortunately in all your years in academia you haven't mastered even a high school level of competence in written English, and what you think you know about architecture really goes no deeper than a sophomore-level "visual language" course or a Ching book.  Your parents are also to blame for not instituting some tough love and making you move out and support yourself before your mid-30s.  If they had, you would probably have a better view on what making a living as an architect or building designer actually entails.  However, at some point this all stops being your parents' problem and you need to take responsibility for your own education - and I don't mean more degrees or certificates from community college or UO - I mean getting some real experience and some competence in the basic high school level subjects you missed years ago.  You should consider spending less time on forums, more time working, and open your mind to the possibility that those of us who have a few decades of full time experience making a living in this field might have things to teach you.

Sep 8, 15 1:01 pm  · 


High school subjects are just liberal arts/ general ed subjects like you'll find in college. I already taken college level writing and passed those courses. I do not write posts like that on forum because proper writing prose requires a considerable amount of work in editing, formatting, citing works and proper spelling & grammar structure and so forth. Writing a three to five ( 8.5" x 11" ) pages research paper in 12 pt. font with 1.5x line spacing requires formatting the paper, proper citing of sources with bibliography on another sheet. Which may take 8 to 10 hours to do with moderate level of research and near perfect spelling, sentence structure, etc. I'm not saying perfect eloquence. It takes a bit more than the amount of time I will spend writing a comment on this forum.

Your post above also fails in paragraph formatting, run-on sentences, and so forth. Proper mastery of writing in high school is proper mastery of grammar, citing of works, proper sentences, perfect spelling, and so forth. Largely, no one masters that in high school. If they mastered writing in high school, they wouldn't need general ed courses in writing at community college or at a university.

I have the ability to write research papers and have done so at University of Oregon but I don't exercise that amount of time on a single comment post on this forum which doesn't have the proper mechanisms for it. 

If you have things to teach then teach. Don't be a horde of assholes. The more you guys do that, the more I can trust you guys to say something meaningful to other people in a decent and respectful manner. 

As I said earlier, High School subjects are the same basic subjects they teach in college in the general education / liberal arts core curriculum courses, wgich happens to be the same subjects taught at Middle School / Junior High School. It was at the ones I went to. Middle School (or Junior High School) may not teach to the same depth of the subject matter as they might at a High School.

On a forum where I am writing casually, where nobody really writes in proper grammar, spelling, etc. to academic standards. With exception to, for example, business communication, you are suppose indent your first word in a paragraph by at least 5 character spaces (letters, numbers and symbols). This forum is not really designed for that without trying to figure out what special forum code to do such a manipulation of the formatting of a comment post.

As I said at the beginning of this post, High School subjects are the same subject matter that are part of University general education requirements. In addition, academic writing requires citing your sources. A mechanism that can not be done properly to any formal citation method. How would I properly do an MLA citing on this forum. Bibliographies are suppose to be on separate pages from that of your report.  High School level writing is academic writing. 

I write posts on this forum, largely off the cuff and casually. You don't talk in casual conversation with other people in perfect proper form with proper sentences and so forth. You talk as the thoughts come to you because you don't have a prepared, refined, edited script. 

Sep 8, 15 2:18 pm  · 

Again:  you're blind to what you do not know.  The fact that you passed those courses is merely evidence of the poor quality of your education.  You're operating at the level of a smart sixth grader, and that has been the case for the last 10 years or so that I've been running across your posts.  It's not merely a matter of writing style - it's a fundamental lack of education, and a failure to progress.

Sep 8, 15 2:52 pm  · 


So are you and everyone. You don't know what you don't know. You only know what you know. Anything else, you can assume that you don't know. You aren't speaking very smart or higher than a smart 6th grader, either. 

If I have such a fundamental lack of education, then what is it smart ass?

Any idiot can say what you said to anyone here. All your accusation is fundamentally on you or others taking bits and pieces of what I say out of context and that's all you got instead of understanding essential reasons why. There are reasons to my decisions beyond just career. There is more to life than working for Frank Gehry as his coffee bitch. 

If you know me for the last 10 years, wouldn't that put it back before I was on AREForums? 2005 and earlier? The last I checked, you aren't Ernest Brown or Ebba Wicks Brown or Thomas D. Potter or a few others. As for a lack of progress.... I had graduated with my CAD Certificate. I have taken courses and passed them for historic preservation at a community college and at a University. I have taken most of the courses needed for a B.S. in Geography and the minor in historic preservation as well as courses in architecture, landscape architecture and some other courses related to the subject. Ok, right now, there is a little bit of money issues preventing going to the university.

For me to get to work in an architecture firm, I essentially have to create that architecture firm. Think about that for awhile.

Sep 8, 15 4:37 pm  · 

Richard all the things you wrote above are the reasons why you shouldn't be giving advice to high school students about their education options.  You're a cautionary tale, not a voice of experience on which steps to take to get to the end.  As for the 10 years: I'm not exaggerating - you're on code forums, home design forums, etc. going back longer than that.

I'm going to try one more time on the advice front with you.  Take it or leave it:

You don't need to start an architecture firm to work in one.  Roughly 20% of all the people with whom I've worked in architecture firms, and with whom I currently work, are people without degrees, or with technical school certificates or associate degrees.  What you do need to do is get out of your very small city and go to where the job market is better.  I'm on the east coast and hiring in my region has been at a frantic pace since the start of this year.  There are a few firms I know that are still slow, but far more that are back at or higher than their pre-recession workloads.  I'm not saying you must move across the country, but you need to get to a market with more options.

I know: there are financial obstacles.  You need to save the money for a few months' rent.  If your building design prospects aren't enough to do that, and your software start up still isn't at the stage yet to launch the crowdfunding campaign that you've mentioned, then put them both on hold and get a full time job.  Even if you're over-educated or not particularly interested in the job, just get something for 6 months or so, with a regular paycheck, so you can save some money and launch yourself.  While you're doing that, send out resumes and a couple work samples to as many firms as you can research.  No more excuses about mailing costs - nearly everybody prefers email these days.  No more excuses about anything.  Just do it.

If you really don't want to work in architecture, then fine, don't do what I suggest.  But I really don't believe that you don't want to be an architect.  If that were true then you wouldn't have spent the past 10 years talking about it.  In any case, pursue whatever it is that you're going to do instead, wholeheartedly.  Shut up and listen to those who are already doing it - they're the ones who know what works.

Good luck.

Sep 8, 15 5:04 pm  · 


Perhaps, that's true. How many NEW hires are hired without an NAAB accredited degree?

I had been looking at job postings at firms in Portland which is about as big of a market as it gets in my region other than Seattle which I look at too. The jobs constantly lists an NAAB accredited degree as required. 

It sends the message to applicants or prospective applicants to not bother applying if such a degree is required. It's like applying to architecture school. Customarily, if someone does not have the stated required degree, they are AUTOMATICALLY without exception rejected. That is customary with employers in general. Not just architecture. Hell, if I applied for a position in computer software development and the position says a Bachelors or Masters in Computer Science or Software Development. You must have the degrees or you aren't going to be considered. It literally is that way. They won't consider anyone without the degree. They are filed into the circular file. Only those that lists a Bachelors or Masters degree in Computer Science / Software Development are continued on to be further paired down to a selected group of ones to be interviewed.

If architecture firms just play by the customary rules it would convey the message that those without degrees maybe considered. Just say it, guys.

Having said that, I probably need to do some more work portfolio wise before applying to such jobs anyway for better competitiveness.

I'll keep your advice and thoughts in mind.


Sep 8, 15 6:08 pm  · 
null pointer

Actually, the firm I used to work at hired planners without NAAB degrees all the time. We even had a few people with architectural engineering degrees fresh out of school. I'm going to give away a lot but here but: Our main CA guy had a BA in Philosophy and nothing else.


Stop being a little shit.

Just because you have some pretty huge shortcomings doesn't mean everyone else does.

Sep 8, 15 6:17 pm  · 

To OP: I work at a large firm and have a B. Arch and M. Arch from an NAAB accredited school. I also have colleagues who have attended schools such as Kansas State, which offers a 5 year Master's of Interior Design and Product Design, who are certainly capable designers. However, they are not architects, and in order to become one they would have to go back to school to an NAAB M. Arch or B. Arch program. Thus, I would take the advice of going to a larger state school with the options of transferring out of architecture to another design field. That being said, we have plenty of highly capable interior designers in my firm who went to NAAB accredited schools and studied architecture. In fact, I would say that as designers they are the most influential in their practice because of their multi disciplinary approach and background. 


I wont comment in detail on Richard's wall of text, because I don't have the time nor energy to debate... but I will say we do not have any designers in my firm who only attended a community college (across the board, among around a thousand or so). If you would like to work at a competitive large firm with a strong focus in design, I highly recommend that you attend an intensive NAAB accredited university.  

Sep 8, 15 6:39 pm  · 

Richard, you're doing it again.  Well, more than one "it" actually.

1. You're talking yourself out of something without trying.  You said recently on another thread that you haven't applied for architecture jobs in several years.  There isn't a lot to be lost in trying.  Put some time into developing a couple work examples, a resume, and a framework of a cover letter that can be adapted to different firms.  Then just try.  Even if you don't find something right away, you may make some good connections.  The worst that's going to happen is some rejection.

2. You're telling me what's "customary" among architect employers.  I am an architect employer.  I've worked in many firms, interviewed and hired many people.  You shouldn't be lecturing me about what's "customary", you should be listening.

Apply even if they say they're looking for an NAAB degree.  Most architecture firms aren't large enough to operate the way that a college admissions office does.  Some larger firms may operate that way.  Some mid-sized firms may outsource some preliminary HR screening.  But the majority of firms don't do those screening things with such absolute rules!  Review of applications is more individualized and situation-specific.  If a firm is advertising at all it usually means they already needed someone yesterday, and word of mouth and existing connections haven't turned up the right candidate yet.  If somebody comes along with some of what they're looking for but is missing one criterion (such as a degree) they may consider the applicant anyway.

In my current firm out of the most recent 5 hires (all within the past 18 months) two do not have NAAB degrees.  One was about halfway through architecture school but decided to take some time off to work full time.  I'm not so sure he'll ever go back, though I think he should - it will be a better career move in the long run, as otherwise he'll probably find it hard to move up past production drafter.  The other is a technical school grad.   Most of the early jobs I ever got were a bit of a leap - I never met every criteria they said they were looking for when I interviewed - but I tried anyway, and some of them I got anyway.  You're not going to get there by spending even more time making excuses about why you can't get there!

Sep 8, 15 7:28 pm  · 

Oh and about your portfolio:  just pull together a couple pages - they could be CAD examples from school, details from your building design projects, or whatever.  But just do it.  Don't spend all kinds of time thinking about it and procrastinating.  At this level what's important is for you to show that you understand construction, and drawing conventions.  That's all.  Nobody is likely to consider you for a conceptual design role right now, so it's less important that you show anything with that focus.  You need 2 to 4 pages to send along with your resume. That project you said you did to satisfy the coop experience requirement in CAD school should be sufficient.  If you get called in for an interview, throw whatever you've got into a box or binder and just do it.

Sep 8, 15 7:37 pm  · 


1. I haven't yet talked myself out of trying but I have a few things currently being explored and worked on which I would explain in private but not necessarily on an open channel forum. In part, I am trying to do some stuff to develop more portfolio material. It is more timing with some portfolio material that supports. 


2. I'm talking about customary for employers in general not necessarily architects but customary common practices in employment. Employers are not suppose to mislead or misrepresent to prospective employees what they require. 

I am not ruling out trying just like to have some better portfolio examples which 

Sep 8, 15 8:09 pm  · 
null pointer

You know how we can all tell you're mentally unstable:

You keep finding excuses to justify your behavior. Behavior that keeps you failing. Back in 2006, this was cute. Now this is just sad. I'm going to tell you the same thing I told Kozumelle: go to therapy.

Sep 8, 15 8:25 pm  · 

1. You ALWAYS fall back on this "right now I'm busy trying a few things", "exploring avenues", "things in the works"....   Haven't you noticed that these things never get you anywhere?   Stop arguing and justifying.  Be honest with yourself:  you are stalling and making excuses out of fear.  You don't know whether you're really as smart and experienced as you tell us you are, and you're afraid to find out.  You don't know whether you can live on your own (dorms don't count).  You don't know whether you can work full time, or whether you can hold onto a job for a matter of years.

You don't need more portfolio material.  You've got enough to apply for entry level jobs.  You'll be infinitely "more competitive" if you apply than if you wait around perfecting and ruminating and psyche yourself out of even applying!  In the short term: You need to get a job - any full time job - to save up 3 or 4 months' rent, and while you're doing that you need to send the portfolio materials you already have, along with a resume and a good letter, to all the firms you can research.  The portfolio part should take only the time it takes to scan 4 pages.  If you're going to tell me that you can't because your scanner is broken or you don't have the software, then scrape up bus fare to get to Staples (or whatever the Oregon equivalent may be) and to have them scan 4 letter-sized pages and provide pdfs.  This should cost less than $10.  Do this by the end of the week.  If you're going to say that you can't email pdfs because your computer has a faulty heat sink, have Staples email them for you.

In fact:  pretend you're collecting unemployment and you have to prove that you've made contact with three potential employers every week.  Starting with this week.   Consider visiting your local unemployment office - you don't have to actually be collecting unemployment in order to get help with your resume and cover letter, get referrals for local jobs, even use their computers, printers, and internet if necessary.

2. Employers aren't trying to mislead anyone.  They're advertising for what they think they're looking for, in generic terms.  But lots of them are willing to consider candidates on a case by case basis.  Just make a case for how you fit exactly what they need.  I'm telling you this both from the perspective of a many-times-successful interviewer as well as an employer in this field.  What's "customary" in computer science or any other field is entirely irrelevant.  

The best thing you could possibly do is don't write back. Stop spending time on this.  Spend it on moving forward with your real career.

Sep 8, 15 8:58 pm  · 


1. I am currently working on a general partnership with an architect as it is. I already have the general business license in Oregon and Washington. It is just working through the process of registering my business with Washington as a "Registered Professional Design firm". I have to wait up on the architect to get through registration. I am also working on proposing this with another architect who I know with a Washington and Oregon license as Registered Professional Design firm as part of redundancy.

I'm also working towards stepping into the preparing house & other building type plans. 

A) It builds portfolio of building design work. 

B) Keeps me more busier and productive producing stuff. Work that when done under supervision of a licensed architect and even stamped would be progress on licensure path.

C) It can provide some revenue. I don't expect to be rich. 

D) I know I don't need a license or an architect to technically do this but it counts for IDP and I am technically being paid and regardless of employment at a firm, I have something technically to keep IDP hours rolling and I would technically be working under the supervision of an architect to get any required experience hours needed for licensure.

Neither IDP nor state licensing laws in most places specify how much I need to be paid per hour nor does it specify that they have to be in every project type. I'm not saying that I wouldn't work for or in collaboration with an architecture firm along the way. It just means I have something to keep me busy. 

Of course, that isn't the end all or limit for project types. 

This is stuff I been working on in the past weeks. It could result in some reasonable hesitation at this very moment. 

Before I apply to someone else, I want to have time rebrushing up on the current tools, new work not 10 year old design work. I would want to show something better than that. Therefore, the design work I make for house plans and other stuff under work would be more compelling and competitive than 10 year old stuff. I think I can do better than that.

Increase my worth and value through produced work. If they sell well... great. If not super well but otherwise still good work... its portfolio material and add other projects along the way and guess what, I could pursue work as a 'business' which otherwise I wouldn't be without violating the licensing low outright.

I don't know if any work I ever done that would make me more valuable then what I can with a little more portfolio of 'good work' not just run of the mill ordinary house plans.

Ask yourself, would you rather see better work that I can do now with what I know in 2015 or what I know in 2005 to 2008 time period? Sure, "show that you understand construction, and drawing conventions" but they would be shown best in newer work that is newer than the theater project which is full blown building design not just remodel design work. There would be construction documents that would need to be prepared in the process of any house plans but good ones would involve good designing BEFORE you prepare the construction documents as well as presentation, rendering and so forth. Addition sketches that would never be in the public presented renderings, elevations, and poche floor plans nor in the construction documents themselves. 

Just like it is said on the other thread. construction documents do not happen until after design happens. 

If hired by someone, I need to end up completing IDP and requirements for licensure not end up in 50 years of hire & fire cycles normative of employment in many architecture offices that we are hearing about by some individuals. I shouldn't have to remind of Will May.

I'd rather be Cliff May than Will May.

I may explore working part time or up to full-time in projects or collaboration work where we clusters of small firms and individuals can collaborate to tackle bigger projects because you have the collective human resource that a client for some projects wants to see because they have established beliefs that sole-proprietors and small firms can't do because they are too small. I don't think that's entirely all that fictional and I'm sure you know about that.

In project duration contract employments, it isn't a hire and fire situation. It's beginning and completing contract. It's not a hired and then your fired. I do feel I personally need to do a few more projects more regularly to speed up my work process when working with newer tools before applying to firm like yours. I didn't grow up in grade school with Microsoft Word. Back then, I was using Paperclip 64 or 128 and Geowrite (GEOS). Just to give you a sense of different times, different tools. I don't have the time to master every new bells and whistle program that comes out and every version. 

When you mention making argument that I have the skills they need? That kind of sounds like politician work. How can I honestly say to someone I have the skills they need that no one else has? That would sound like I'm trying to blow smoke up your ass. I don't know who else is applying. All I can say, here is what my skills are. This is what skills I have that I feel I can use in your firm and at best make that argument. Then again, if I were to apply to your firm, I would think I need to know what your firm is.

I can only know as much about your firm as you indicate about your firm in a public way. I wouldn't be sure I would know if I am answering the question the employer is seeking from a prospective employee if I don't know what that firm currently needs. I like to know as much about them, their projects... past and current and upcoming projects and the needs. 

Without that kind of information, it's a crap shoot. The less I know about the firms, the less I am confident of myself being a right fit for them. It's kind of hard for me to be a right fit unless you know me and even then I don't know.

I'm kind of like the color orange. You can either love or hate the color but rarely just like or dislike it. 

Is there concern about applying to firms. I think that's a given. I rather increase my appeal. 

I can give it a try. I would like to have some more appealing work in my portfolio of work WHEN I do. I am also looking beyond Astoria, Oregon in my work. It takes a bit of sisu.

Sep 8, 15 11:32 pm  · 
Kjdt just gave you the most sensible advice you will most likely hear. And you respond with more of the usual bullshit, complete with grammatical errors I might add.

Your best hope is to use your obamacare insurance to get therapy. Maybe when you've adjusted your attitude and built up more confidence you can see how generous he was in trying to guide you.

I know Astoria is home to the goonies. Are you sloth by chance? Even sloth was capable of being courageous and sensible in getting out of a bad situation.
Sep 8, 15 11:50 pm  · 


Thanks for the advice. Regardless of what I said, I have not said no to your advice. Don't assume it. There is a few things that needs to be communicated before pursuing. I agree, I can write an application and then apply but my 10 year old works isn't necessarily the stuff I really want to be really presenting in my portfolio when I can at the least spend some time working on projects that will increase the contemporariness of the work and better progress of the knowledge between 10 years ago and now. 

I could apply and be rejected but okay. At the same time, while I have a business and an architect that can be coming on board which take a few minor expenses directly on my part in paper work and updating my business and registering it so as a business, I can legally on behalf of the business actively seek out architectural projects. They become work that I would work on. At that point, it is about getting the client... getting the project and collect the service fees.

I would have the house plans and such as further work which I would work on and regardless of the extent of money from sales of plans, it would be mostly to gain proficiency in new software programs, improving design skills so when I apply to other firms, I'm not a awfully slow snail with the new software programs that firms would expect newly hired entry level employees to be mastered these programs like an old draughtsman after 40 years of drafting with paper, pen & pencil. You have to be fluidic fast.

You don't hire people slow with the software your firm uses. Do you? Entry level employees are somewhat about productivity. They are hired because they are suppose to know the 'newest and greatest' in software because the old guys don't want to be doing that so much. I'm kind of a little old for that role as it is.  I wouldn't want to be joining some firm working through Revit at half the speed my fellow co-workers would be because I have to figure out the user interface and how to do specific things like modeling custom components, trims, etc. After all, I would be the first fired. It takes considerable time figuring that stuff out. Ending up taking longer to do than if I just drew the damn crown molding profile out by hand which doing by hand doesn't work so well in a digital production model.

Learning software is not learning architecture / building design. Two completely different things.

My rationale there is actually legitimate concern and good reason to be proficient with so I am not a snail in a high pace digital production model operation. It isn't necessarily an excuse to not try to apply but might be a legitimate reason to not jump the gun on applying for firms without being as proficient with the software tools the firm uses as my competitors and fellow co-workers. I just need to get myself kind of up to pace when working with programs like current edition of AutoCad and Revit. Tools that I predated when I went to college learning Autocad. Revit was relatively new, and not used heavily in small firm practice due to its overall cumbersomeness for residential projects. 

I wouldn't say I use Revit much. I dabbled but it is kind of complicated to use for the kinds of projects used in residential and traditional / classic architecture that I would be working with in historic buildings that were drawn by hand pre-computer era.

Bigger firms tend to use Revit. A tool set that I have not really got myself accustom to using yet in my projects. It is a good reason to gain proficiency in those software tools before applying because then I would be more competitive with the software tools because it is software tool set knowledge that is driving the entry level employment. I don't think my argument is that off base. There is a recent article on Archinect interviewing a number of firms that would support what I just said somewhat.

My reason here has some pragmatic reason at the same time it is not rejecting your advice but figuring out when to best apply it with at least my circumstances. I would reckoned that it would be extremely rare to find an architect employer with that kind of patience.

Sep 9, 15 2:29 am  · 

rob_c wrote:

Kjdt just gave you the most sensible advice you will most likely hear. And you respond with more of the usual bullshit, complete with grammatical errors I might add. 

Your best hope is to use your obamacare insurance to get therapy. Maybe when you've adjusted your attitude and built up more confidence you can see how generous he was in trying to guide you. 

I know Astoria is home to the goonies. Are you sloth by chance? Even sloth was capable of being courageous and sensible in getting out of a bad situation.


I just don't want to make commitments with other current immediate commitments that would put myself in a horrible conflict of interests. In addition, there are reason and rationale for not immediately applying at the moment. Some stated and some not stated as of the moment. 

Some of you may not know, I am also on a church congregational council facing challenges as well. It would be inappropriate for me to go too far away from being able to fulfill those duties in a challenging times financially for the congregation. The challenges are not my fault. Okay. It's a challenge that have been survived in the past but we can't continue that way any further. 

I'm not running away from that situation. I'll be there until things stabilize and move forward progressively or close or otherwise merge with another congregation and so forth. These are things I do have going on in my life. You aren't aware of. This doesn't mean I won't possibly reach a better position of timing for applying to another firm. 

This and running my business and certain things in the works associated with my business are factors of consideration. I may have to wait a few years and so what if I reach 40 years old with some jobs. Any employer discriminating based on age in any way or form is age discrimination.

By the way, just to remind employers out there, just because someone is 40 years old or older is no legal basis to not hire them for any way or form of ANY basis with any connection with age. If age is at all in any form a part of employment discrimination except that of being under age to be employed as defined by law. ANY FORM OF AGE DISCRIMINATION not otherwise EXPLICITLY indicated by law is ILLEGAL.

Age discrimination because insurance companies charge more for employees over age 40 is age based discrimination and ILLEGAL. 

Separate employment history requirements by different age groups is still age discrimination and illegal. Different employment history requirement for different positions are fine. If you connect age or age groups in ANY WAY OR FORM is illegal. 

Every state has anti-discrimination laws. Otherwise, the ACLU will have a talk with you on behalf of discriminated employees and possibly sue your firm.

Remember the Federal ADEA of 1967 as well as the state anti-discrimination laws.

With that said, I am not against kjdt's advice overall. I know a few details that is going on in my life that is ongoing that isn't talked about on the forum that I have to consider.

It isn't in any regards meant to be mean or negative of him. I am gracious of his generosity. I have to see how to adapt aspects of his advice in to what's going on in my life, certain things already in motion and so forth.

I reply so it is understood more so his if he has any further insight that can be brought to bear. What he said can happen today, tomorrow or even when I am 40 years old. There is flexibility in career development. I'm sure he understands that.

I may not be able to adapt it in my life exactly as he indicated, right away.

This is why I have to adapt these things. This is why a lot of career advice requires bi-directional dialogue.

Sep 9, 15 3:33 am  · 


Just looking back, the earliest code forum I recall being on was the old ICC forum which I joined, 9/29/2006. That's 9 years ago.

Before that time, almost all the architects I was in contact with directly were only a handful. They would be Ernest Brown, Ebba Wicks Brown, Tom Potter and Jay Raskin. 

The only reason you would likely even knew me before hand would be if you worked for Mahlum Architects which is a stretch.

I would doubt you would know of me from any earlier than that.

Then maybe if you knew me on ENG-Tips forum which is goes back to September 15th, 2005. Which if you knew me other than some engineer is pretty slim.

Only way you would know me before that time would be on a Commodore forum or newsgroup or mail list or you would have known me in person. 

I don't recall anyone referring to themselves as architects on those forums. Therefore, it is an extremely rare chance at that time despite you having back read to your self-inflicted torture to read that stuff. Seriously? I don't know. Just a point. That is going back a LONG way back. Earliest online post reference to me using the title building designer. Before that time, I had little to no online reference to the title building designer. So I would in fact have stretched back 10+ years because even before 2005, a pepper of the use of building designer title and practice but I don't think I really got that focused in that direction until 2003/2004 when I was phasing out of software development for awhile. 

In which case, I would argue that you will have a very little chance of knowing me before that time unless you were actively involved in the Commodore and Amiga computers and the community at the time. 

Just a point to be made when looking back a bit. I don't recall using my Commodore community aliases in architecture related forums. I simply didn't feel they made much sense in those places.

Sep 9, 15 4:56 am  · 
null pointer


Sep 9, 15 7:11 am  · 

Cong ty thiet ke nha dep

Sep 9, 15 8:55 am  · 

OMG- that was amazing!  a lovely read, er...should I say skim.  Who can actually read all of it? Fantastic, top shelf!


KJDT- Nice posts.  You tried, you really did.

Sep 9, 15 10:41 am  · 
Balkins is a lost cause. Knowing he is a council member on a church. Forget it. Churches with their politics and moralizing can rob people of any and all personal agency. Especially with someone unstable like Balkins.
Sep 9, 15 11:00 am  · 


Richard I'm disappointed in you.  I think you're disappointed in you too.

That is all.

Sep 9, 15 1:34 pm  · 


My point is I already have commitments at this time. I have to find a way to employ at the very least, aspects of your advice has to take into consideration also pre-established commitments in mind as well. My older work isn't that impressive to me. It's dated. It's for a real world mediocre clients with mediocre budget or no defined budget at all and try to navigate a project under those conditions. Most of these projects are not the flashy 'Taj Mahal' projects that the glossy rags will be showcasing because those projects are not at all about showiness.


Be careful about religious discrimination.

Sep 9, 15 2:26 pm  · 

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