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Yet another youngen deciding between engineering and architecture!

froggy

Hello! A 20 year old student in the UK here in dire need of your knowledge and wisdom.

As the title suggests I'm trying to choose between structural engineering and architecture. I've just started engineering at university and I'm not really interested in any of it. I don't mind the maths but I'm finding it hard to engage with the other modules.

I've always loved buildings and structures. My favorite part about traveling is seeing the buildings and different styles. Even though I like the technical side of buildings, how people use buildings really interests me. When I was at school I did work experience at Arup, I was given a little made up task to design a building with limited land use. I really enjoyed that experience, I know the job isn't just fun design. Pursuing architecture feels right. I never applied for architecture because I thought you had to be an amazing artist, I've recently discovered that you don't.But I'm trying to be sensible, lord knows what's going to happen with the economy. Engineering seems like a safer option. With structural I'll still be able to work on buildings so I probably won't mind it. Also it takes a good 7 years to become an architect in the UK, sadly there are no arch conversion courses; you have to do an arch bachelors to do a MArch.

I'm just worried about regretting things. If I do engineering I might (chances are 60%-70%) regret not doing architecture. And if I do architecture I'll regret it if I struggle to get a job. Sorry for rambling.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a lovely day :)

 
Oct 16, 20 7:16 pm
code

I would do an SE undrgrad, then M.arch I worked at a NZ based structural firm for a year, before going back into architecture. I would do SE

Oct 16, 20 7:38 pm  · 
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froggy

I've heard people do that in other countries. Sadly in the UK you can pretty much only do a MArch if you've done your undergrad in architecture.

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SneakyPete

Structural engineers don't generally lead the design. Arup is a great company. These are my two thoughts.

Oct 16, 20 7:58 pm  · 
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froggy

Thank you for your thoughts

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midlander

your assumptions and expectations seem completely reasonable. if you've been smart enough to do ok studying engineering and generally enjoy the design work you've tried you won't actually have any trouble in architecture - other than the usual low starting salaries.


in fact you sound like someone with the potential to be a strong project architect or manager, which is very valuable. Everything you write is consistent with being well suited to architecture - give it a try. The key is that you understand what the work involves and want to do that!

Oct 16, 20 8:41 pm  · 
1  · 
midlander

fwiw engineers get laid off or stuck in dead end jobs too - and some architects find a place they like and make a career of it. no point pursuing something where the best possible result is a long career doing something you dislike.

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froggy

That's true, my dad's in engineering and has been in not so nice situations. The starting salaries where I live don't seem too bad. Thank you for replying it's been really helpful. I'll be applying for arch courses soon!

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midlander

arch salaries do catch up once you get into mid level positions. entry level arch grads are simply less productive than starting engineers and take a few years of experience to have enough insight into design to manage themselves a bit

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midlander

my dad and grandfather were both engineers, so i had no illusions of glamour about what that work involved ;)

 · 
Non Sequitur

60-70% is too sloppy of an estimate for an engineer and way too precise of a guess for an architect.


Oct 16, 20 8:58 pm  · 
2  · 
midlander

what is the formula for quantifying expectations of potential regret? i forgot that one.

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Non Sequitur

42.

 · 
Almosthip

46 & 2

1  · 
froggy

Well I guess i'm fucked then :))

2  · 
robhaw

OP, if you have an interest in both fields I believe there are courses which allow you to combine architecture and structural qualifications. I think that Sheffield and Bath have such programmes. Which university are you currently attending?


Apart from UK schools though there are very good technical universities in Europe that offer bachelors in building engineering and joint MSc in Architecture & Structural Design at postgraduate level. In particular, Germany and the Netherlands have a tradition in more technical architecture courses that teach structural design beyond the basics explored at UK architecture courses. Beware that UK architecture schools are in their majority more design oriented and generally offer BA or BSc. Schools like Bath, Cardiff, Nottingham offer BSc but still are nowhere as technical as some European universities.

Oct 17, 20 5:41 pm  · 
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froggy

I've been looking at Bath and Sheffield. I think the only the Sheffield engineering and arch course is accredited by RIBA. I'll definitely look into German/Dutch unis. Do you know if European degrees are accredited in the UK? Or would you have to sit the RIBA exams?

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froggy

thank you for replying

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Wood Guy

I can share my experience, because I was torn as well. Actually I just wanted to build houses but had to go to college. I earned a BS in structural engineering (just a few classes shy of a fully accredited Civil Engineering degree) and got a minor in architectural studies, which was mostly art history and a few studio classes, just a few classes shy of a full art history degree. My classmates went on to grad school for either engineering or architecture, I went on to build houses. 25 years after graduating, I can safely say that I should have pursued architecture. While it's helpful to understand engineering principles, if you love architecture, you won't be happy as an engineer. You might be in a good position to focus on the more technical aspects of architecture, which is a lot of what I do now, where there is plenty of opportunity. 

Oct 17, 20 5:58 pm  · 
1  · 
froggy

Thank you for sharing your experience, I really appreciate it.

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