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Am I too old for architecture

Steve1969

Hello, I am a 51 year old zoo keeper.  I am out of work because of the covid-19 pandemic.  I am considering getting into architecture.  It was always a subject that I found interesting.  Am I too old?  Recently I had a scare with one of the chimpanzees, and I’m at the point where I’m not in love with it enough to risk my life anymore.  I worked in an architectural office for 5 years as a college kid.  My uncle was an architect and gave me the job to help me out.  Anyways, I am really wanting to change careers.  I don’t feel safe anymore, and this time off has got me thinking.  

 
Jul 2, 20 1:01 pm
Non Sequitur

I can't tell if this is a joke question or literally the best "should I be an architect" query to ever grace our forum.


Jul 2, 20 1:19 pm  · 
3  · 
Steve1969

It’s not a joke. My hand was crushed and my shoulder was dislocated. I was giving a stuffed toy to a juvenile chimp, and an adult chimp got jealous and attempted to take it. I should have let him have it, but I tugged it away. This made the chimp angry and he grabbed me hand and repeatedly yanked with force you wouldn’t believe.

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JawkneeMusic

my friend worked with chimpanzees. theyre supposedly REALLY energetic. One kept going after a certain woman grabbed her hair once

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Steve1969

What kind of portfolio and resume should I be working on? I have a strange hobby. Not sure that it would be acceptable for architecture.

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Non Sequitur

Steve, don't pay attention to Jawknee... he could not be more removed from the profession. To answer your question, most M.arch portfolios aim to demonstrate the applicant's creativity and understanding of design fundamentals (light, scale, shadow, form, proportions, etc). You're not expected to showcase real architecture skills tho, so what other creative outlets do you have? Can you sketch, paint, sculpt?

2  · 
Steve1969

Yes, I was an art major in college. I have a bunch of ideas for buildings that I draw for fun. I also do really nice costumes. I make the costumes for myself and my friends. We have a friend group of Furries. One of the reasons why I was suspended beside my injury is because I wore my costume to work and caused a small panic with the giraffes. They ran and one fell down. She’s ok. I was written up for that. Then since my injury I’ve been sketching mostly buildings since I’ve been home.

1  · 
Steve1969

I should clarify, I was written up because I entered an area with the costume on that I wasn’t supposed to. I was authorized to wear the costume to work that day as part of a show for the visitors.

1  · 
Non Sequitur

Steve, in a previous life, I I used to sit on some entrance interview panels for undergrad arch applicants... and if someone came in for an interview with stories like yours... I would have argument with the other members of the panel to let that person in.

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Steve1969

Thank you, good sir. Maybe I will make a comic strip for my application.

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Formerlyunknown

Not sure whether to read it that he's not that in love with zookeeping anymore, or he's not that in love with the chimpanzee. 

Either way, I would have thought zookeeper might be one of the few COVID-proof jobs.  Regardless of whether it's open to visitors, if there are still chimpanzees then doesn't the zoo still require keeping?

Jul 2, 20 1:25 pm  · 
2  · 
designermom

They probably closed the zoo...

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Steve1969

The zoo is closed to the public. The zoo still does require keeping, but because of my injury, I was on leave anyway. About 1/2 of the staff is not working. The zoo is only keeping a few on to feed the animals and clean the enclosures.

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designermom

In my opinion, the time you are too old is when you are dead. (sorry to be so blunt). I got my BA when I was 31 and my Master's in Architecture and license at 51! (I raised a family in-between). So, it is never too late. 

But on the reality side of it, it will take you 6 years of schooling (depending on where you live). And at least 2 years of internship to qualify to sit in for the exam. Then, it takes at least 2 years to pass all of the sections of the exam. So, if you want to be licensed, it will take you about 10 years. Consider that many architects work well into their 80's; you could get 15-20 years of practice, which isn't bad!

I would just 'go for it'! What do you have to lose? 

If you are concerned about being the oldest person in class (I was), there are many on-line architecture programs out there.

Jul 2, 20 1:37 pm  · 
3  · 
Steve1969

Thank you for the kind encouragement.

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citizen

D'mom gives some sound considerations. So, it's quite possible to do this. But, it also requires a ton of work and diligence over a long period, which is not a problem for some people. But also keep in mind your larger situation-- especially family, monetary cost, time cost, location (if seeking in-person schooling), and other facets of your life. 

Our board here is littered with folks who burnt out (or just discovered the field isn't for them) after 3-4 years of schooling and/or employment. Your age can act in your favor (meaning, likely dedication), but you should think about all these things before taking a big leap.

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code

I started by architecture studies at 50, graduated at 55, and found a job with one of the top firms in the US. 10 years later, still at it, beat SS

2  · 
designermom

awesome!

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sameolddoctor

Thats cool, you could transition easily from raising animals to spoilt asshole clients. On the other hand, the animals probably appreciate your efforts much more than any asshole client...

Jul 2, 20 3:06 pm  · 
1  · 
Steve1969

Thank you sir. Honestly, the chimps are usually pretty easy. I worked with the Mandrills for most of my career. I’ve been pulled into their den and held captive for hours while they claw and yell at me. It’s terrible.

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thatsthat

Similar to what designermom was saying, I really think it is more about your financial situation.  If you have a family or other financial obligations, it may be harder to handle the tuition, fees, and supply expenses of the program, and later low-paying entry-level positions you'd be working while a student and the first few years until you can get licensed.  If you're in a great financial position, this may not matter to you one bit.

It sounds like you have a college degree already, so if you want to be licensed, you would want to look at Masters of Arch programs for students with a non-design background which is typically 3-3.5 years.  I would look for an M.Arch at a state school that is on the more practical side.  You could also explore a CAD/BIM drafting type route where you work as a draftsman to help architects get their construction sets put together.  You would be looking at community college courses or an associates degree.  Depending on your location, you probably would not be able to be licensed through the draftsman path, but may be able to be make a decent living in the profession, contributing to a team without turning your life upside going back to school full-time.  

Jul 2, 20 3:51 pm  · 
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Volunteer

I had a friend in high school who wanted to be a veterinarian but his father wanted him to be an engineer. I encouraged him to follow his desires and suggested that his father would come around. He became a vet, and a very good one by all accounts, and got hired by a large municipal zoo. Several years later he had a freak encounter with a tiger and was fatally mauled. I have always felt conflicted about encouraging him. Good luck on your decision. Check the requirements for liscensure in your state. You may not need any college at all, just experience. https://www.ncarb.org/get-lice...

Jul 2, 20 3:56 pm  · 
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Steve1969

Thank you for your response.

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never too old.  Oscar Niemeyer was sketching on beaches with martinis in hand at like 105...

Jul 2, 20 8:31 pm  · 
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citizen

Years or degrees?   :o]

1  · 

Steve, on portfolio etc... I just remembered this post

https://archinect.com/news/art...

Norman Foster (me personal hero as an architect)

Jul 2, 20 9:08 pm  · 
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