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Experience with Summer Courses to prep for M.Arch admissions

brenersk

I am interested in pursuing a masters degree in Architecture. I've always wanted to pursue a career in architecture, but for various reasons I chose to pursue a bachelor of engineering degree instead. Now that I have established a career, I realize that this is not what I want to do and I'm looking to make a change. 

As I said, my degree is in engineering, so I don't have a design background. My only experience in design are art courses in high school, and creative hobbies and DIYs that I play around with. I do have experience with mechanical drawings though, so I know my way around CAD software, just not a whole lot. 

I am in NYC so I found intro to architecture courses like at Columbia University and Parsons. I intend to apply to these course to get a better insight to what architecture actually is and to get a starting point for a portfolio. Due to COVID I think I need wait a little longer because the courses seem to be studio involved and I don't see how the course could translate to online learning. But prove me wrong if my statement is not accurate. 

Anyway, my question is: Those who did not have a background in architecture, but wanted to pursue an M.Arch, did you take a course of this nature, and did it help you to get in to an M.Arch program? Was it useful in forming a portfolio? Was it useful in anyway? 

I know that architecture is not the best paying and the work is hard, that is what drove me away in the first place to pursue a degree in engineering. Engineers make money. However, all the money in the world does not guarantee happiness. Any job worth doing is going to be hard, but if I have to spend a LARGE portion of my life at work I would rather at least attempt to pursue something I've always dreamed of  doing. I don't know if I can just work for the paycheck anymore. Plus, I'm not getting any younger!

To that end, please don't give me reasons why I shouldn't pursue architecture. There's nothing new that can be said that I haven't found on this forum or have been told already. I want to know other peoples experiences and if this is a good place to start. 

 
Jun 19, 20 12:25 pm
Non Sequitur

How much do you know about architecture as a profession and what about this makes it a dream gig for you?


Jun 19, 20 12:52 pm  · 
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brenersk

I suppose I don't know much about the profession. I have interacted with architects and I see how and what they do at design review meetings at my job.

 · 
brenersk

It seems like my entire response did not go through, leaving my statement incomplete.

 · 
brenersk

Okay, let me try this again, without pressing enter after a statement to skip a line. I tried to edit the first comment, but I guess that didn't save because I don't see the lengthy response that I thought I left. Now, if you're still with me after this terrible example of online forum posting, the completion of my thoughts I tried to lay out in the first comment: I understand that this is a "dream" job, and that it may not hold up to what I think it is. However, I know what it actually means to be involved in a project, it won't be what is described on TV, that is not what I am expecting. I've had to deal with architectural drawings and submittals, and I see how much detail goes in to those drawings. In my current position, I deal with architects that have projects that range from renovating a single room/space of a building to being involved in the final stages of a new building construction. What I do involves ensuring that the space operates with all mechanical systems (more specifically the condition of the air entering/leaving the space) in a way that best serves my facility's and the space occupants needs. However important my aspect of the job is, I can't help but yearn to be involved in the visual/creative aspect of fitting that project out to make something look good/is what the client desires. To answer your second question, as far back as I can remember, I have been enamored by buildings and the constructed environment. I know it may not translate to the actual profession, but playing video games throughout my childhood (and a bit into my adult years) I always focused on games that involved creating structures or houses (think Sims, or tycoon games). I have always been into little DIY projects and artistic hobbies, creating has always been something I am interested in. I guess it is my dream to be able to create (or have a hand in creating) something that is meaningful, and hopefully can make some sort of impact on the lives of the people it is meant to serve.

 · 
thatsthat

completely serious sidenote: is 'I enjoyed creating video game buildings' the new 'I played with legos'??

2  · 
Non Sequitur

^I still play with lego.

2  · 
Non Sequitur

brenersk, the prep courses do help people build up a design portfolio so it would not hurt your chances if you can afford the time to do it well... The issue tho is that very few get into a position/job where they can make meaningful impacts on projects shortly after school. It takes lots of experience and luck to land this and unless you also have a passion for building construction, you may not find this path to be quite what you expected.

1  · 
brenersk

I understand that I won't graduate and all of a sudden be designing buildings. I know how the world works, and I know that in order to see results you have to work hard. You say it takes a lot of experience and luck, but if I don't try, how will I get the experience? And luck is just that, it's luck. It's not a quantifiable factor that I can compare against anybody else, so all I can do is try and get all the experience I can. I wrote this post to hear other peoples experience with these prep courses and how, if at all, it helped to get in to a program. I have heard all the negatives, and the reasons why I shouldn't pursue this.

 · 
square.

i would seriously chew on non's questions. i've worked at both an engineer's office and an architects office, and they felt more similar than you think. as stated, what you are aspiring to in your job is far from guaranteed, and the more likely outcome is that you will enjoy design in school and then quickly realize that you will be going to a job for a check, just like everywhere else, with a little bit more interest sprinkled in here and there, creating a profound sense of disillusion (which many overcome, but school will create a certain expectation that isn't reflected in the reality of professional work). i would also encourage you to look into other outlets and hobbies before you considering throwing a way you current career for one that requires longer hours and less pay. at the end of the day, if you think it's the right move, be sure to not take on any significant debt. you will regret it.

1  · 
robhaw

What kind of engineering background do you have? 

Jun 19, 20 12:52 pm  · 
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brenersk

I have a degree in Facilities Engineering and I work in a Medical Center managing the HVAC systems.

 · 
thatsthat

If you haven't found it yet, it may be of use to you to read through some of the other Intro to Arch threads on this forum.  Also reading through the M.Arch application thread ( https://archinect.com/forum/th... ) as it was quite active and from what I remember. Many had used the intro classes to help create a portfolio since they didn't come from design backgrounds.

Jun 19, 20 4:13 pm  · 
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