Archinect
anchor

NCARB is killing architecture

269
Bammerdon

I am taking my belongings and going home.  I have taken PPD and PDD each 3 times now and failed each time.  Three times is the limit I set for myself so I am done with this racket.  I have passed all content areas on PPD and PDD, but they jump around like a shell game.  The fact that I can pass a content area with a score of 1, then receive a score of 4 in the same content area on a different attempt, says to me that these exams don't accurately/consistently measure input.  Passing PDD/PPD is more like pulling a slot machine lever and hoping for all cherries on the same line: it's not about passing 1 exam, it's about passing 5 exams at once. 
 
With planners, engineers, code professionals, attorneys, project managers, construction managers, fire/life safety professionals, architectural designers, interior designers, etc, I am not sure why architects exist at all.  The profession in its current form is obsolete, decision-makers (AIA/NCARB/NAAB) stifle competition, and thus stifle innovation.  The discipline could learn from the engineering model: have one general exam and optional speciality exams such as: envelope, sustainability, accessibility, thermal, research.  But this will never happen because it would expose the giant fissure in the discipline: there is nothing an architect does that can't be done by somebody else.  Thus the discipline holds on to this archaic model because to change would mean acknowledgment of the fissure.  Architecture education is based on an 18-century model and licensure is based on a 19th-century model of the architect as an Howard Rourke ideal.  Current architecture discipline is antiquated like a Victorian house: it’s pretty to look at but it’s not applicable to life today because it’s based on obsolete principles.  Licensure can be likened to Blockbuster Video in our Netflix economy: it's out of touch with modern times.  Not only are the exams like using MS-DOS, but the questions have nothing to do with practice.
 
I don’t know if my thoughts will help anybody but I know many test takers are struggling like I was.  Here is how I arrived at this decision to quit: a license is nothing more than a rented piece of paper from your state and you (I) do not need a piece of paper to do what you want (unless you want to stamp a drawing, and I could not care less about that).  But if you want to do design, you do not need a license.  For me, it wasn't just the cash up-front, but it’s the time spent studying, the stress, the opportunity costs, the constant gray cloud following me around: study, study, study, gotta pass, gotta pass, my future depends on it.  If I wasn't studying, I couldn't enjoy whatever else I was doing.  The reality is that, “No," my future does not depend on a license.  In fact, a license might be a hindrance and prevent me from seeing/seeking other opportunities.  A license might pigeon-hole me. 
 
It might be a bit more pricey, but if you are on the fence about licensure, consider getting another degree - at least it’s not rented; you own it for life.  I earned an MPA in 2.5 years at night for about $17k from a state U and it was LESS stressful than attempting licensure!  If you can get through a B. Arch, you can easily do a Master's in another field.  My MPA has increased my earning potential much more than a license would have and it has widened my marketability.  I have parlayed into code development which has no visible ceiling that I can see, and there are no arbitrary or inflated license/cert/registration requirements.  I wanted the license to validate my efforts, but I realized that validation is not a good reason for becoming licensed.  And as somebody on Architect has said: architecture just isn’t important enough to get stressed about.  I will say it again: architecture just isn't that important.  In fact, some states are attempting to deregulate architecture to increase competition and innovation, and to break up the monopoly that a handful of organizations have on the discipline (AIA/NCARB/NAAB).  I support this.  Competition breeds innovation and architecture is in dire need of innovation.  Can you imagine if medical professionals resisted innovation to the point that in 2020, the practice of medicine was the same as it was in 1920?  I think architecture is the only discipline that has done this and consequently, architects are not relevant - they are seen as a necessary burden, as something to be haggled with and swept aside.   
 
If you are struggling, wondering if it's worth it, or simply getting tired of paying $$ to be on the hamster wheel, my advice: set a limit for yourself and if you are not licensed by that time, walk away and don't look back because ARE 5.0 is designed for people to fail - it's not you, you are not stupid; ARE is a money-making racket.  How do you think the executive quarter-million dollar salaries at NCARB are funded?  Every minute (year) spent on this process is time NOT spent doing something else that may pay off more like a better job, a different career path, another certification, another degree, time with family, learning piano, your happiness, etc...  Architecture just isn't that important, certainly not as important as other architects would have people believe.  Understanding this is especially important for those of you who are in your early 30's or younger... I am almost 40 and I wish that I had cut the cord 8 years ago.  I am grateful for my Master's degree and subsequent opportunities, but the time and $$ I have applied toward the licensure process will never be returned to me and looking back, it was a total waste.  The things I could have done instead would have brought me much more joy.  I wish I had listened less to architects: architects spent their youth, money, and career on the BS process so you doing the same thing validates their loss.  It's perpetual.  Break the cycle.  

 
Aug 10, 20 8:48 pm
Non Sequitur

You're right, architects and architecture are no-where near as important as we were told to believe we were.  Now... if only the length/cost of education were reduced to reflect this, then we'd have far fewer disgruntled people who otherwise might have done just fine.  Just don't tell that to those $100K in debt design school graduates.  They are equal, nay, better than doctors and lawyers because studio is sooooo fucking demanding.  

It's worth noting that this is mostly an american problem.  Plenty of other countries have modernized the licensing process AND subsidize post-secondary education.  M'erica!

Aug 10, 20 9:01 pm  · 
12  · 
square.

can you point to any problems with the profession? we've seen your opinion, quite often, that education is the problem because it sets overinflated standards and produces "underdeveloped" graduates (to which i somewhat agree and disagree). any critiques on where we spend the bulk of our time in this discipline?

genuine question.

 · 
Non Sequitur

Appreciate the genuine question and agree with your summary. My pov here is that prof-practice needs to be treated as more important than studio (because it is)... and should be a perpetual course (like most graduate level thesis projects) that spans the entirety of the M.arch instead of one or two courses that can be glazed over near the end of your degree. I just can't take anyone seriously when they claim their arch education is hard because they spent 80hrs per week on studio work. Studio is the easy stuff. Construction and prof-prac is the hard stuff.

8  · 
square.

to be fair, you probably thought it was hard when you were doing it. i only push back because i think you tend to present things from a present-dominant narrative, which devalues the difficulty of architecture school at times. just because we're professional architects in this moment doesn't mean our experience is more real or valuable than a current students. i distinctly remember that architecture school was the hardest thing i had ever done while i was doing it, and honestly i think my job is a lot easier in many ways. the mental fortitude required to get through school is pretty demanding, and anyone who can do it should be commended.

that being said, i tend to agree.. education should probably more closely mirror where the profession is. my problem is i don't like where the profession is, and i worry it's only getting worse with more and more consultants, technology, software, etc to manage, not to mention any of the issues relating to money. in other words i think architecture is wrapped up in some pretty big systemic forces that we can't affect, and i'm not sure it's a grind i can keep at.

2  ·  1
Non Sequitur

I don't intend to state that studio is not challenging. I was that night owl student constantly in studio t'il 3-5am (hand drawings and wood models... so, there was a fair amount of labour involved) but I also worked in an office between my studio and other courses so I had a decent understanding of the difference between school and work. I just don't agree that the focus of school should be on design studio. Encourage creative &critical problem solving by all means, but pump out grads that know a thing or two about the built-world instead of indebted and disgruntled idealists.

5  · 
square.

hey now- i'm an indebted, disgruntled realist

1  ·  1
joseffischer

Studio: getting a B was easy, getting an A was hard. You really had to not try AND ignore/fight whatever your professor said to get a C. I never got a studio A during a semester that my side work picked up. I had a professor chat with me for a long time about some projects that most likely were "A" material on how I wasn't choosing my priorities correctly... it was a competition semester and I got an honorable mention and my B. I think back on that now and then and remind myself he was right, I worried way too much about studio. Glad the sidework taught me construction and kept my bills low.

 · 
square.

yes, i guess another way of summarizing it for me: i think the design-focused curriculum used to be appropriate preparation for a career in architecture (major asterisk here as the neo-liberal cult of personality has been a terrible influence on this since the 80s), but that's no longer the case, which makes me sad. i can see how those interested by the more technical side of the profession are content with the work but not the education.

 ·  1

I've had discussions with a former professor regarding the courses that have been the most helpful in actual practice. Without hesitation I told him that pro practice and materials and methods of construction were the most helpful. Other lecture courses were also near the top (they were also quite helpful for ARE preparation). Studios were formative, but not to the extent that schools and students prioritize them. This professor had been wondering if we shouldn't be getting rid of a few studio courses and filling in with other courses more directly relatable to practice. I would have loved to have more pro practice curriculum with a professor that actually enjoyed teaching it. 

BTW, courses in software (AutoCAD and 3DS Max) have been the least helpful in my career. Caveat: I was fairly fluent in ACAD from a computer-aided drafting class in high school, otherwise it would have been more helpful.

2  · 
mightyaa

I think a flaw in your argument NS is the emphasis on design... That is the school and educators. But if you look at the NAAB accreditation requirements, AXP requirements and ARE test stuff all tracked by NCARB... design IS NOT a big part or emphasis; it is the prof-practice stuff. So we need to beat on the colleges that make studio the primary focus.

1  · 
Non Sequitur

Mighty, that’s right, but how many people who come here to complain claim they need more money because prof practice courses were so demanding? Anyways, we have the same accreditation reqs up here and our exams have maybe a dozen design questions (out of 400ish).

 · 
sameolddoctor

100k debt? I know a lot of peeps from schools like Sci-Arc (NOT Ivy League) that have 300k debt. Idiots.

3  · 
Non Sequitur

^F

 · 
ɯɥɐp

 "that being said, i tend to agree.. education should probably more closely mirror where the profession is."


square—

FFS didn't we just have a discussion in another thread where after I complained that architecture schools are producing too many designers and not enough individuals with practical skills that are more aligned with what the profession needs to innovate an be more relevant... then you said that you question whether licensing should exist to begin with? What's with the sudden change of heart?


 · 
natematt

Your opinion is representative of your own experience. I would agree with NS about the cost of education, and with you about some of your points, particularly on validation. However, while I think everyone hates it, for many the testing isn't that big of an impact on their life. 

People have different ways of thinking, and the nature of testing to evaluate your ability as an architect is pretty lame.

Aug 10, 20 9:58 pm  · 
2  · 
papd

AIA,architecture schools and NCARB have refused to change with the times.The writing is on the wall;Technology will change the role of architects and developers will have the last laugh.Allowing AIA members to determine who gets licensed through internships has led to a profession that does not reflect the underlying demographics of society and therefore contributed to social ills instead of being the custodian of social solutions.

 · 
tduds

The process sucks, and I'm sure it locks out as many potentially great architects as it allows in extremely incompetent architects. I'd love to see some major overhaul of the licensing process. 

That said I think architects are still very much a necessary profession and some form of accreditation is also necessary to ensure quality in that profession. I'm not sure what an ideal would look like, but probably a lot different from what we currently have.

Just one specific bone to pick: "there is nothing an architect does that can't be done by somebody else." Strong disagree there. I view my job as similar to an orchestra conductor / composer. I may not be able to play a violin nearly as well as the first violin player, but I know more about the trombone than that violin player ever will (and vice versa). My job is to understand just enough about each to get them to play in harmony. That's valuable.

Aug 10, 20 10:06 pm  · 
14  ·  1
midlander

excellent analogy

 · 

Great Analogy. One that stuck with me was told to me by a "starchitect" in my earlier years of school....... 'Engineers/specialists know everything about one thing, and Architects know a little about a lot of things'. We are one of the last good generalist professions, and in terms of design/construction can "see the forest for the trees" when others cant.

1  · 
tduds

I had an Environmental Controls (HVAC, lighting, etc) prof in grad school who perfectly summed up how I approach the profession: "I'm not here to teach you how to do this, I'm here to teach you enough to know when your consultants are lying to you."

1  · 
Lululala

Sign up for the ARE Facebook group on Facebook.  They have tons of good resources and have a really solid community with people who are going through the same pain as you.  Just do a search in that group and you will find amazing support and help from posts.  Don't give up!!  You are so close! Good luck. 

Aug 10, 20 11:25 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

 "there is nothing an architect does that can't be done by somebody else."

That's true for any and all occupations. Anyone will the will and determination can learn and do anything physically and mentally possible to be done. However, the thing is that somebody else has to have the knowledge and skills. Anyone can learn it but you really can't really do what you don't already know. Even if you are learning as you are doing it is actually a back and forth between the "books" and applying the knowledge so to speak throughout the process. 

Professional standards and client expectation is you already know how to do the services you are contracted to perform. I agree with tduds on his main point in response to this. In theory you are right but in practice, it rarely happens. In reality, you likely won't have the time to learn 5-10 years worth of full-time education and working experience during a client project. Clients have their deadlines and goals and they aren't going to hold them off for years just so you can take your time learning and applying it for their projects. The only ones that would are the cheapskates that won't pay you anyway.

Sure, the clients can in theory do the work themselves if they took the time to learn what you learned to become an architect. Sure they can but then they have to reschedule their project completion quite a bit. Something they aren't going to do. 

Most people truly underestimate what you had to learn because they don't really know what you do. They have a cartoon image of what architects do like "they draw buildings". Seriously, you do more than that. Your value isn't in you drawing a building. Even a kid can draw a building. It is your professional and technical skills as well as your artistic and creative ability and the coordination (orchestrate) of many knowledge and skills domains and disciplines. What differentiates what you do as a professional from a kindergarten kid's sketching? No one is going to pay a child $150,000 for what a child would produce for buildings. They are going to pay a professional who can design buildings that are safe, code compliant, aesthetically pleasing, cost efficient, etc. 

Seriously, you didn't go to college for 5 years to still just do drawings in crayons? Right? Sure, children in the unfiltered creativity may come up with interesting ideas but they have no clue how to make a real building like their drawings. This is why we need to have sound understanding of the various building sciences (engineering and all) to support our designing and a sound understanding of construction process and reasonable ability to prepare construction cost estimates. Construction experience is actually handy to have. 

Aug 10, 20 11:46 pm  · 
1  · 
Bammerdon

Yeah, I have read the responses and sifted through the emotional stuff (Non Sequiter, don't you have architecture to practice versus empty opinions to offer?).  Nobody has clarified what architects do that isn't offered by others... it's the same empty argument about health and safety which is what the gov't uses when there is no other argument to support a gov't program.  The failure here is to demonstrate what architects do that cannot be done by others.  Architects are NOT equal to doctors or engineers.  By all means, provide inarguable, substantive evidence that architects do something that is not done by another discipline and I swear I will make your night worth while if you are in N CA.  But you cannot.  Architects are now pathetic generalists and everybody else that is not licensed is making the money that architects should be making.  But architects gave away the money decades ago because it was more important to look glamorous than it was to get fingers dirty.  Northern Cali, anyone?

Aug 11, 20 2:07 am  · 
 ·  1
rcz1001

One human can do something, any human can do it, too. What's your point? I see your theory. So what. In practice, some yahoo with no background in architecture isn't going to be familiar with how to do structural design and engineering science, the building codes and how they are interpreted, and so forth. They don't possess the body of knowledge and skills. They won't necessarily know how to prepare construction documents. Sure, they can learn it but guess what, it isn't something they are going to be able to pick up and learn all on their very first DIY project. 

You complain about contractors. There is nothing that is stopping you from getting a contractor license? I know architects that are also construction contractors. So what. I know many knuckleheads that works in construction that aren't ready to be construction contractors. In fact, you don't need to be skilled in construction trades to have a contractor license. You just need to know how to run a business and write up contracts.... well that's the theory of course. So, what's your point?

You say architects are not equal to doctors. I disagree a little. They are just different. Different occupations. HSW risks are very real in both. In ours, the issues are more a risk of latent HSW risks that can kill thousands or more. Do you have any idea why licensing laws for architecture took place? Do you know the driving factor. Sure, there was politics. If you don't want licensing of architects then we need to still safeguard health, safety, and welfare. You might not be aware but there are places in the U.S. where there is no building codes or enforcement of such. 

1  · 
rcz1001

Bammerdon, before you get on dissing on NCARB aside from the original post, you should know the history that led to licensing. NCARB was established in 1919. A good book to read is "From Craft to Profession - The Practice of Architecture in Nineteenth-Century America" by Mary N. Woods. The foundation of today's architectural licensing process predates NCARB. This goes back to AIA and WAA days. WAA had more to do with the initial licensing of Architecture in the earliest of days. When WAA was absorbed into AIA, the AIA had begun to have more involvement in the legislation bills of architectural licensing and later architectural registration. In the legal sense, there are subtle differences and had bigger differences in the legal environment in the late 19th and early 20th century laws. 

In time, we couldn't just be grandfathering architects and these provisions were to be sunsetted. Therefore, laws and rules outlining the requirement for architectural licensing or registration to be met were established. After researching the various countries and other licensed professions like lawyers and doctors, it was clear that education is a critical part of the process as well as an exam. It was also clear from the architectural profession that the profession has a long tradition rooted in apprenticeship. This tradition is how architects learned how to practice architecture not just the theory and art of architecture that schools focused on. Therefore, it was deemed that you needed practice, not just education. It was also determined that it is not safe for the public health, safety, and welfare as well as financial security that an inexperienced person should not practice except under the responsible supervision of an experienced (licensed) architect. 

You should also note how architecture was evolving so fast. Just in a century from the 1810s to 1910s, the typical building was only 5 stories or less and with new methods of construction, buildings were getting taller. Look at New York and Chicago. Look at new construction at the last decade of the 1800s and the first decade of the 1900s in cities like San Francisco. We also had major fires and other disasters that involved buildings. It wasn't until late 1920s when the UBC was created. UBC (Uniformed Building Code) is one of the first model codes to exist in the U.S. besides the National Building Code (NBC) by the National Board of Fire Underwriters. It wasn't for some time until these codes became legal requirements.

Early on, there was no statewide adopted building code. In Oregon to the north of California, statewide adopted codes emerged in the 1960s. Before that, it was adopted at the county and municipal level. This resulted in varying code standards or even lack thereof. 

In Texas, there still is no statewide adopted building codes. In fact, you can build buildings and structures outside cities without any sort of building permits, plan review, or even building inspections. Imagine some jackass building an ammonium nitrate facility just outside city limits where the city has no jurisdiction in a county where there is no adopted code by the county. Imagine if it was negligently designed and built. It can be a serious disaster. Take a look at the relatively recent news in Beirut. Here's an example where sound professional licensing is crucial because if there was no licensing, there would be little to no recourse for such a disaster. 

Luckily, a lot of what is built outside the cities in Texas are low-rise residential and farm structures. This doesn't mean there are not dangerous structures and buildings designed and built outside city limits in code-less county lands. 

2  · 
Non Sequitur

Unfortunately for you, I am correct with my “empty opinions”.

 · 
flatroof

" Imagine some jackass building an ammonium nitrate facility just outside city limits where the city has no jurisdiction in a county where there is no adopted code by the county. Imagine if it was negligently designed and built. It can be a serious disaster." It did happen: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Fertilizer_Company_explosion

 · 
tduds

Yeah, I have read the responses and sifted through the emotional stuff ... Nobody has clarified what architects do that isn't offered by others..

I don't think you did because I did.

 · 
rcz1001

flatroof, thanks for pointing that one out. I didn't know it did happen but definitely can be worse if it was literally just outside city limits (within 100 ft or so from the city limits where the housing development was literally built up to the limit). 

It's still supports the point I made.

 · 
natematt

I mean.... I can give you an answer that is 100% accurate, and you'll owe me that north cal dream night... but it will be a dick answer... if you really want it, just ask.... 


So... in place of that. Lets flip the question. Do you think that buildings can be built with entirely specialist teams? Or do you just think that other people can take the place of the generalist architect? 

If it's the latter, then aren't you just replacing the architect with... the architect by another name? 

If it's the former... well I can't see how anyone who's ever worked with consultants would envision that going well... It would be funny... 


Aug 11, 20 2:34 am  · 
4  · 
joseffischer

this person has clearly not reviewed shop drawings and dealt with the growth of "by others" in our field. My job is daily about getting the "experts" in the room together and asking "who's supposed to know how your part fits to yours" and both of them shrugging. Then I have to let them know how it's going to happen.

3  · 
TeenageWasteland

@joseffischer that's the part I hate the most in architectural practice... telling people how to do their jobs (properly). I once worked with a global engineering consulting firm that the entire team (Strct,MEP, facade...etc ) never communicate internally before turning up to the meeting.... bloody nightmare.

2  · 
natematt

It's not just the coordination either, it's problem solving, the amount of time that "i'm not an (person's profession), but couldn't you do _____" has solved a problem for me blows my mind. 

 · 
midlander

perhaps one needs to know what architects do to pass these tests.

Aug 11, 20 4:41 am  · 
10  · 
joseffischer

I already commented but I wish I hadn't. This is the best one-liner response to the question/rant.

1  · 
tintt

Sounds like you are almost there. Don't give up just before you finish!

You actually make a good argument to hire an architect. Why would anyone hire planners, engineers, code professionals, attorneys, project managers, construction managers, fire/life safety professionals, architectural designers, interior designers, etc, and try to get them to all work together when you can hire an architect?

Aug 11, 20 8:52 am  · 
3  · 
mightyaa

As well as have someone, who understands all that, set priorities and give direction and balance the consultants. Ever seen a building designed by an engineer or a code professional? You can pretty much guess at what will be developed and refined, and what is an afterthought. So you end up with exposed conduit just in case you need to work on and service the wiring after a weather event :P

2  · 
tintt

I used to tutor candidates. I would tell them NCARB assumes you can do your job. They assume you can architect. What they test you on is a lot of fringe stuff, they test you on what other people do. They test on HSW topics including construction costs (financial welfare) and your ability to be responsive to the needs of the public and interact with government authorities and best practices because that is what separates someone with knowledge and experience from a professional.

I think you are writing here because you don't want to give up. Don't. 

Aug 11, 20 9:02 am  · 
4  · 

Keep trying.  Becoming an architect is difficult.  Nothing worthwhile is easy.  

Aug 11, 20 9:52 am  · 
1  ·  1
thatsthat

I wanted the license to validate my efforts, but I realized that validation is not a good reason for becoming licensed.

It sounds like you really just want to design.  If you don't want to do work that licensed architects do, then why get a license? If you want to design, go be a designer. Let someone licensed do the heavy lifting in getting your designs realized. Nothing wrong with that if you find an office that works in that way.  Not everyone needs to have a license.  Architects are the team. leaders and decision makers.  We get all of those specialists together and help them speak the same language to keep the project on track.  We talk listen to the owner and make sure they understand where their money is going.

Aug 11, 20 10:25 am  · 
 · 
Superfluous Squirrel

This is a feature not a bug.

The point of NCARB and the AREs is to make getting a license hard and complicated. It keeps people out and prices high. If the tests actually reflected the dificulty of our profession there would be twice as many architects, and everyone would make half as much money. 


Aug 11, 20 10:50 am  · 
1  ·  1
tduds

"...and prices high." I dunno about that.

2  · 
Superfluous Squirrel

You really think clients would pay more if there were more architects?

 · 
square.

number of licensed architects has less impact on value than the number of unlicensed design and production staff who are doing the work under them; that's where the labor laws of supply and demand come into play. licensure has more to do with who gets to call the shots within the profession. if you actually wanted to affect compensation from the credentialed side, there would be a fee schedule, but we know what happened there...

1  · 
tduds

You really think clients would pay more if there were fewer architects?

1  · 
Superfluous Squirrel

The fewer architects that bid on a job the higher the winning bid is going to be. It seems like basic supply and demand to me. Do you have an argument as why hiring an architect would be any different?

 · 
square.

yes, reality. you began your post stating that prices are high, which is the first time i've heard anyone say that architects are paid well. the burden of proof is on you.

 · 

The architectural service economy doesn't simply follow basic supply and demand economics. While not truly inelastic, the services architects provide have somewhat inelastic demand thanks to a government-granted monopoly to licensed individuals on architectural services. Not to mention that the services those licensed individuals provide are not commodity-like services.

 · 

Also, the point of NCARB and ARE is not to make getting a license complicated. It's to make it a measure of competency. Argue that it doesn't fulfill the purpose of measuring competency if you want to, but they aren't setting out trying to make it complicated for the sake of complication and difficulty. The test is set up to establish what a minimally competent architect would know. If you pass that bar, you pass the test. Setting that bar is complicated and it's not a perfect system ... I'm not saying it can't be better. But your off target if you think they are making it difficult just for fun.

3  · 
rcz1001

E_A, actually it is still affected by supply & demand. Even with a sort of oligopoly, there are still architects competing against each other. We still have enough supply base of competitors on public projects to still have some pricing competition. What is illegal is price-fixing. This is what AIA was sued for with fee tables. Those tables still exist if you looked for them. You just have to adjust for inflation on some of it but if I recall correctly, it was percentage of construction cost-based. You would need to compare how many hours you spend to deliver such a service compared to what it was for architects back in the 1920s to 1950s. If we got rid of licensing laws, the demand for architectural services would drop some. How much? I don't know but it can be a lot. In other words, you might as well start looking at going back to college for re-educating yourself in a new career field.

 ·  3

I appreciate your willingness to jump in where you know little Rick, but maybe sit this one out before you broadcast your lack of knowledge even more.

 · 
rcz1001

It is not really a monopoly. Lets also face the fact that public projects are not the only shit out there. There are also private sector projects. Guess what, in most states, there are thousands of architects licensed. Geez, it isn't like there is really a shortage.  We have an adequate supply of licensed architects for the demand for services that require licensed architects. A monopoly has a very explicit legal definition as it *IS* a legal term by the way. We have at best an oligopoly or some sort of cartel but not quite a monopoly. By strict definition, it wouldn't be a 'we' but a he, she, or it (a sole single architectural firm).

 ·  3
Superfluous Squirrel

"high" prices is all relative. Just because we all wish clients paid more doesn't mean they couldn't possibly pay less. Just to be clear, I'm claiming firm profits will go down, not necessarily that wages will go down. The more people that are bidding on a job, the more likely it is that someone will undercut you because they are OK with taking less profit, or taking the job at cost becasue they need any job to keep going. Im sure you can see it whenever theres a slowdown, but I don't have any data to back it up.

 · 

One flaw in your argument is that you assume clients are shopping for architects primarily based on price. I'm sure there is a segment of the industry where this happens, but it's a pretty small segment of the industry in my estimation. Your argument is more apropos to describing contractors competing and bidding on construction work rather than architects competing with each other for design work.

1  · 
rcz1001

Price is always a factor with ALL clients. There has never been a client where price isn't ever a factor. Wake up, this isn't Star Trek: The Next Generation era nor is it the United Federation of Planets. People are essentially a bunch of "Ferangis". Even if the price of services isn't the #1 priority, price is ALWAYS a consideration.

 ·  2
rcz1001

Supply & Demand effects absolutely every single occupation and industry where the government doesn't fix the prices. Supply & demand may have less effect on some sectors of architectural services. Supply and demand still affects those sectors even if so minute that it isn't noticed.

 ·  2
rcz1001

I do agree with you that supply and demand may have little effect in some sectors because the supply is relatively stable and the demand does not change at a significant enough level. Healthcare and public projects are normally stable sectors so the supply and demand are pretty much stable but if there was a sharp and noticeable change in the supply of architects or change in demand for architects, then it will affect the price ceiling. This is an economics "law".

 ·  2
tintt

Clients are interested in value, not price.

 · 
rcz1001

Price is a factor in value. Actually prospective clients can be either because we all seen clients that are more focused on price numbers than value. Of course, they aren't clients until a contract is entered into by parties to contract. Until then, they are just shopping. 

I agree with you that value is what most clients worth having as clients would be interested in. However, when it comes to two apples, which one are they going to buy? 

When you have 50 apples, each at their own given price tag, which one do you think they are going to buy? Price is a factor in value. It is part of the value equation. 

The more competitors that you have, the more there is a pressure to price lower than the other 'apple'. Many we can look at this not as just comparing singular apples but now bags of apples for the value equation.

They are always looking at the total cost.

 ·  4
Non Sequitur

Pretty big swing and miss there ballerina.

1  · 
Non Sequitur

Pretty big swing and miss there ballerina.

 · 
midlander

in private sector architects can price too low and disqualify themselves. i've worked at a developer and seen this happen. 4 firms invited to submit rfp, 3 are +/- 10% of our target, the other was 40% under target. we assumed that firm either misunderstood what we were asking for or planned to understaff the project. experienced clients don't want their project to fall behind schedule to save 2% of cost on fees.

 · 
midlander

it is not at all like buying apples, because the "product" doesn't exist yet so you can't actually compare cheap apples to regular ones. But you also know that the cost of labor / services is roughly similar within any market so you can expect any much cheaper one is just going to give you less.

 · 
rcz1001

The product is the service you are providing. The scope of services is like the number of apples provided in the bag (the service package). You offer XYZ scope of service for a contracted amount which is your bid. The value is what you provide for said amount. That's what I am getting at. Don't overthink the analogy. All analogies fail if you overthink the analogies.

 ·  1
square.

this metaphor is not working.

 · 
rcz1001

ok.

 ·  1

Balkins' return to the forums is not working.

1  · 

For the sake of the metaphor ... the client goes to the farmer's market and asks a bunch of architects to give them proposals for a bag of apples. The architects figure out the apples they can put in the bag and the price they think is appropriate. Client looks at the proposals and picks one of the architects. The client isn't simply focused on price per bag (or price per apple) as a simple supply and demand economy would lead you to believe. Instead, they are looking at the bags and the apples they contain to select the bag they think fits their program the best. Then they try to get the architect to lower the price of the bag of apples. They also try to get the architect to include additional apples for no added cost. 

Balkins comes into this metaphor because he's the guy outside the market with a bag of wadded up balls of red paper he learned about at Clatsop County CC. He says they are close enough to apples but he can only sell them as apples in Sweden, or he can only sell one of them as an exempt apple as long as the paper ball is less than 4 inches in diameter per Oregon's practice law (but he's the one holding the tape measure and won't allow anyone else to read it). He also goes online and tries to talk with architects about what it is like to cultivate and grow apples despite never having done it before.

 · 
rcz1001

ok...

 ·  1
senjohnblutarsky

It's not enough to study for just one section.  You have to be a well rounded individual to pass.  They put questions from other sections on each exam.  This is a known thing.

I didn't fail any sections under 4.0.  I'm not perfect by any means.  So, that should imply its certainly doable. 


Aug 11, 20 12:13 pm  · 
1  · 

PPD and PDD are pretty comprehensive tests under 5.0. You can't really pass them without knowing a lot of material. In that way, I think they are a better test for competency of well-rounded individuals. Every person I know that had taken the approach of studying for these tests as a way to become a better, more well-rounded, architect has done well on them. The people that I've seen struggle have been the ones that want to cram all the information into their brain, take and pass the test, then forget it.

1  · 
Bench

EA - i've also been finding that approach helpful while in the process of taking my exams (3/6 down so far). Admittedly, yes, taking time away from visiting people/spending time with friends to read about contract law, etc. does kind of suck, and I'd prefer to be elsewhere. But as a method for improving my own daily value to my projects, the prep material and subsequent testing has really helped me improve my skills in the field. There's so much not covered in school, that does need to be covered at some point before getting to the coveted license - I've actually found the process of hard-nosed, head-down reading to be incredibly useful (if often a drag).

3  · 
Fancy1118

Can you expand upon what you're doing with your MPA? I'm a licensed architect with a BArch. But I'm considering getting a either an MPA or MBA part time. 

Aug 11, 20 2:02 pm  · 
 · 
Quentin

LOL, tldr but you sound salty because you can't pass. They aren't that hard! They don't even have the drawing task anymore. 

Cry me a river!

Aug 11, 20 2:39 pm  · 
1  ·  1

When did you get your license Quentin?

 · 

2016, completed within a year

 · 

So you where on the ARE 4.0?

 · 

He would have been. First scores for 5.0 tests weren't released until 2017.

 · 

I thought so but couldn't recall when 5.0 kicked in.

 · 

Quentin - you should know that while the 5.0 doesn't have the vignettes anymore they do have pro practice and contracts spread throughout all of the exams. While it's now five exams instead of 7 you're tested on the same amount of information. Basically all they did was cram 7 exams of questions into 5 exams.

 · 

6 exams. 5 was only for those transitioning between 4.0 and 5.0 and had passed the right ones in 4.0 first.

 · 

Whoops! So 7 exams worth of questions in 6 tests. That's marginally better. :)

 · 
OM..

k bye!

Aug 11, 20 7:44 pm  · 
1  · 
Defund Academia

Stop crying and blaming others for your failures.

Aug 11, 20 10:10 pm  · 
1  ·  3

Says the unlicensed looser.

1  ·  1
Defund Academia

I'm not only licensed, I own my own practice, good try Chad.

 · 
cbiii

Just saying:

1] Passing the ARE's is no more than a basic measure of competency for the profession.  

2] Have a hobby for your creative outlet ... you likely will not fulfill it in the office.

Aug 12, 20 9:49 am  · 
 · 

This can be true as to practice actual architecture you'll need to do things project management, proposals, ect. Not all of your time will be spent designing buildings.

 · 
Chemex

I don't think the problem is a resistance to change. The problem is that things have changed drastically since the 1920s. In the 70s-80s, special interests took over the profession (and the world) to the point were innovation is stifled for architects--it's just a way to grease the wheel for institutions (academic, professional, etc).

Ideally, architects would have a general knowledge of all of the specialties, not a requirement of mastery for every engineering field. You rightly observe that engineers are able to specialize, while European architects have some flexibility in the process. I would be happy if architects used an early 1920s modernist process--but they have no power or will to do so anymore.

Of course the people who are rich / white enough to go through this long pointless process in order to secure a spot at YRP architects inc. is going to defend it. They have a secure 65k a year spot designing gas stations and hospitals in Denver. However the built world doesn't improve when architects are trained to be cad monkeys and 2nd class engineers who just mindlessly follow wherever the regulations lead.

Aug 12, 20 9:57 am  · 
1  · 
tduds

"special interests took over the profession" ..For example? 

"I would be happy if architects used an early 1920s modernist process" Also would love some elaboration on what this process is, to you.

 · 

"Ideally, architects would have a general knowledge of all of the specialties, not a requirement of mastery for every engineering field.

This was the statement I was wondering about. How is this different today? I don't know about you all, but I feel like I have a "general knowledge of [most] specialties" rather than a "mastery for every engineering field." I don't think I know a single architect that I would think has a mastery in any type of engineering field. 

1  · 
archanonymous

.... except "Value Engineering"

 · 
atelier nobody

I know very damn few architects and zero engineers or construction managers who have mastery in value engineering.

2  · 

does anyone have mastery in value engineering? I mean real value engineering, not cost cutting.

 · 
midlander

i despise the way terms like value engineering have snuck into the jargon in order to obscure what is they're actually describing. VE properly done implies a change that increased costs could be made if it proportionately increases value. This is never what is really desired though... since it's just an unnecessary euphemism for cost reduction.

1  · 
Non Sequitur

There was a time when I would deliberately add things to projects as a ruse to direct the VE efforts. Higher finishes in places that did not matter, SS handrails in egress only stairs, that sort of thing. I made it easier to negotiate on the items that mattered. Can't do that anymore tho. We work with CM offices that VE everything.

2  · 
tintt

NS that reminds me of a story I read once about a software design firm who would include a picture of a duck on every page in the software they designed so that when the client reviewed the work they would say "Looks great! Just get rid of the duck."

 · 
Non Sequitur

One of my prof-prac teachers had a similar story where they would include a section in their spec book that required the GC to buy pizza for each meeting just to see if they read the docs. Only once, if I recall correctly that a GC followed through and paid for lunch. A credit for the value of future lunches was issued afterwards.

1  · 

We did the same thing at the first firm I worked at. In the GC of the specs we had the contractor required to buy beer. No one reads the GC of the spec until there is a problem.

2  · 
tduds

Ah, the Brown M&M clause. Brilliant move.

 · 
tduds

During the recession, I worked a short construction job for a certain renowned hippie environmentalist architect, and in his contract he required the client to show up at 4pm with enough beer for the whole crew. Every, single, day. Fun job.

 · 

4:30 pm - nothing is square or plumb. A lot of hammers and speed squares misplaced.

 · 
archanonymous

back when i worked with my hands, the firm owner would leave on Friday to go get beers and that was all of our cue to clean up. A spotless shop upon return meant he was paying for the beer that week.

1  · 

Since I'm a pedant I'll point out that the specs don't have General Conditions (GC). They have the General Requirements (Div 01). The construction agreement has the General Conditions.

1  · 
tduds

That's probably an ARE question so I guess we're back on topic!

1  · 
shellarchitect

"With planners, engineers, code professionals, attorneys, project managers, construction managers, fire/life safety professionals, architectural designers, interior designers, etc, I am not sure why architects exist at all."

This idea has been shared many times, but rarely challenged.  Yes it is "possible" that somehow a group of professionals could somehow create a code complaint building.  Anyone who has ever worked on an actual project more complicated than a strip mall or SFR should know that this would be an absolute disaster.

My experience is that when the architect do their job well, it seems easy and like maybe an architect isn't needed.  Every contractor and many of the engineer led projects that I've been a part of have been very difficult for everyone involved.

Aug 12, 20 12:28 pm  · 
1  · 
midlander

as a tangent i always bring these up when people make vague complaints about how architects mismanage costs and schedule. as if civil infrastructure projects without architecture management go any better. (the big dig, second ave subway, any airport runway expansion, power plants, etc) the main issue is that the people with expertise are rarely the ones deciding key issues of process, budget, and goals.

 · 
shellarchitect

LOL! I worked for one of the big dig firms roughly 10 years ago! The firm leaders gave the architects a lot of freedom, with the exception that projects had to make money. No such thing as a "loss leader" or a low margin "prestige" project. Fortunately I was 1,000 miles away and had no connection to the Big Dig!

1  · 
tintt

Notice the original author hasn't come back to converse. This is typical of candidates who can't pass, they just want it handed to them because they have x, y, and z and deserve it. Don't be like this guy. He'll probably pass the next two if he just takes them. After all, he knows what's on the test now. 

Aug 13, 20 9:18 am  · 
3  ·  1
Non Sequitur

OP is a disgruntled wanker who has no idea what architects do so it's no big loss. Just an old man yelling at clouds. Nothing to see here.

1  ·  1
JLC-1

he took his belongings and went home

1  · 
square.

yet this thread gained a lot of traction. definitely some truth to complaints regarding ncarb. i agree the exams aren't that tough, but they are unnecessarily lengthy and costly. i'm fortunate to have the adequate resources to tackle them, but not everyone does.

2  · 
whistler

This seems like a fun thread ... kinda like arguing on Twitter!  All I will say is that when I went to write my exams some 30+ years ago we all sat in a big gymnasium and did multiple exams per day over a three day period.  I remember thinking to myself and mentioned to a few buddies who were doing the same exams ( several national award winning architects ) how I could tell why our profession was so fucked just by looking at the people writing the exams.  Out of a room of 80-100 people only about 5 I would consider designers with any skill or passion the rest might as well have been techs.  It was a sad sight that the majority would never make any significant contribution to the profession or be considered a model to look up to as far as a leader in the field.

Think about when you graduated and went to watch each of your classmates thesis presentations ..... how many of those folks would you actually hire to design and build you a house, someone who could design it, deliver it and understand all complexities of the structure, building performance and family dynamics and unique circumstances of a site .... I could only think of 2 guys!   Happy to say I would still hire either of those guys today.

Aug 13, 20 4:07 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

alternative take: people like you, who think that only 5% of those in architecture are "real designers" and "leaders," are "why our profession [is] fucked"

 · 
whistler

I was being generous by saying that there were 5%. It's the same in every profession, think about it, not everyone needs or wants to be the Alpha Male / Female that the profession needs. It's not an ego trip, it's a commitment.

1  · 

2% is what Frankie would say...

1  · 
square.

no, it's really not. architecture is unique in how wrapped up it is in neoliberal, ego-based individualism. most of the teachers, doctors, and policy people i know could give two shits about "making a significant contribution"- they simply aim to do their work well.

i'm glad younger generations aren't falling for this attitude; hopefully we'll see it die out. funny how the oldies think the young ones are the snowflakes who need trophies and praise..

1  · 
archanonymous

absolutely agree Whistler! I haven't been out of school (that) long and arch education has already changed so much! We started with 97 students in a 5-year Masters program and of those like 19 graduated. The rest failed out or were strongly encouraged to find another profession. I teach now and I can't even give a goddam "C" without getting threatening emails from some spoiled brat's parents, or questions from the administration about why students are struggling so much in my studio. Why? Because they are a fuckin ding-dong who has no business being an architect.

1  ·  2
whistler

I'm with Frank! Although I couldn't live in any of his house's

 · 
midlander

it does seem that a lot of dissatisfaction in architecture seems to come from people who don't even like designing buildings or even understand what the role of a designer is.

 · 
square.

the irony is you don't see the connection between the idealist, entitled graduates you all complain about and the overinflated sense of importance, competition, and ego you attached to architecture studio. 19/97 graduating isn't something to be proud of, it's an embarrassment for your program. med school is much more difficult than architecture school, yet the graduation rates are much higher.

https://www.aamc.org/data-repo...

architecture isn't rocket science; maybe if you spent less time trying to be frank and more time teaching the basics, we'd have a better prepared work force.

2  ·  1
archanonymous

If we spent less time coddling entitled kids and encouraged them to go into a profession they could hack it in, we would also have a better prepared workforce.

 · 
code

and in many firms, design is only done in this "gated community/ivory tower" "we're the designers and you are production caste

Aug 13, 20 4:35 pm  · 
 · 
BulgarBlogger

Sore loser lol

Aug 13, 20 4:48 pm  · 
 · 
code

actually, 90% of the design is done in DD, CD, and CA anyway, 1/2 of SD has to be redone in DD phase.

 · 
archanonymous

we do most of our design in CA.

1  · 
rcz1001

If you are doing a majority of design in CA then you did not spend enough time in SD and DD phases through design iterations before making the CD set which should not ever have to be changed whatsoever except for unforeseen factors like site conditions that were not able to be discovered in earlier design phases. Frivolous changes that should have been brought up by the client in SD and DD phases should only be done at great expense to the client.

 ·  1
Non Sequitur

Ricky, it's not that simple... well, I guess it would be if one's scope is limited to backyard decks and whatnot, but on real projects... plenty still gets designed during CD. Sometimes even in CA when specialty trades and shops are involved.

 · 
rcz1001

True it isn't necessarily that simple but you have to control that in the contract that *you* write-up. (okay, your attorney). I'm not saying you don't have any such work in CDs but once you get into construction, there should be a disincentive for wasteful frivolous change orders. You mentioned reasonable design work during CA. I'm not talking about that.

 · 

I've usually found that the projects that spend the most time designing in CDs and CA, are the same ones that spent too much time designing in SD and DD. It's more to do with the lack of decision making or waffling back and forth on design ideas than anything else. 

Note: this does not necessarily apply to DB projects or fast-track schedules ... it could apply, but those are enough of their own thing that it's probably not fair to lump them together with the more traditional delivery methods and schedules.

2  · 
BulgarBlogger

What does this have anything to do with my response?

3  · 
tduds

I do a lot of repositioning/renovation on existing buildings and lemme tell you... you pretty much *have* to design things in CA if you want it to work.

2  · 
rcz1001

It happens but that is the stuff that should be addressed from pre-design through DD phase and maybe early CD phase. Everything to do with design and layout should be locked in and nailed down before drawings and specs are submitted for permits. Remember, with existing buildings, you are needing to do thorough As-Is drawings of the building and its current conditions, various structural assessments but anything that is going to remain (not otherwise replaced) like furniture even if relocated or any infrastructural systems changes (mechanical, electrical, plumbing systems) should be addressed in this stage. It is why there is a lot of time-consuming work to be done before applying for permits. 

You can approach things with a partial phased submission where you are replacing or planning to replace old interior finishes to have permits for demolition/removal of interior finishes. In cases, you may do exploratory demolition to expose areas so you can properly document the structural systems if existing or original plans are not available. I wouldn't call that CA phase. 

While I don't disagree with EA about reasons resulting in not being decisive, I do also see rushing through design to construction also leading to rampant change orders because you don't work with the client for what the client wants. Bad habits in architecture school far too often lead to bad habits in professional practice. 

Yes, there is also the pain in the ass clients that constantly changes their mind. It should cost them significantly that is would discourage them from being fickle-minded during construction. I don't just mean just the cost to make construction changes after it was already made but also to have increases rates to have those design changes made. (I heard some call this the "asshole" rate over the years)

It's in how you handle your contract terms and enforcement of your contract agreement. Contract Administration not Construction Administration to be clear.


 ·  1
rcz1001

We all have heard of the never-ending change-orders requests from clients, contractors, etc. to basically make you work like a slave. I know it is not simple but getting it nailed down before you submit plans to the building department should mitigate some of the issues. Not allowing or approving frivolous change-orders should also be practiced more to exercise control and not allow waste time making changes just to make them again in 48 hours after having spent 72 straight hours making the changes without sleep because they demand it without reasonable allotment of time to do it. That's my essential point. Don't get walked all over by the client or the contractors. Take control and enforce it. If a prospective client won't accept such terms, consider saying no to that prospective client.

 ·  2

...says the guy who's never done any of this IRL. In a court of law your testimony would be thrown out as hearsay. 




[cue Balkins lecture on the legal definition of hearsay that he Googles right now]

1  ·  1
rcz1001

... says the guy who doesn't have any knowledge what projects I ever have done IRL except only one project I was associated with having been disclosed because he is not associated with nor ever have been associated with my business. 

As policy, I do not discuss client projects in detail nor will I provide identifying information about clients. In a court of law, your testimony would be thrown out as hearsay. 

Unless you are associated with my business or any project I have ever done or ever do, you should not speak or write about my experience at all. You should only speak or write about another person's experience unless you personally were involved with that person or directly interview someone who has.

You earned a thumbs down and I know you have been intentionally thumbing down my posts just to thumb it down and not by the quality of the posts. You are doing this for adolescent reasons. I'm just reciprocating the favor.

 ·  1
Non Sequitur

Protecting imaginary clients Is not working out for you Ricky.

 · 

NS, he says no to all the "real" clients because COVID and Portland is full of terrorists or some nonsense like that. So the imaginary ones are the only ones he has left. I'd actually like to see Ricky do one of those things where he replies to the scammers like that James Veitch guy. That would be good content.

1  · 
rcz1001

You misread what was written before b3tadina removed it. Going to Portland has nothing to do with saying 'no' to prospective clients. It has to do with not wanting to spend my time basically being a nanny to these clients. Most of the prospective clients contacting me are for projects in the south-west Washington area and Oregon coastal area. 

Anything to do with Portland, Oregon would be taking the ARE exam divisions and that isn't going to be happening until after the coronavirus situation is over as well as the damn rioting in Portland. 

I'm not interested in getting on a bus to Portland the day before the exam division(s) are to be taken to get into a hotel/motel, then to be going through a rioting "war zone" to get to the testing location from the hotel/motel and then to go back through that rioting "war zone" when returning from the test location to then get on a bus back to Astoria.

 · 
Non Sequitur

you're really getting your money's worth with those excuses ricky.

 · 

Where's tduds to tell us how Portland is not a war zone and never was?

 · 
rcz1001

I know people in Portland that are describing the rioting and there are the videos and photos as recent as this week. Why don't you look it up and see?

 ·  1
mirror1973

I really tried my best, for ten years, sometimes I passed but most of the times I failed, at the end the rolling clock would bite me in the ass and had to start over,  after ten years I decided to quit.  I know colleagues are disappointed in me, but I realized I was pushing hard for something unattainable for me.  I admit, every time a coworker passes the tests I get happy for them and depressed for my own self.  It was THE goal of my life and I didn’t achieve it.  It has been three years since I gave up and I am still struggling with depression about it, some days are better some are not.  ARE destroyed my self esteem, I hope others don’t get to live my situation.

Aug 29, 20 9:36 pm  · 
1  · 
natematt

There is a habit of people in this field not being able to balance what is good for them and what they want. I applaud your ability to stop. Your colleagues shouldn't be disappointed, they should be proud of you for doing what was best for you.

I had a good friend in a similar situation, and the reality is that I could never tell if it was that she was bad at tests, unlucky, or just really didn't try hard enough at studying. I realized that it wasn't my damn business or place to judge. She was good at her job, and did what was best for her by stopping. Those are all anyone should hold you accountable to. 

1  · 
Janette

I quit licensure soon after being forced to transition to ARE 5.0 - NCARB made it sound like something new and beautiful.  I make a good living designing residential homes in TX without a license.  I am glad i quit testing when I did because looking back it was a waste of my time and happiness.  My husband is an accountant and he calls NCARB a pyramid scheme.  There was a recent post about NCARB's tax documents so I showed my husband.  In 2017, NCARB administered approx 50,000 exams which paid for massive salaries.  The CEO of NCARB makes $40k/month, and then go down to $35k/month, $25K/month, and so on.  What was interesting is that the revenue NCARB makes from exams equals the salaries of NCARB staff.  Is there any question why, when NCARB reduced exams by one, that the cost of exams increased?  If you don't know the answer, I hope you are not performing any calculations.  As another point of reference, the org that sponsors the PE exam, they spend 100% of exam revenues on exam development and implementation and pay one executive about $25k/month and that's it.  NCARB spends on 1/2 of exam revenues on exam development and implementation and pays for numerous exorbitant salaries.  NCARB IRS 990: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/d...  

Anyhoo, based on the $11,000,000 in revenue NCARB made in 2017 from exam attempts (passed and failed), and let's assume exams were $225 (yes i know there are now $235), there are approximately 50K NCARB exams being taken every year.  What NCARB refuses to publish is, 1) how many exams per year of total exam taken are "Fails," and 2) how many licenses are being issued every year.  Well, NCARB won't release the latter data because they conveniently defer to the states which are fragmented (NCARB has the data, c'mon - if they don't they are incompetent).  However, they do keep data about how many exam attempts are "Fails" and they refuse to release that data to the public.

The whole reason my husband calls it a pyramid scheme is because NCARB refuses to release data about exactly how the $11,000,000 breaks down.  Obviously NCARB encourages people to take more and more exams because it is in NCARB's interest to make the licensure process as difficult as possible because that = more moola.  The BS though is that NCARB does not exist to protect the health and safety of the public -that is the job of state and local jurisdictions.  NCARB's only interest is to keep a steady flow of revenue into NCARB's coffers to pay for the $40,000/per month salary of the CEO and the outlandish salaries of other unnecessary executive staff.  

So I disagree that the essence of NCARB is killing architecture.  But I do agree that the people that run NCARB are definitely suffocating the profession for their own financial gain and the states are failing licensed professionals.  I can also say that I am glad I quit NCARB when I did.  I only wish I had done it sooner.

Sep 4, 20 11:05 pm  · 
 · 
midlander

i'd agree the essence of ncarb is creating an unregulated intermediary to siphon money out of a regulatory system that's of no interest to the public. good for you that you figured out you can do your work without their sanction. it's essentially a lawful cartel.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

You designed residential architecture without a license. Lol. I saw the homes down there. If you’d designed any the McMansions down there, thank god you got out. You shouldn’t have a license.

 · 
x-jla

Bulgar, residential still needs to go through permitting, inspections, etc. the builders are also licensed. The safety stuff is covered, so why should an architect license be required? It’s a bit different in commercial, because you are dealing with more complex issues, but residential is pretty straightforward.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

You forget: to get a license, you need education, and while it is not a rule, most of the time, the design education translates into better work.

 · 
rcz1001

x-jla, you may or may not need a permit or inspection in vasts parts of Texas because if you are outside the municipalities and extraterritorial jurisdictions of municipalities, you maybe in a county that doesn't adopt or enforce building codes and similar inspections other than maybe the septic permit inspection. 

In states like Oregon, we have a state-wide building code that is enforced by the county when outside city limits and by the cities. If neither is able to enforce the inspections, the state office assumes administration and enforcement of plan reviews and inspections but in which case, the effectiveness of enforcement is seriously diminished because of lack of code enforcement officers in the locality to enforce. 

In Texas, it's much more problematic because in the rural area, it's pretty much a nobody gives a f--- what you build there. I know a designer (I prefer to call him a drafter) in Texas and he touts that he can design and draft homes in like 80 hours. Considering he really doesn't need to design and if the home is outside cities in rural areas, there can be next to zero inspections so really designing to code doesn't really exist let alone reviewing his own plans to code standards. It can be scary, actually.


 · 
rcz1001

I'll argue that his CAD drafting skills aren't too bad and not the worse but in a rushed job, I would have to argue that there isn't much actual design service provided to the client which in my opinion compromises the service even if the drafted plans manages to be designed and built (by reasonably competent builders) so it doesn't collapses and kill the occupant of said home. On occassion, I seen him do work that involves more than anyone can do in 80 hours or less. I think he might have even said something about doing it in 40 hours or less but it has been awhile and it was on another forum which I don't know if I can find the posts. I have criticized the person for low prices and subsequent short changing (in my opinion) the service to the client. If you are designing a custom home, you should actually put real service behind the designing. They don't always have to be modernistic style homes or anything like that but actual service and that comes with a price tag commensurate to what you are providing.


 · 
rcz1001

Some of his more recent work has had more thought and work put behind it. An architect friend in Washington and myself had nudged him to put more value to the service which has resulted in some progress which someone seeking professional services from him would pay him and they get their money's worth and they get a better product at the end of the day. If they can afford to build the home, they can afford to pay a decent pay to the designer with a decent value of service commensurate of the decent pay.

Sorry for the side track. 

 · 
77LightTemple
Maybe the AIA should investigate this matter
Sep 5, 20 2:05 am  · 
 · 
Janette

The fact is that in all states, you do not need a license to design residential structures that are two stories or less above a basement.  If you don't know that, then read your state's practice laws.  It's not a Texas thing, it a national thing.  I have designed homes in CA, NV, TX, and NM.  I get that license folks might be upset when they hear that (which is strange because I thought that was common knowledge), but it's a fact: you do not need to have a license to produce drawings for residential structures 2 stories or less.  And with COVID and the subsequent telework across the entire country, there is going to be MUCH less need for new space, hence much less need for a license that is already not needed.  And even new space, when needed, can be designed by an engineer, just tilt-up structures or factory built stuff.  It may not look pretty, but what looks pretty in the US anyways?  ...not much...

I would suggest that any NCARB exec or Board member must pass the NCARB exam, no matter how many years ago they got licensed.  Many of them probably never took an NCARB exam and I would also guess that many of them have no formal education.  In CA you can still become licensed with ZERO education.  Bottom line is that an architect license is becoming more and more irrelevant and useless because it's based on principals from the 1800's.  This is 2020, almost 2021.  The only people who give two sh*ts about a license are other architects - it's a cult like religion or AA.  Licensed architects want to recruit other people to the club to get licensed because it validates their efforts.  But to people outside of the cult, well, nobody gives a sh*t.  And that's where NCARB and AIA come in - they want $$, they don't care about "architecture."  Their existence depends on contributions from those who buy into the cult.  But the cult is dying.  It's unfortunate because although NCARB is crap (NCRAP), there is value in architectural education and experience, but our value as designers has been stymied for so long by NCARB/AIA that other professions (interiors, construction mangers, engineers, planners) have stepped in to assume those roles.

It's simple supply/demand.  How many buildings are going to be erected in the next decade that need an architect to build?  Answer = 0.  You don't need an architect to build a building.  COVID has shown that telework is healthy for employers and employees and the cost of commercial real estate has plummeted.  In efforts to falsely inflate the value of an architects services, NCRAP has made it ridiculously difficult to become licensed.  But architects are not trained in business.  Ultimately what NCRAP's efforts will prove, when only a couple hundred licensed architects exists in the US, is that architects are no more valuable than a licensed shoe-shiner.  It's sad but it's too late.

Sep 7, 20 6:42 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

"The fact is that in all states, you do not need a license to design residential structures that are two stories or less above a basement. " The scope of exemptions varies from state to state and technically, not all states. There's like one or two states where there is no exemption. Just a factual point to be made.

I agree with most of your points in the first paragraph but it is a complicated thing. I wasn't saying it is a all a Texas thing.

 · 
rcz1001

As a building designer, I may see more demand for possible additions or accessory structures for WFH working situation if we are going to see more of that to accommodate a private space from the main dwelling space. We called these "home occupancies" in the past but this parlance may be more associated with the "work from home" (WFH) that is more used recently because of COVID-19 than it was in the past. I can't predict how long this trend will remand after the COVID-19 situation but I do suspect it will linger for awhile. Maybe in the next 10 years. After that, who knows.

 · 

How many times do you have to be kicked off a forum before you get the hint, Balkins?

1  · 
rcz1001

FYI: NCARB has been in charge of national architectural registration exam since the late 1950s and 1960s. Before that, each state used its own modified version of the Illinois architect exam which was introduced more than 100 years ago. NCARB had been involved with processes of standardizing the exam leading to the standard national exam versus state by state modified versions of a de facto exam that was based on the structure used by the exam in Illinois. It became officially known as ARE by the mid-1980s but NCARB was in charge of administering a national standard exam in 1965. There were pre-cursors to this exam since the 1890s to 1965 when exams were becoming standardized and administered by a national organization (NCARB) for uniformity. This early exam was structured based on the standardized process but the ARE evolved from state architectural exams which originated by the Illinois architect board that started architectural examinations. Other states followed suit and most modeled their exam off the Illinois exam but may had their own variations and take on the exam. NCARB has an interesting history on this: ( https://www.ncarb.org/blog/celebrating-the-history-of-the-are and https://centennial.ncarb.org/ ). lets keep in mind here that most of the board members on the NCARB board and member licensing boards have in fact taken some version of the ARE which was introduced in 1983. Those that were licensed took the older Professional Exam or Equivalency (qualifying) Exam. The ARE merged the elements of both because they felt all test candidates had to take the same exam with graphic portion. Before even that were the ones that took the exam format that existed in 1965. The first exams introduced by NCARB was back in 1921 and was given in Illinois. There was two versions. One for those getting initial licensure (Standard Junior Exam) and those undergoing the grandfathering clauses (Standard Senior Exam). Not all states administered the Standard Senior Exam or a version of it because not all states required any sort of examination under the grandfathering but most administered the Standard Junior exam or some modified version of the exam that was initially created by Illinois when they started administering examinations for licensure. Illinois being the first state to begin licensing architects and among the first if not the first to establish an exam and later states started with some version of that. ( https://centennial.ncarb.org/pillars-of-licensure/examination/ )

 · 
rcz1001

In other words, they are more than likely all to have passed some version of NCARB exams at some point. Unless they are some older than Master Yoda of a codger, they more than likely to have passed one of NCARB's exams be it the ARE or its direct precursors before the name was called ARE.

 · 
rcz1001

Another reference from NCARB: 

https://gofile.io/d/VHvXz0

It's a PDF: The History of NCARB    - dated 2004

 · 
rcz1001

Josh Mings - ∞

 · 
rcz1001

If you don't want to read my posts, then use the ignore function. Why do you think the ignore function is there?

 · 

It's there to ignore you until you get banned again. How many times has Balkins been kicked off this site?

1  · 
rcz1001

What does this have to do with the topic of the thread or even the post by Janette?

 · 

You've been banned, several times. I think that is relevant to any thread you post in.

2  · 
rcz1001

Chad (and Josh) - You are not a moderator or the admin of this forum. They have my email so they can contact me if they have an issue. This topic is about NCARB and unless you are going to post comments topically related to Janette's comment or the original post topic discussion then do what is proper forum behavior and don't post replies/comments to the discussion. FYI: the forum moderators and admin/site owner already knows I'm here.

So, how exactly does this pertain to NCARB? How does this pertain to NCARB 'killing' architecture? How does this pertain to Janette's post? My replies above before responding to you and Josh is related to the topic. Now it's time to put you on ignore.

 · 
SneakyPete

I think we should have a feature installed that hides Balkins posts with a warning about questionable information, similar to Twitter.

 · 

Or the admins could just kick out the latest version of Balkins.

 · 
SneakyPete

There seems to be a reluctance.

 · 
square.

when you think you're contributing something useful.. the key word is credibility, and you ain't got it.

 · 
Janette

Haha yeah I don't think anything on this site is worth arguing over.  People actually get kicked off the site?!?

As far as residential structures, if you simply design according to the codes there isn't much that can go wrong - it's pretty straight-forward.  Of course, there are conditions that require some brainstorming and creative thinking, especially with the higher-end homes, but it's not rocket science or brain surgery (engineering or medicine lol).  

NCARB is why I chose not to get licensed because, 1) the return on time and money invested just isn't there (my research showed that, for example, a career in codes or planning can be much more lucrative than architectural practice and no license is necessary), and 2) NCARB refuses to release data that would answer my questions about the future of working in architecture, probably because the data is not favorable.  Instead of going to the dentist or doctor, when is that last time you heard somebody say, "Honey, I need to go to the architect this week..." or instead of a business consulting legal, "...John/Jane, that's a great idea, but we should consult architecture before moving forward..."  Nobody even likes architects except for other architects lol.

Occasionally I work with a retired architect (he's in his 70's).  He has no architecture degree, never took an NCARB exam (he took the exam before NCARB replaced state exams).  He tells me that back in the day, architects used to "get their hands dirty" but now it's all about art and sculpture and pretty ideas and words.  I agree with him.  I hated architecture school just for those reasons: there was no practicality/reality in architecture school.  It was such a joke - all about pretty pictures and buildings that would never stand up in reality, much less get built.

This site is sort-of addicting!  I suppose I will leave with this: for me personally, I don't understand why architects think architects and architecture is so special... it's just a job and it doesn't even pay all that well.  If you're an artist go be an artist but spare me all the "Well then you don't have passion..." or "...it's an art form..."  Puh-lease!  But seriously, can anybody explain why architects feel the need to inflate architecture into some philosophical and academic "thing" when it is just providing instructions on how to put something together?

Sep 8, 20 6:33 pm  · 
1  · 
x-jla

Agree and disagree. It’s like being a chef, some freeze a pea in liquid nitrogen, put it on a lamb testicle, and sell it for 200$ a plate...others cook food that most people want to eat, and call it a day. There is a place for everything, and it’s stupid that ncarb makes someone who designs houses jump through the same hoops as someone who designs skyscrapers.

1  · 

So you chose not to become licensed because NCARB made it too difficult?

 · 
archanonymous

Just providing instructions on how to put something together... and vision of what that something is. Oh and please translate the current modes of production, economic efficiencies, and cultural zeitgeist into something both beautiful and build-able. Oh, also make sure the thing you design is safe and no one dies in a fire. Oh yeah, almost forgot, can you make it accessible to the differently-abled? Remember also we have a maximum budget. And it can't just be all these things, it has to comply with the adopted legislation (sometimes thousands of pages long) codifying these things.


It's no wonder you didn't become an architect...


 · 
DTL.DWG

I often wonder who makes all these one hit wonders that get the regular's all worked up here at archinect.

 · 
rcz1001

x-jla, 

NCARB doesn't make anyone who designs houses jump through the same hoops as someone who designs skyscrapers. They make a person jump through the hoops to be licensed to use the title architect and to practice architecture sealing/stamping drawings for any and ALL types of buildings and sizes.... hence UNLIMITED practice of architecture. 

If you design houses, you don't need to pursue architectural licensing in nearly all the states in the U.S.

 · 

True - but it doesn't mean you shouldn't. Now go get banned again .

 · 
rcz1001

Sure you can but that's not the point Chad (yeah, I removed you from the ignore for the time being). The point is if all you are interested in doing is designing houses, pursuing an architect license is pointless. If you are interested in doing work that does require an architect license even if some of your work is houses, then get a license. It is the shit that requires a license that's going to pay you well enough for the ROI because it is stuff like school buildings, hotels, healthcare, etc. that pays architects the big bucks. It's what going to pay your student loans off, and pay you more than the money you paid to NCARB to get license and keep your NCARB record active and NCARB Certification. 

Small residential projects, the typical stuff is going to treat you like a Chinese sweat shop making you work 80-100 hours a week for peanuts and nickels when the economy is really sh-t like it was 10+ years ago. Right now, it isn't great for stuff that a contractor doesn't do themselves. With residential projects, you are competing with contractors providing the "same" (from the perspective of the client) services you are offering "on paper" but they also build the damn thing which you don't. 

If you want to get licensed as an architect, it should be because you want to do more than designing houses. You want to design schools, hospitals, hotels, banks, offices, multi-unit apartment complexes, etc. You want a diverse practice. 

It's like you don't go through the work of getting a degree and education in being a software engineer or Enterpise IT infrastructure engineering education from MIT or Harvard just to be the local computer repair shop tech. It's overkill. That's my point. 

 · 

Blah, blah, blah. I'm not reading that. You've been banned multiple times for sexist and racist posts. Take the hint and leave. You're not welcome here.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

Designing a home without a license, more often than not, though legal, results in bad design because of I adequAte or non-existent architectural design training.

Sep 9, 20 12:24 pm  · 
 · 
BulgarBlogger

it I guess you get what you pay for...

Sep 9, 20 12:25 pm  · 
 · 
Janette

Well, Bulgar and RCZ, you are both incorrect: I make more money than most senior registered architects in TX and my business is built entirely on referrals that span multiple states. Unless you're talking about massive multifamily residential, an architect isn't necessary.  I see why this might upset you because it's work that you won't get (for the same work, I can charge lower fees which further expands my client base).  But most of an architects work is commercial, most commercial is crap, and much commercial doesn't need an architect (an engineer can substitute for an architect).  And buildings are so complex now that consultants do all the technical work because the architect does not have the necessary level of technical expertise.  

Also, technology and building codes are going in the direction of standardization.  ADU's are in the codes now, factory built and modular housing is becoming more mainstream.  A mid-rise residential tower was recently built in Dallas and it was entirely factory built/modular.  Not sure if an architect was involved, but since each dwelling unit was designed/constructed individually in a factory, not sure an architect was required.  Just needed an engineer to design the connection between the units and a construction manager to oversee the assembly once the units arrived to the site.  This technology is already becoming part of large commercial projects, too.

And to some of the nasty posts...no need to be nasty or make this personal - these are just opinions and observations.  I chose not to become licensed and I think there should be more of a discussion why people choose this and why people leave practice.  On the third year of my B. Arch, I realized architecture school was BS but I was going to finish what I started.  After finishing my B. Arch, I was recruited by an international firm where I completed my IDP.  I saw the long hours and grueling work that the registered architects put in, they made an architect salary, and architects just don't make that much money.  The principals made a lot of money but they were very old.  I don't want to work into my 70's.  So I put the license behind me and became a "Residential Designer" and went into business for myself.  But to get back to the original post (no need to be nasty and make this personal), the "architect" is becoming irrelevant, extinct, and what I think the original poster was referring to is that the NCRAP/NAAB/AIA complex is doing nothing to fix it.  Instead, they perpetuate the same archaic ideas about architectural practice which is why the architect is becoming extinct.  The original posts asks, what does an architect do that can't be done by somebody else... this is why the architect is becoming extinct because the answer it "not much..."  Someday, maybe I will need a registered architect and I will hire you, how's that?  You can design the bathrooms ;-)

Sep 9, 20 5:57 pm  · 
2  · 
x-jla

I did my contractors license instead...design-build is so much more lucrative.

1  · 
BulgarBlogger

Did you read what I wrote just above your post? In order to get a license, you need to fulfill the education requirements, and although it the following is not a rule, in most cases, education (design training) does contribute to better output. So yes- you can have a thriving business based on referrals, but who is to say your clients don’t know the difference between good and bad design? All they care about is to have a code-compliant safe house that they like. So the license is not just about having the authority to build, but also an unofficial certification in design training. I guess people get what they pay for in terms of design when they hire a contractor.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

Oh and for those folks who went to architecture school, never got licensed, and then became contractors: there is something to be said for the in-office design experience- not from the technical side- clearly you can get more hand-on experience working for a contractor- but from the design development aspect. All a contractor/builder cares about is two things: executing a design per plan that is on time and on budget. Everything else is “client preference.” I would argue that while that is also an Architect’s goal for his client, an Architect also pays close attention to the design and makes the best out of what a client wants with his design training. One need look no further than Zillow in places like Texas where builders just replicate “model homes” with little regard for spatial organization, Elevational composition, proportions, and even style. That is my biggest beef with unlicensed folks doing residential work: they simply aren’t trained to design. And let’s face it: very few u licensed folks are Frank Lloyd Wrights.

 · 
rcz1001

Ok.... Texas.... right?

 · 
rcz1001

Statutes of Texas - exemption from practice of architecture

Sec. 1051.606.  ACTIVITIES OF CERTAIN PERSONS NOT REPRESENTED TO BE ARCHITECTS.  (a)  This chapter does not apply to a person who does not represent that the person is an architect or architectural designer, or use another business or professional title that uses a form of the word "architect," and who:

(1)  engages in or is employed in the practice of architecture solely as an officer or employee of the United States;

(2)  is a legally qualified architect residing in another state or country who:

(A)  does not open or maintain an office in this state;  and

(B)  complies with the requirements of Subsection (b);

(3)  prepares architectural plans and specifications for or observes or supervises the alteration of a building, unless the alteration involves a substantial structural or exitway change to the building;  or

(4)  prepares the architectural plans and specifications for or observes or supervises the construction, enlargement, or alteration of a privately owned building that is:

(A)  a building used primarily for:

(i)  farm, ranch, or agricultural purposes;  or

(ii)  storage of raw agricultural commodities;

(B)  a single-family or dual-family dwelling or a building or appurtenance associated with the dwelling;

(C)  a multifamily dwelling not exceeding a height of two stories and not exceeding 16 units per building;  

(D)  a commercial building that does not exceed a height of two stories or a square footage of 20,000 square feet;  or

(E)  a warehouse that has limited public access.

(b)  A person described by Subsection (a)(2) who agrees to perform or represents that the person is able to perform a professional service involved in the practice of architecture may perform an architectural service in this state only if, in performing the service, the person:

(1)  employs an architect who is a resident of this state as a consultant;  or

(2)  acts as a consultant of an architect in this state.

 · 
rcz1001

In most states, you can ONLY design houses and farm buildings any maybe multi-family dwellings up to 4 units but the numbers varies from state to state. In some states, there are other limiting factors like type of construction, number of stories or height limit in feet.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

You are missing the education piece dude....

 · 
rcz1001

Texas is one of only a relatively few states experiencing massive population growth due in part of that State which doesn't even have enforced building codes out in the county lands far from the cities.

 · 
x-jla

“guess people get what they pay for in terms of design when they hire a contractor.” I have an m-arch and I’m a very good designer. I also know how to build things. You jelly?

 · 
BulgarBlogger

No, because if your work is a McMansion, your comment about being a “good designer” cancels itself out.

 · 
rcz1001

Let me get this straight.... Janette..... you have your B.Arch. You completed your IDP (now called AXP). Now.... you're complaining about spending $2,000 to $3500 or so to take the exams, pass them (I took into account a little bit more for retaking exam divisions), and the maybe $250-350 or so in fees to the licensing board and maybe an NCARB transmittal fee. You're looking at less than $5,000 (if you study and test well with the ARE). What the f--- is your problem with finishing up the licensing considering you are at this point?

 · 
rcz1001

BB, I wasn't responding to you. I was responding to Janette just so you know. I haven't read what you wrote to comment on... yet.

1  · 
x-jla

“All a contractor/builder cares about is two things: executing a design per plan that is on time and on budget.” Tell that to my stone fabricator lolololol.

 · 
x-jla

“No, because if your work is a McMansion, your comment about being a “good designer” cancels itself out.“ - what makes you think I do McMansions? I don’t even do houses, I do landscapes...and my ceilings are always nicer than yours.

1  · 
BulgarBlogger

I don’t know tour jurisdiction, but with my residential projects in manhattan (median budget $8 million- that ain’t ever an issue.

 · 
rcz1001

Lets start with this basic principle of logical fallacy.... "All". Unless you can validate it with facts, be careful about using such terms.

 · 
x-jla

BB, you missed my joke...my ceilings are the sky...get it. Never mind

 · 
BulgarBlogger

@x-jla look at the comments I wrote. Thought you were responding to them.

 · 
rcz1001

BB, the last I checked, they don't really test on the ARE, a person on their designing. Questions they ask has to be legally defensible with credible sources and are objective in nature not subjective to "taste". They aren't asking questions about what flavor of ice cream is best.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

You totally missed the point.

 · 
rcz1001

perhaps... 

but FYI: not all states require an architecture degree for initial licensing so I am not so sure that a license is "an unofficial certification in design training". 

 · 
BulgarBlogger

True- and that is why I disagree with those states’ practice requirements...

 · 
rcz1001

What does aesthetics or 'beauty' have to do with health, safety, and welfare (primary reason for architectural licensing)? 

Here's an opportunity for you to share your thoughts on this?


 · 
BulgarBlogger

Health Safety and Welfare do not have to do with beauty. All I am saying is that as part of an Architect’s training in those aspects, architectural education provides a solid foundation for design considerations, something non-trained persons like contractors and builders often do not have. So when you hire an Architect (yes licensed), you are not just hiring his ability to protect the HSW of the public, but also his design training.

 · 
x-jla

“his ability” “his design training”...very sexist

 · 
x-jla

In a time where half of academia is female, at least take a second to write “he/her”. As a professional you can do better to lift up our sisters.

1  · 
natematt

"A mid-rise residential tower was recently built in Dallas and it was entirely factory built/modular. Not sure if an architect was involved, but since each dwelling unit was designed/constructed individually in a factory, not sure an architect was required."

 · 
natematt

I presume by "was built" this implies you were not involved.

My office has worked on several modular projects recently, and it has required every bit as much attention from the architect. It's just a construction type, it still needs design and coordination from someone, IE an architect. Sure, the architect could be inside the manufacturer or contractor team, but people are still there doing architecture. (it's probably a distinct separate firm though) 

 · 
BulgarBlogger

according to Vitruvius, architecture needs to be three things: structurally sound, functional, and beautiful. Without the beautiful (a function of design training), you are not producing architecture. So we can’t even argue about this...

Sep 9, 20 7:15 pm  · 
1  · 
rcz1001

Architecture predates Vitruvius and beauty is subjective. You know that saying..... "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". We're just talking about 'schools of thought' or in this case 'schools' of 'artistic values'. For some, Brutalist is butt fucking ugly. To others, it is beautiful. This is why the general public in America doesn't give a fuck because of all the pseudo-science of art and all that sort of bullshit because there is no right or wrong answer to art. The art of architecture is still art and there is no right or wrong in any art. It's expression... It's impression.... It's whatever the f--- you want it to be. Architectonics is where we get into science where there is a right answer and a wrong answer. Right answer, the building stands strong. The wrong answer, the building collapses. You get the idea. I'm not against the values of Vitruvius or the values of beauty but it's not scientific law like "Newton's laws.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

Yes- beauty is subjective, but there are compositional rules, not to mention that when you marry compositional rules with other architectural design logic (spatial organization, orientation, materials, history, context, etc), there are better solutions than others. The “better” waxes as your scholastic achievement as a student increases. This is why In Music (and art) there are timeless composers/pieces, that are held in high regard by society and contribute to “cultural capital”. And I swear to god- if you start defining good vs bad based on the race of the “judges” or “sponsors,” I won’t engage further. Mozart’s is not considered exception because the sponsor of his work was the “white aristocracy” of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

 · 
rcz1001

compositional "rules" are theories or guides not law. It's all values like "what is good" and "what is bad". It's because someone with fame said this and that.... it became an edict that is taught as if it is ordained by the Holy of Holies and if you diverge then you committed the gravest of sins.

 · 
rcz1001

These composers and artists are timeless because of the schools. It's basically a quasi-"religion". How timeless is it, really? What about 1 trillion years from now? Will we be talking about these people?

No, I'm not even going to talk about the good vs. bad based on race of 'jurors' or 'sponsors'. Neither of us are interested in that type of conversation. 

No, I'm not against Mozart or these famous music and visual artists. I'm not judging them in this discussion just as I am not judging the merits of FLW. Not the point that I'm making or who the 'judges' or 'sponsors' are. It might matter if that is the discussion.


 · 
BulgarBlogger

Couldn’t disagree with you more. Mozart’s music is good because it embodies and technical perfection and exacerbates stylistic creativity within the bounds of its genre. I can not compare classical music to jazz music, but within the realm of classical music, Mozart’s music is timeless because it what I said above and because (no pun intended), it has survived the test of time... so in a trillion years from now (if society still exists), I think people would still know who Mozart is. Unfortunately, I think the ghettoficafion of culture, is unfortunately
eroding at this...

 · 
rcz1001

I do believe culture of people and their values does effect what they value is 'good' or 'bad'.

 · 
SneakyPete

Richard, splattering paint doesn't make you an artist, and an artist splattering paint understands infinitely more about the medium than some asshole who says they can do it, too, it's no big deal.

 · 
x-jla

RB, all artistic creations are negentropic. There is an organizational structure that is not subjective. You can extract meaning from that structure subjectively, but even without an observer, its structure exists.

1  · 
BulgarBlogger

Are you guys responding to Richard Balkins because I don’t see his comments...

 · 
rcz1001

SneakyPete, yet people call you one and you happen to be discovered by someone influential in the "art community" then you might get famous. Plenty of inflated ego hogwash and b.s. happens all the time.

 · 
rcz1001

BB, it depends on the society. We are just a derivative culture from the European culture that birthed us and our values. Mozart is perhaps a good one in my opinion as yours but we can't know what a culture that may exist that doesn't even remember our existence like we know next to nothing of cultures 15,000 to 25,000 years ago.

 · 
Non Sequitur

Ricky, culture is an invention of the CIA from the early 50s.

 · 
rcz1001

wrong. CIA didn't invent it. 

"Cultura Animi"


 · 
rcz1001

I'm not saying CIA hasn't had a role or the British Marxists in the 1950s in their role of cultural studies in academia but it arose over time through many developments of the 'study' of societies and their cultures, the values, etc.

Cultural geography as a study has its roots as far back as Ptolemy et al era if not earlier especially in the domain of sociology.


 · 
Non Sequitur

Ricky, are you sure you're not the product of a 50s CIA experiment?

2  · 
rcz1001

Thanks for the laughs but if I am a product of CIA experiments than all 7+ billion people monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by the CIA is a product of a clandestine experiment. Enjoy the tin foil hat convention.

1  · 
Janette

...my point is that one does not need a license to make a nice living designing buildings.  You might call them McMansions, I call it McMoney, setting my own McSchedule, and watching my McBankAccount McGrow.  By the way, the state of TX adopts building codes which then apply to cities and counties (not just cities).  Am I the only woman on this thread?

Buildings are art and science, but architects don't do the science because they lack the expertise.  So that leaves art.  And the budgets for most commercial buildings don't have room for artsy-fartsy crap.  In fact, most buildings are not art at all - they are just boxes that sort-of protect us from the elements.  So where does that leave architects?  

So RCZ, no need for foul language.  The reason I stopped pursuing the license, even though I finished my IDP hours, is a few things.  One: pursuing the license didn't align with my values, two: I realized that I don't need a license to make money and 3: because my time/money was better spent elsewhere (relationship, starting my own business instead of making some old fat guys rich).  Also, all the NCRAP rules, the rule changes that occurred while I was doing this... When I first started out, you couldn't start taking your exams until you completed your degree AND IDP hours.  Now you can become licensed by the time you graduate!  What does that say about a license (answer: it's not that valuable - I wouldn't hire somebody right our of school and expect them to perform duties of a registered architect).  The only reason NCRAP exists is to fund the $40,000/month salaries the execs provide to themselves.  Add to that the education that I knew didn't prepare me for actual practice (and I went to Rice but all NAAB programs are basically the same).  

Stop drinking the kool-aid while you are still young: architecture is not special, there's nothing more special about architecture than there is about septic tank cleaning.  Buildings are boxes with little tubes and wires in the walls, and they keep some elements outside.  Some boxes are big, some boxes are small.  The rest is academic fluff; just pretty words and pictures.  If, for a moment, the practice of architecture was going to be re-thought and the license would be...ummmm...not some unnecessary fossil/artifact, I would consider starting my exams again.  I would love to go into architectural research or specialize in environmental behavior, but that's not how the system is set up.   Currently, the NCRAP/NAAB/AIA system is set up so that architecture is was it was 100 years ago.  By the way, these are my opinions - no need for the foul language or getting upset.

Sep 9, 20 9:33 pm  · 
 ·  2
archanonymous

Is there not a McForum where you can take your McMoney and talk your McShit while beauty, art and culture in the mother of all arts dies over here with the real architects?

 · 
Non Sequitur

excuses are easy. sorry, excuses are Mceasy.

2  · 
Janette

If you want an echo chamber of your own opinion, a discussion forum isn't the best place to be. Do you have any critical thought/ideas to add?

 · 
rcz1001

Janette, not all counties in Texas adopts or enforces building codes. I know designers in Texas that has design houses where there is no permits, plan review, building inspections, etc. Yes, kind of scary actually unless the designer is competent. Even if on paper the state is suppose to assume responsibility to enforce in those locations, they are effectively good as non-existent. That's besides the point, though.

 · 
rcz1001

Perhaps the 'foul' language is a little unneeded but it is something that is not uncommon on this forum. No occupational license is ever needed to make money. Occupational licensing is not about that, especially for the Architect title & practice Act.

 · 
rcz1001

"The reason I stopped pursuing the license, even though I finished my IDP hours, is a few things. One: pursuing the license didn't align with my values, two: I realized that I don't need a license to make money and 3: because my time/money was better spent elsewhere (relationship, starting my own business instead of making some old fat guys rich)." 

1. Licensing didn't align with your values. Ok.... can you elaborate what you mean by that? 

2. Don't need a license to make money. Duh. What gave you the idea that you needed a license to earn an income? I don't understand that. Licensing has nothing to do with whether you earn an income or not. Licensing is not about making you money. It is about making sure you meet an established minimum level of competency to practice as an Architect in responsible charge over projects of any size and type(s) of buildings. It isn't about one type of building. It is about having competency. CPBD certification follows a similar principle except it is more focused to the scope of projects so that those people who are not licensed architects are independently certified to meet some base level of competency as it pertains to buildings and projects exempt from architectural licensure. While the laws do not establish a legal minimum level of competency to design houses, CPBD certification fills in the blank and sets a standard. 

3. your money and time is better spent elsewhere such as relationship, business, etc. You do realize that only one employee of NCARB earns $40,000 a month income. That's Michael J. Armstrong ( https://www.ncarb.org/about/management-team/michael-j-armstrong ). He's a lawyer and works for NCARB's CEO. Nothing about his job requires an architect license. He answers to NCARB's Board of Directors. He answers to the Board of Directors and they answer to the licensing boards throughout the U.S. 

NCARB was established to allow autonomy because the individual state boards could not spend time effectively to directly administer the day to day operations of a standardized national architect licensure exam. Until NCARB, the exams would have been state by state and vary without any sort of standardization especially as each state would go their own way with the exams. To enable reciprocity, it was important for there to be a standardized exam and some other standardization of education, experience, etc.

 · 
rcz1001

"Also, all the NCRAP rules, the rule changes that occurred while I was doing this... When I first started out, you couldn't start taking your exams until you completed your degree AND IDP hours. Now you can become licensed by the time you graduate! What does that say about a license (answer: it's not that valuable - I wouldn't hire somebody right our of school and expect them to perform duties of a registered architect). The only reason NCRAP exists is to fund the $40,000/month salaries the execs provide to themselves. Add to that the education that I knew didn't prepare me for actual practice (and I went to Rice but all NAAB programs are basically the same)." 

Sure you can get licensed by the time you graduate. Usually those IPAL degrees takes 6-7 years or more to complete instead of 5 years for a B.Arch because of the time you would need to spend getting the AXP (formerly called IDP) hours completed. In the old days, you wouldn't be working for an architect until you got your degree or if you are in one of the states with alternative paths to licensure, that you might be able to get to work for an architect for so many number of years in lieu of a degree and when IDP was made mandatory, you would have to also complete IDP which can count towards the total but you have to complete the IDP hours.... which is now called AXP.

 · 
rcz1001

Architectural licensing predates state-wide adopted (and enforced in every city and county of the state) building codes. Without building codes, the standard and protection of health, safety, and welfare really rests in the hands of the person designing the building and with non-exempt buildings, we're talking about the licensed architect. In Oregon, we didn't have state-wide adopted building codes until the 1960s. Architectural licensing began in 1919 in Oregon. Before the 1960s, 'building codes' were adopted under municipal ordinances and sometimes the counties and they can vary. We're aren't talking necessarily UBC. It can be any model code adopted by reference or outright codified in city or county laws. There wasn't uniformity unless cities and counties decided to work together for sake of some resemblance of commonality. Before licensing laws, we simply had to rest on the integrity of the professional by faith just like that IT tech you hire to work on your IT. You're simply trusting he or she know what he or she is doing. There's no licensing.

 · 
x-jla

Yeah, but can a kangaroo design a house in Oregon without a boxing license or does they has to be a human?

1  · 
natematt

"Buildings are art and science, but architects don't do the science because they lack the expertise"

Really? God must be nice to just get paid to draw pretty pictures of buildings that other people do all the work to actually get built indicated by the fact that you have to do no details, coordination, construction administration, and have the smallest sheet set.... oh wait. 


1  · 

Janette - you could simply post up some examples of your work and how much you make a year to show how successful and talented you are.  

Sep 10, 20 10:16 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Ha, so funny seeing so many egotistic "architects" or "architect wannabe" getting enraged by Janette. From the posts above, seems like Janette is doing those boring 2x4 vinyl houses in Texas that does not require licenses to stamp drawing. It is definitely good money, if you utilize your drawing library and do repeat build. To me, it is not architectural success, more of business success, architecture is just the medium in this case, not much different from selling cars. Hard to judge because it is all about ones value. One could be a licensed architect working in firms like KPF 60 HR/week doing skyscraper tower stair details making 65K.

 · 
Janette

6 digits, site-built homes.

 · 
Jay1122

Hey, 6 digits can be 100,000 to 999,999. There is a huge difference. 100K is not bad but meh still achievable with salary. 200k-300k, now we are talking sweet stuff.

 · 
Janette

I have done some factory-built homes; not double-wide mobile homes, for example check out Blu Homes. I want to do more of these. The level of detail and accuracy one can achieve with factory-built versus site-built is incredible. My hubby and I live in a factory-built and nobody can even tell.  Anyways, I think I am done here...  there isn't much "discussion" on this forum, it's seems like it's about a bunch of guys saying the same thing over and over to inflate their ego...  licensed folks have a lot of power - change the system!  Call out your state boards and NCRAP.  

 · 

Janette - seriously, post up some of your work and how much you make - it will shut up the haters. I know you said six figures but as Jay said - that's a huge range. Also how many hours a year do you work?

1  · 
Jay1122

Pre-fab house and site built are the same thing. Factory has more control offering higher consistency and quality. The cost is the same though, that is why prefab never took off in the market. Low end residential house is not really a market for architect.It is the same blue print used repeatedly for mass produced product. Only 2% residential project involves architect, mostly high end custom stuff. If one architect touches those vinyl house, the person definitely failed the business in public, have to retreat to the cheap markets. Public work like education is way more lucrative in terms of smash and grab projects.1st firm i worked out of school loves those low end smash and grab projects, often does not want to actively pursue large projects. Did a Roof replacement job in two weeks from survey to CD set out to bid. I think the fee was around 20K for that. 2 Weeks of intern survey & drafting with few hours supervisor review for $20K. Of course often time we troll around and drag the time longer. Imagine you work 2 weeks and get paid 20K, man that is awesome, of course there are some overheads, but how much can that be. Now remember, you need license to sign and seal those drawings for public jobs. That is why i am trying to get it, studying for test now. Oh sht, have i let the secrets out.

1  · 
rcz1001

"Hey, 6 digits can be 100,000 to 999,999. There is a huge difference. 100K is not bad but meh still achievable with salary. 200k-300k, now we are talking sweet stuff." Or it could be 1000.00 to 9999.99 per year. Still 6 digits. 4 digits left of decimal point and 2 digits right of it.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

is rcz1001 Richard Balkins?

Sep 10, 20 10:30 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

have you been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks?

 · 
BulgarBlogger

I suppose. What happened? Be rebranded?

 · 
BulgarBlogger

He*

 · 

I prefer 'be rebranded'. :)

 · 
x-jla

Metamorphosis

 · 
SpontaneousCombustion

He got banned a month or two ago for repeated racist and misogynistic posts (not the first time - his original account was banned years ago for pasting a pages-long homophobic rant into Thread Central). In the last several weeks he started up another few names, each of which repeated the same behavior and was eventually banned. So far this one has been removed from certain threads, but not from the site yet.

 · 

There should just be a 'report Balkins' button.

3  · 
rcz1001

Just brand me with an embossed architect stamp (has to have an embossed relief, you know) so I can sit on the ink pad and then sit on the plans and affix that stamp mark. Second thought, never mind.

 ·  1
SneakyPete

"has to have an embossed relief, you know" 

No, it doesn't.

1  · 
rcz1001

Sponty, how is a post against the anti-hetereosexuality comments by several forum regulars and their demands for heterosexual males to change their sexual orientation.... homophobic. Sorry, but I'm not against homosexuals being homosexuals. I am against oppressive dictatorial demands when the whole friggin' point was to live peaceably together and leave each other alone. It is the damn vibe that if you aren't wholeheartedly giving up masculinity as a male which does require change of sexual orientation because feminism is about being female and the way of being a female person. This relates to both biological and psycho-cultural aspects which masculinity does entail. I don't mind the idea of "meeting in the middle" by connecting to both masculinity and femininity by both males and females together. That's not what was being suggested on Thread Central. The same thing with a lot of other discussions with absolute one-sidedness and absolute condemnation of anything from the other side. It's extremism and no peaceful and civil dialogue happens when extremists on both sides are talking in the room. I point out the logical extremes sometimes too vividly by taking their extremist views even further to the extreme to make it clear where the extremists are going on their respective trajectory. If you want to talk about "meeting in the middle" than do so but no one wins in wars. It is like thermonuclear war. What did WOPR conclude? (Movie reference: War Games) Spoiler Alert: The conclusion is the only winning move is not playing the game. I look for equality not reversing the status quo and reversing the authorities with power. I'm not looking to reverse the authority of power like replacing white oppressing black with black oppressing white. I'm looking for white and black living equally with equal opportunities but each person is responsible for their own individual life. I'm not looking to replace male dominance with female dominance in firms. I'm looking for equality of male and female in leadership of firms. I'm looking at equal pay for all for the same scope of duties of a particular role where role and pay is gender-neutral and racially 'blind' because race and gender should have absolutely nothing to do with what the role is and what to pay. It should not even be a discussion at all. Inversing biases doesn't establish equality. It just inequality. If you are serious about equality then I am with you on that. Plain and simple as that.

 · 
BulgarBlogger

I happen to agree with Balkins. Architect ought to be ashamed of themselves if that is why they banned you.

1  · 

It's not.

 · 
rcz1001

I agree my points may have been lost in the communication at the time and I hope it is clearer about where I stand. I do apologize if my view is misunderstood and did not convey what I feel well enough so I hope I'm clear about it now. If I misunderstood what some were saying in the discussion in those discussions as we got all 'heated' up over then I sincerely apologize. We may sometimes say things in rash due to emotions that are not what we meant or truly feel and sometimes omissions happen that compounds it. I'm not going to say I don't have any sort of bias and we all do. Our lives by laws of nature and the meta laws of life itself that forms biases. My long-form writing style can be hard to process quickly and understand what I am getting at and that can result in misunderstandings.

 · 
rcz1001

Chad, 

Paul can speak for himself. Like SneakyPete said, if one want to be treated like an adult then act like it. A lot of forum users (including myself) acts (or acted) like adolescent children. Telling someone that they are not welcomed in the house. That is fine if you own the house. You don't own this house so you telling me that is inappropriate and childish. 

The admin already knows I'm here for weeks and so far he hasn't decided to kick me out again. Therefore, he's tolerating my presence otherwise this account would have been banned already. I'm here currently by grace. Don't speak for the site admin, please. If anyone wants to be treated like an adult, they have to act like adults. The road goes both ways. Not just me.

 · 
rcz1001

BB, thank you for your thoughts. There are plenty of things I am and should be ashamed of in my conduct on the forum. However, it isn't all my own fault (I own my own mistakes) because others should exercise their own self-control as well.

 · 
SpontaneousCombustion

Rick is apparently talking about some completely different discussion/incident than the one I am thinking of. The first time that Rick was banned, several years ago, it was because he cut and paste from Reddit an extremely long and extremely blatant homophobic attack in Thread Central. Doing so was not in response to any discussion having anything whatsoever to do with the topic of homosexuality - he did it solely in response to somebody criticizing one of his previous "walls of text."  His response was to post a much, much longer wall of text written by somebody else, to demonstrate that his own post wasn't all that long by comparison. Besides the general annoyance of the longness and complete off-topic-ness of that post, its content was truly disgusting and fully deserving of the resultant banning.

 · 
rcz1001

I didn't post it because I support the views of that but that it was an overly long wall of text. In hindsight, I agree it was inappropriate to use that as some sort of "f--- you" to the whiner of the post length. 


 · 
rcz1001

Generally, the post could have simply been removed without banning the person. Should I have posted that? No. It was immature. I don't subscribe to such views. I don't recall how I arrived at that Reddit but it must have somehow come up in a search query for something but it was something very long and I didn't take any thought of the content itself other than it was long. 

Wrong? Yes. It doesn't necessarily require a banning of a poster. It just requires a stern message to not copy & paste that kind of content on the forum. It was probably clear to anyone I wasn't taking any thought on the content just the length. 

A moderator could have responded that way by understanding the context of the situation and apply the least extreme discipline, first. Removing the post and leaving a stern message about it. I agree that I was inconsiderate when posting that. It was inappropriate and it was rightfully removed from the forum to the best of my knowledge. 

If I had the ability to delete my own posts on the forum, I would have removed it myself. Best course of action would have not posted such in the first place. We're talking should of did this or that type of discussion but we can't roll back the clock. No sense in worrying about those "should have" actions but focus on what I should do for present and future conduct.

 · 
SneakyPete

"anti-hetereosexuality comments by several forum regulars and their demands for heterosexual males to change their sexual orientation"

Utter fantasy. Never happened. You have, however, made comments that are either outright racist or outright homophobic or are posted due to such ignorance as to make no difference. I would post links but they have been purged. You want to be treated like an adult, learn to act like one and don't resort to slurs.

Sep 10, 20 4:25 pm  · 
1  · 
rcz1001

SneakyPete, fair enough. Lets all try to do so if that is okay. I'm not going to spend more time to argue over this.

 · 
DTL.DWG

rick's actually a genius. spams anything with regard to the profession right into oblivion. 


Sep 11, 20 9:19 pm  · 
1  · 

Block this user


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

  • ×Search in: