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Any Tips for Structural Engineer Looking to Transition to Architecture?

kikidelayne

I've decided after blowing a good chunk of cash on a structures masters that I'd much rather have an architecture masters.

The dream is that I still get my PE, go back to school for Arch, get my certification, and go on to do design-build for homes.

First Question - have I lost my mind, thinking I need two degrees?

Second Question - where do I start getting educated on the basics? I'm trying to put my portfolio together but I am overwhelmed to say the least. Luckily I have art training and spend most of my free time doing art, but I don't think I can submit a portfolio of figure drawings and be admitted anywhere.

Either way, I definitely want to make the transition. After six years of school and 2.5 years of practice I have to admit engineering doesn't make me happy.

 
Sep 8, 18 8:16 pm
Volunteer

You can design homes with the education you already have.

Several people with civil engineering degrees and NO architecture degrees have their own home-design and home-building firms.

An art background, especially if you have architecture and art appreciation courses, coupled with a master's in structures, is a killer resume. (You could probably TEACH many of the courses you are going to pay through the nose to take)

When the economy tanks civil engineers will still be eating, architects not so much.




Sep 9, 18 7:41 am  · 
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kikidelayne

I should have phrased my ask better- I’m not looking to abandon engineering, but I’d like to be able to do architecture as well. The “dream” is that I one day own my own firm for custom homes/remodels/adu and it can be a one stop shop where I’m not limited to less than 8000 sq ft. Is this unrealistic? I don’t feel like going straight out into the job market from school because I don’t have any design build connections. I’m also afraid I’ll be forced back into corporate high rise world or doing some junior engineering bs like tilt-up warehouses. I just.... really really hate engineering culture want to avoid it for as long as I live. The pay is too low to put up with the sexism, overwork, and 80’s office mentality.

Sep 9, 18 12:48 pm  · 
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kikidelayne

made the mistake of doing this on mobile...

Sep 9, 18 12:48 pm  · 
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geezertect

We've all been conditioned to believe that collecting degrees is the ticket to success.  The educational establishment has sold us a bill of goods.  With an engineering background, you will get more respect from others in the building industry than an architect gets.  If anything, you may want to keep your architecture credentials a secret.  Try to get a job in construction management and learn on the job while getting a paycheck.  Don't piss away a lot of time, money and stress.  Learn by doing.  If you want to take courses, make them courses in real estate, business law, etc.  Architecture school is mostly a lot of useless bullshit theory.  JMHO.

Sep 9, 18 11:48 am  · 
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kikidelayne

It's just so hard to get anywhere in this industry without solid contacts, because everything is so overspecialized these days. I moved to a new city to get this degree and finished in a year, which kind of eliminated any opportunities to make any solid connections. I'm afraid if I put off formal training and instead blindly chase the dream I'll find myself in another dead-end job. For some reason the degree makes me feel more secure. I have no intentions of abandoning engineering, and would like to just combine the two. The city I live in has a size restriction on buildings that can be designed without an architecture license, and it would suck to find myself limited in twenty years. Does this line of thinking make sense or am I being too neurotic?

Sep 9, 18 1:01 pm  · 
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Volunteer

A lot of CE firms are bending over backwards to locate, train, and groom lady engineers. And have you not seen the latest news about famous architects who were groping their female help? That behavior is over in both professions but CE seems to be leading the way toward fairness as well as pay increases for the women.

With respect to designing houses you can do everything with the education you have right now except call yourself an architect. On the other hand you cannot do engineering work without the degree and PE liscense. If you want to do both you can do both with only a CE degree, you cannot do both with only an architecture degree.

If you want to do both then your first task is to finish your CE masters

Just my opinion.




Sep 9, 18 1:52 pm  · 
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geezertect

If you want to avoid long hours, low pay, dead end jobs, sexism, etc., as you state in your responses above, an architecture degree and even a license aren't going to save you.  And, what "connections" are you likely to make in school that will make the time and expense worth it?  You will mostly be making friends with other architects who will be your competitors.  I repeat, if you insist on more seat time in school to bolster your self confidence, take classes in business, law, construction management, real estate finance, etc.  An architecture degree will give a very low rate of return for what you are wanting to do.

Sep 9, 18 9:26 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

talk to tonyjones; he has all the answers.

Sep 9, 18 10:08 pm  · 
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chigurh

I would disagree with the comments above.  Depending on how you want to practice, architectural education does has value in teaching you ways to think and approach work that you will not be accustomed to coming from an engineering background.  If you just want to do ranchburgers go ahead with the advice above, but if you want to practice architecture with a capital A, it is less likely you can learn or practice this type of design without some formal education.  This could come from work experience, but most employers also want to know that you can think creatively and have some base knowledge in the field so that will be an obstacle to get into an office without education or training.

Whatever you do get your PE.

Sep 10, 18 9:38 am  · 
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