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Red-pill me on architecture - I'm considering a career change in my late 20s

calamari_gringo

Hi all,

I've been considering a career change into architecture lately. It's what I wanted to do as a kid but was dissuaded from pursuing it, and eventually I changed my mind.

I'm now in my late 20s and work in tech as a data engineer. It's a safe career because there's a lot of demand for my skills, but I don't find the work super interesting, and I'm realizing just how much of my life I'll spend working. It's depressing to think I might one day look back on my career and not to have accomplished anything particularly interesting.

I'm considering applying for Notre Dame's architecture program, which is unusual because it focuses on classical design. However, I also know that architecture is a grind and that it's easy to romanticize about what the field is really like, especially because most buildings today are not built in the classical style. Am I delusional for considering leaving my "cushy" career for this?

Also, assuming it's not delusional, how much do I realistically need to have saved up to not bury myself in debt? The program is about 50k a year for the full sticker. (And yes I know it's not a guarantee that I'd get in.) Thank you for your advice.

 
Dec 4, 22 4:33 pm
Non Sequitur

zero debt is an acceptable amount. 50k/year is asinine for a general arts degree. 


Educate yourself on the path and general work day of an architect before making further commitments. 

Dec 4, 22 6:36 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

Thank you for your honesty

Dec 4, 22 9:20 pm  · 
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As a data engineer, he might make up to 3x that a year. So he can pay each year's study over 2 or three years at that level. However, if he wants to become an architect, he's going to have to give up that coushiony salary that is on par with the pay many principals and senior architect at firms would be making for a meager $30k to $45k salary in many parts of the country as starting pay.

HINT: Did you save up the roughly $50k to $60k a year for the duration of the degree curriculum over the past X number of years you been working in data engineering. I'd hope you had saved up more than half the amount to keep your student loan debt down to a minimum.

Dec 4, 22 10:19 pm  · 
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oh, yeah, only maybe 5-8 (assuming partial overlap for related entry level jobs while in school) years considering you probably had to get a b.s. degree in computer science/data engineering to get jobs in data engineering in the first place.

Dec 4, 22 10:26 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

Well I've only been in the field for a few years so I'm not quite at that level.. so while saving up would be doable it would take some time.

Dec 4, 22 11:12 pm  · 
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Which also means you will have to be somewhat forward-thinking on how the cost of college will increase over time. It's math. You can use past few years or so and extrapolate the increase. It's a guess but it will likely be pretty close (give or take a small amount.)

Dec 5, 22 4:24 pm  · 
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monosierra

As NS says, do spend some in an architecture office first before making any major decisions. Talk to practitioners at different stages in their careers and consider the worst case scenarios too. School and professional practice could be very different, and there's a wide range of work (and satisfaction!) in the office too! Keep in mind too that architecture offices are not the only place you can work within the wider AEC industry.

As a data engineer, there are several sectors within the AEC industry that would love to have someone with your skillset - and not just architects. Fabricators, BIM consultants, subcontractors, software developers are all professionals that work with architects to create buildings and the workflows behind design and construction. Data meets classical design is something that seems ripe for academic and possibly professional exploration, especially with your background.

Dec 4, 22 7:49 pm  · 
3  · 

Response is directed to OP but kind of ties from what monosierra said... loosely.

First, what is it about architecture that you want to do as a career to make the effort worth it. What do you want to do in architecture? If it is designing houses, the $50K a year for several years is a steep price for a career that may be somewhat limited in earning per hours of labor and effort considering the bulk of clients are tight budget projects and all and that you are viewed as a begrudging annoyance and cost item to get a permit by far too many clients. If it is to be a broader range of architecture & bigger projects then maybe it might not be too bad but you are going to have a tough go because where you may have seen big rapid increase in pay per year of experience from $35k to $100k in 5-10 years, it will take 2 to 3 times longer in most architectural employment settings. 

Yes, you are going to likely be paid at the minimum entry-level pay as an entry-level architectural intern and the increases are relatively small. However, a firm may pay you more for your data engineering but they are most likely not going to hire you to be doing the architectural design. Generally, computer tech guys at a firm isn't hired to design buildings. They will likely hire you for one or the other and pay you according to your qualification in each. You are more qualified for higher pay in data engineering and related position but near zip in architecture. Exceptions may exist but that would be rather a big exception to the norm.

Dec 4, 22 10:41 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

Could you explain more about what the tech guys do at an architecture firm? I'm not really familiar with those roles, or even what they might be called.

Dec 4, 22 11:11 pm  · 
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It varies from firm to firm. Sometimes, it's minimal like website services. In other cases, you are looking at network infrastructure and computer services not all that different than you might find at a small educational institution. I am referring to is not BIM itself but some BIM managers and such might have certain overlap. It's not even necessarily highly published who that IT/computer tech person may be. How each firm is setup varies so that's a big caveat. Sometimes, they are an indepedent consultant and not actually employed by the firm. This would be more true for smaller architectural firms who don't have a regular employed tech guy but they may have IT consultants they contract with.

Dec 5, 22 5:00 am  · 
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As an independent consultant, you are offering and providing an array of services as a consultant. This could include data engineering but it can frequently be any number of related services. You also would not be exclusive to one singular client. Best way to know what services are needed in inquiring from more than one person on this forum. 

Dec 5, 22 5:02 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

great... just what we need. More BIM monkeys who don't have a fucking clue how buildings go together. What could go wrong with that?

Dec 5, 22 9:10 am  · 
1  · 

I'm not suggesting that BIM monkeys who know nothing about how buildings go together should be in that role. However, there are roles pertaining to setting up & maintaining the IT infrastructure for a BIM infrastructure since what BIM does differently from CAD beside the 3 dimensions of geometric data is the data/information data. Managing the IT and data systems infrastructure is not the same as designing the building and the model. It is where the intersection between an ARCHITECT and an IT/DATA SYSTEMS engineer building and maintaining the systems enabling the architects to do their work. In every essence, data engineers are largely a "support role" for the enterprise be it the architecture firm, to any other type of business where the work involves data. Sometimes, this would be a consultant to the firm having little bearing on the architectural projects in themselves. Some architects have some prowess with IT/data but that depends on the individual. Smaller systems are more easily done in-house in part by some IT savvy architect or architectural staff member where their tech savviness extends beyond just knowing how to use BIM software and tools explicitly used for designing architectural projects with an occassional outside consultant for setting up the IT infrastructure or rebuilding the IT infrastructure and other such things that may be more involved than using the in-house staff. I agree with you that things can go all to hell if the BIM monkeys (as you say) don't have a clue how buildings go together. Likewise, just because you are a BIM monkey who knows how buildings go together, does not mean you know how to setup the IT and data infrastructure needed, for efficiency. You may or may not as an individual.

Dec 5, 22 4:21 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

How would you recommend getting enough training to not be a "monkey" in this role? I assume you wouldn't need to become a licensed architect for that..

Dec 5, 22 4:48 pm  · 
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Lets be clear, if a person doesn't want to be the "monkey" in this role.... leadership and management skill. Most leadership roles in architectural and A/E firms are architects and licensed engineers. Largely, it's basically the law in many states which highly restricts if not prohibit non-licensees ownership stake in firms that offers and performs services constituting practice of architecture. However, there are middle-level tiers where non-licensees may rise to such as project manager or director of computer graphics or somethings in some firms that have a department that does desktop publishing graphics, and PR stuff and related stuff for marketing. This is not super common but exists. Project managers are more common but this really does need time doing and working on projects aside from classes. For me, I became a building designer and being that it is myself, I had to do the work because no one to delegate to. I took classes in project management eventually but conceptual in the abstract, it's similar to software development sequence. However, I have had to develop knowledge of how buildings are put together as well as developing construction crafts skills. As for advice on that question, how to best get training, I'm going to let others chime in on that. It does depend on you and your career goals and understanding of the profession as you develop. It's a journey which may have twists and turns over the course.

Dec 5, 22 5:42 pm  · 
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Short, keep in mind that there are multiple ways to have careers in connection with architecture but not necessarily being an architect. Just as there is multiple ways of working in the heathcare sector without necessarily being a healthcare professional. Not everyone who works at a hospital is EMTs, nurses, and doctors/surgeons.

Dec 5, 22 5:47 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

50k per year at Notre Dame is kinda ridiculous. Yes, spend some time in an architecture practice and talk to some people before making the plunge. You are currently in a high-demand, high-growth profession with a commensurate salary to match.

Though architects are very much in demand these days, it really is not a high-growth profession, there will be lesser and lesser architects needed as the years march on (this is my opinion, though...)


Dec 4, 22 10:05 pm  · 
4  · 

I would say so. In my opinion, it's often not a good idea to leave a potentially high or decent paying career to go into another career that involves significant expense of going back to college and getting a likely much lower pay. Architecture does kind of suck as a second career for someone having started another career. If the career you are current paid horribly then yeah, architecture might be a better option and a step up. I think the OPs problem in his current role is the lack of visual creative work but there are opportunities in more closely related careers that he could pursue with MUCH less financial effort and such careers that can involve a lot of visual creativity and also can make use of his current knowledge and skills as well in places of employment that would even hire him to use those skillsets along with visually creative work if he can put together stuff. Complement his computer science & data engineering with addition of computer graphics skills, UI/UX, human input, and video game design principles and mechanics, software design/architecture/engineering, and project management konwledge & skills. Put those pieces together and he could have significant role in teams composing of individuals that are specialized to specific role, he can very possibly be in creative-technical lead roles. Some of his colleagues may be 1-trick ponies but he can have a diverse set of knowledge & skills to not be pigeon hole and data engineering is valuable in online multiplayer games for example and where the line between video game and app becomes more blurred.

Dec 5, 22 12:02 am  · 
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atelier nobody

There is no architecture degree worth going into any debt for, IMO.


I realize, of course, that mine is an extreme position - a more realistic recommendation would be to choose a school based on the least possible debt.

Dec 4, 22 11:39 pm  · 
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cloudforest888

late 20's this guy should be happy he has no debt and a good paying stable job. if he's bored he should just get a hobby using the money he earns now. he sounds lazy and going to architecture school and then making it in our profession is not for lazy people.

Dec 5, 22 2:34 am  · 
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That, from a realistic point of view, I agree with you atelier nobody. It's unrealistic to assume such degree programs would be free. It would be awesome if it were but choosing a school based on least possible debts, consider options for any further mitigation of debt through grants, scholarships, and even working. In my own case, if I pursue getting an architecture degree to get through licensure easier and NCARB certification, then by all means, I might just go with a 4-yr arch degree because the NAAB accredited degree isn't absolutely necessary but it would be less time than otherwise. My circumstance has its own idiosyncracies that pertain to me alone but in my case, under my circumstances, the 4 year curriculum shaves a 'year' of academic study. Additionally, I could conceivably shave my cost, more or less through money earned now, earned by working, and any grants and such. Then 2x AXP versus NCARB Certification Portfolio path migraine hell makes AXP more sensible and AXP = $$$ paid to me, even if it isn't the greatest. Of course, the least cost option is not bothering with architectural licensing but no one gets licensed without a cost factor. It's the "other" test of architectural licensing than the ARE + any State exams. It's the financial test. We always knew architectural licensing is about gatekeeping.

Dec 5, 22 4:06 am  · 
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cloudforest888

"It's a safe career because there's a lot of demand for my skills, but I don't find the work super interesting, and I'm realizing just how much of my life I'll spend working."

translation: i have no debt, working a boring job that pays well with excellent job security.  BUT i'm lazy and hate working.  so i figure i'll go into a new career that incurs debt and requires the same amount of effort as earning a medical degree.  

Dec 5, 22 2:32 am  · 
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I can understand aspects of data engineering can by well.... boring... for those who are seeking a more visual creative endeavors. Yet, you make a good point. A person can fulfill their visual creative desires through hobbies to balance one's life to be well... more whole. This can be done without bailing a career.

Dec 5, 22 4:28 am  · 
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calamari_gringo

I draw all the time - in fact I spend a lot of my free time practicing academic drawing, and working on illustrations for a children’s book that I wrote myself. The reason I’m considering a switch is because I’m realizing that the vast majority of my life I’ll

Dec 5, 22 8:34 am  · 
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calamari_gringo

be doing things that don’t interest me. If you think I should just suck it up and do art in my free time then fine, but that’s what I’m doing already.

Dec 5, 22 8:35 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

^Calamari (great name)... The practice of architecture is often tedious and repetitive... filled with long periods of technical details and contract administration... only punctuated by the brief but colourful arguments with contractors. You need to really love designing and detailing buildings if you want to get into this space... not just be in love with the idea of architecture as Hollywood portrays it. Not to say it's not rewarding or creative, but just take 10seconds and browse the forum for similar posts like yours. The path is unnecessarily long and expensive (USA only, suckers) and littered with the warm corpses of many disgruntled idealists.

Also worth noting that we're not equal to doctors no-mater how many here claim to be.  Our education is rigorous, but it's not even the same league as medical or law professionals.  

Dec 5, 22 9:08 am  · 
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cloudforest888

you should focus on your hobby of "academic drawing" (no clue what this means, but it's not the daily nuts and bolts job of being an architect) and working on book illustration. stick with your day job. you have no debt and make good money. where's the thanks for my honesty in pointing out you're already ahead of so many architects who complain about 1. being in debt from school. 2. making no money or barely enough money to survive. 3. the precarious nature of architecture being closely tied to the health of the overall economy. the daily practice of architecture is highly detailed and technical in nature with absolutely minimal to zero "academic drawing" or anything like book illustration. and also requires lots of coordination that you bare the most responsibility for, with a multitude of people.

Dec 5, 22 12:38 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

You can share this information without being insulting, calling me lazy when you donmt

Dec 5, 22 1:38 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

know me, and pretending like my artistic pursuits are irrelevant, even when you don’t know what it is

Dec 5, 22 1:39 pm  · 
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cloudforest888 wrote: 

“the daily practice of architecture is highly detailed and technical in nature with absolutely minimal to zero "academic drawing" or anything like book illustration. “ 

Not true. 

I’ve done a lot of sketches and renderings (hand drawn and computer) that would be considered illustrations. You have to be good at this type of drawing / illustration in order to do it in a firm.  

Dec 5, 22 1:43 pm  · 
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cloudforest888

you're not wrong, but it's not as common either. and it's misleading to let this guy think he'll get to spend the majority of his time in an office doing hand drawn illustrations.

Dec 5, 22 2:18 pm  · 
1  · 
cloudforest888

calamari_gringo - your artistic pursuits are cool. no shade there. but i hope you consider what i've shared. i'm speaking as someone who has worked for almost two decades in this industry. and your current career/job sounds fine. any job you get requires work which is boring and tedious. the grass isn't greener on the other side here. if you have a lot of free time and money, indulge your artistic pursuits, or any other thing you enjoy.

Dec 5, 22 2:20 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

Thank you for your advice

Dec 5, 22 3:02 pm  · 
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square.

i'm inclined to agree with cloudforest here.. maybe there are some people out there who get to sketch, but the majority of architects i know hardly ever pick up a pencil to do anything other than take notes. i'd hardly say tech development in the future will make things any better.

Dec 5, 22 3:22 pm  · 
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It all depends on how good you are at sketching.  If you're good at it then a firm will realistically have you do it.  This especially applies to sketching / illustrating.  I don't see tech developments making sketching obsolete.  It will just change the medium.  

Dec 5, 22 3:56 pm  · 
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What cloudforest and Chad Miller said, is true from their own perspective of architecture is. What Chad Miller said is more true given architecture is not always just like what cloudforest had initially expressed. It's actually a bit of both. Now, being an architect can frequently mean you are doing things besides drawing and designing. It's not going to be like being an animator where you spend most of the work day, animating. The role of an architect has all these other parts than drawing. As a building designer, some of my own experience is relevant (although my project types are more limited) in that, my day when working on projects for client have been well expressed in life of an architect by Bob Borson. Look it up. It's a fairly candid about the life of an architect and how it is. There's some articles there some years back that conveyed it. Lots of phone calls (or Zoom meetings these days) with client, contractors, engineering consultant. Sometimes, you just have to hire staff who might actually have more time in their work day designing at the CAD/BIM workstation than maybe the Architect. However, the architect is likely mulling over designs in their mind. Although meetings on Zoom, on the phone, site visits, etc. there is that time you aren't mentally processing iteratives of designs but at other times you will be churning away on designs in your mind, sometimes when you are sleeping. Then you have to convey those designs with staff, and make redlines, etc. The role of an architect is not just designing and making drawings. This is because if it was just that, all clients would do this themselves because it was so easy. People don't pay people to do the easy stuff they can do themselves. They pay people to do the hard things and the things they don't like or want to do themselves. There is a great massive body of knowledge needed to become an architect but unfortunately that means some stuff that is boring or drudgery for some... so yes, that stuff that many clients just don't want to do. Some may just want to do all the easy glamorous stuff because its all fame and easy stuff and hire people to do the undesired stuff.... of like who wants to unclog the plumbing.... CALL THE PLUMBER!!!!

Dec 5, 22 4:58 pm  · 
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cloudforest888 wrote:

 "you're not wrong, but it's not as common either. and it's misleading to let this guy think he'll get to spend the majority of his time in an office doing hand drawn illustrations."

I never said any of that.  I said that sketching and illustrations are used in architecture.

In my personal experience doing hand sketches are common.  Sometimes I do them on trace, sometimes they're done on a app.   


Dec 5, 22 7:22 pm  · 
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I agree. You can't do architecture without drawing or doing sketches but it is true, that one isn't going to be doing only drawings all day. If you are engaged in a role as a consultant contractually serving serving clients, you're most likely aren't going to be paid to doodle. They'll doodle themselves. Unless you are an illustrator or an animator for tv or film cartoon studio or in a marketing related department of some business, it is seldom people hired to do work where their principal activity is sketching/drawing. There are job in those sectors and related sectors which can include video games where that will be true but then they are often not running the business.... they are usually production-level staff and they are paid more meagerly because the "adults" (managers) that does the "boring" stuff are paid the big bucks. There is a sort of culture where they view - "fun is for kids. Boring and responsibility is for adults". Therefore, illustrators, cartoonists, animators can sometimes be subconsciously viewed as kids. While these people may very well be responsible adults, there is the reality of perceptions that exist and I have heard how people look down on illustrators, cartoonists, etc. in how they pay them. How you are valued when you are paid depicts how your work is valued. The less you are paid, the more they see your work responsibilities being more and more closer to that which is something they see or think they can have a 6 year old do or can do themselves. 

Dec 5, 22 8:13 pm  · 
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I'm speaking to perception regardless of whether the perception is valid and true. False perception is very pervasive and is part of the reality of world and the people of that world we live in.

Dec 5, 22 8:15 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

Non, I agree that architectural education is a significant step below a medical degree, but I know a lot of lawyers (and doctors) and at least in the US, becoming a licensed architect and passing the bar exam take a similar level of effort. Of course I haven't done either, but that is my understanding from a lot of conversations. But law is even more soul-sucking than architecture.

Dec 7, 22 9:20 am  · 
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square.

agree with wood here- our education and profession is def as rigorous as law, which at this point is at least 50% manufactured importance.

Dec 7, 22 11:29 am  · 
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pandahut

I think there is a massive demand for people with a more technical software background in architecture. Plenty of firms now are looking for computational people/developers to write in house tools, scripts, software's, workflows for a slue of things. Most big offices have a small studio dedicated to this, SOM, Gensler, KPF, etc. It would all depend on OP's interests and if an how he plants to translate his or her background to a new profession. Those back end designers are pretty far and few but that aspect is growing. Hell, even typical arch designers can shift over to that side of the design work since they have working knowledge of both. (and they get paid more than the typical arch people).

IMO, would definitely be work looking into talking to some arch folks and see what some options are. 

Dec 5, 22 11:01 am  · 
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calamari_gringo

Great insight, thank you

Dec 5, 22 11:43 am  · 
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joseffischer

I think it's especially important to note that this demand is high enough and specialized enough that you don't need an arch degree to get the job. We just lost our BIM family editor guy to another firm hiring for a Director of IT type position. If your interest is getting to touch design, learn Revit, then specifically learn Family editing best practices, and then put together a portfolio (no more than 10 sheets) showing some of your sketches and some of your families. Most firms aren't even savvy enough to evaluate your coding ability. Saying "I know code" would be enough. You could do this for a few years and evaluate whether it scratches your itch or if you actually wanted to be part of the design process enough to need an arch degree.

Dec 5, 22 3:26 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

This is awesome and right up my alley, thank you so much for sharing

Dec 5, 22 3:43 pm  · 
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pandahut

Not to beat a dead horse. It can be much, much deeper than Revit work. Think bigger, computational back end work, UI/UX, Data processing and design for TOOLS for architects. This work is brought into our daily workflow at a lot of larger offices to streamline a lot of processes that otherwise take a shit ton of time. Also, planning for things such as interior test fits, Building envelope, code diagramming, etc. It's more like - what tools can we develop to become an asset to our clients but also a helpful tool for us as designers to work smarter, not harder. It is prob helpful to have some design background to curate the application but indeed some can just pick up computer programming, data manipulation and interface it with arch. 


https://gfxspeak.com/2020/07/0...

https://www.kpf.com/about/inno...

https://ui.kpf.com/

Dec 5, 22 4:33 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

Great idea but I do have some experience with this, and it's really hard to design tools if you're ignorant of what the work is really like - so maybe Revit would be a good place to start at least.

Dec 5, 22 4:50 pm  · 
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cloudforest888

these are interesting areas of the architecture world that are indeed ripe for someone with a programming and data background. but it isn't anything to do with calamari's original statement. he wants to go to notre dame and study classical architecture. his interest is in drawing and art. he's trying to get out of the digital world. here is everyone pushing him back into it. this dude wanted the red pill. it was offered but he continuously pushed the thumbs down button. the red pill isn't a thumbs up concept. it's pointing out the reality.

Dec 5, 22 5:43 pm  · 
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cloudforest888

i'd add that these jobs at gensler, kpf etc are exceedingly competitive and limited in quantity. he's going to have to compete against ivy league graduates who are already connected with the owner's and staff of these companies through design schools and internships. not to mention those within these companies trying to promote up.

Dec 5, 22 5:45 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

Cloud, I disliked your comments because you insulted my character, not because I didn't find your advice helpful

Dec 5, 22 7:03 pm  · 
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cloudforest888

there's your first lesson in the construction industry. criticism will come your way whether it is true or not.

Dec 6, 22 12:40 am  · 
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cloud - you didn't provide criticism - you were an ass.  During my career I've only had a few people criticize me by attempting to insult my character.  It's rare.  If this keeps happening to you cloud then you're the problem. 


Dec 6, 22 1:42 pm  · 
1  · 

Chad, he provided criticism while being an ass but did not provide a critique. There is common confusion on what is a critique and what is criticism and also with being as asshole. A person can be an asshole and provide criticism because it is just crticizing and in this case, he was criticizing the person and thus being an asshole yet critiquing is not about targeting and criticizing the person but their work, and that by extension includes actions. Pointing to the shortcomings. Being an asshole can occur in any case but more so when one is putting down (demeaning) a person. Since there is nothing really presented here for critiquing without being an asshole in the process.

Dec 6, 22 4:40 pm  · 
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natematt

OPs interest in architecture is with the least marketable sector of it, when his background lends him to going into the most marketable... 

Don't go into architecture, you're probably going to hate it more than what you do now, and be in a worse place financially. 

Dec 5, 22 6:32 pm  · 
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calamari_gringo

Thank you

Dec 5, 22 7:05 pm  · 
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JawkneeMusic

Go to Notre Dame.  Double major in civil eng.  Depending on what your design interests lie-your best bet is to go the complete opposite.  Are you into deconstructivism & expressionism?  You gotta go to the school that challenges you

Dec 5, 22 8:36 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

off the meds again?

Dec 5, 22 9:04 pm  · 
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I thought you were leaving this site Jawkeen. What happened? Did the other social media planforms ban you for sending inappropriate pics to minors again?

Dec 6, 22 9:50 am  · 
1  · 
pandahut

Right, the red pill.


You will work 2x the hours in architecture for 1/2 of the pay.


In all honesty, classical architecture is pretty specialized these days. If you're into it ND is a great program but expensive as fuck.

Dec 5, 22 9:39 pm  · 
1  · 

That, or you learn from the same materials the classic architects of the late 19th and early 20th century did along with more emphasis in studying historic preservation & restoration and related curriculum along with stuff you need to know in modern day practice such as building codes for HSW matters, obviously.

Dec 5, 22 9:50 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

RB why do you feel the need to respond to every single question? It's exhausting, I'm exhausted, and you make me want to not come here any more. I know you have the self awareness of a peanut so I can't ask you to change, I just hope you absorb the fact that by your refusal to shut the fuck up - EVER - you are making this place worse off. Have fun, I'm taking a short break.

Dec 5, 22 10:11 pm  · 
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My responses were not for you so why are you bothering reading it or responding to them? Everyone else here posts whenever they, themselves, decide to. Stop holding me to the standards they are not held or mandated to. They write as much as they desire whenever they want to without anyone requiring them to write only short posts or any quota of posts per hour, day, week, month, etc. If they are not held to it, why should I? You can always just ignore me including placing me on ignore.

Dec 5, 22 11:47 pm  · 
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monosierra

Two examples of how your skills might come in handy in the AEC business. Biased towards facade design of course, but I'm sure there are other areas, such as space planning (Interior and urban) and construction automation (Assembly OSM and its ilk), that would benefit from your coding background. Before its disastrous IPO, WeWork hired a lot of data scientists too - albeit to little commercial benefit because of poor management!

https://www.glassonweb.com/art...

https://www.glassonweb.com/art...

My guess is that the guys and girls who build the tools for architects to design buildings are highly prized and in short supply. You could find a very lucrative and rewarding career in creating workflows and software -and thereby influencing the eventual designs!

Ultimately, an architect is bound to a large degree by material realities, financial exigencies, and the dynamic interactions with the tools of his/her trade. Look at Frank Gehry - he started his most successful venture, Gehry Tech before its acquisiution by Trimble, in part due to a lack of tools to execute his wild geometries at the time. His company developed Dassault's CATIA into Digital Project.

It's a two way street - crazy designs needed new software and new software then engendered new workflows and business models that make whacky geometries a constructable reality.

Dec 6, 22 8:27 am  · 
1  · 
gual

You can do a lot of AEC-related things without an M.Arch. If you want to be closer to design work and be a true hybrid "computational designer," get an M.Arch from a school that cares about that sort of thing. But be aware that being closer to the design process means working more like a typical architect (wacky deadlines, bad hours, bad pay, career instability). The more experience you acquire in tech prior to this transition the easier it will be to maneuver away from the architecture "lifestyle."

If what you deeply care about is this idea of classical design training, I wonder if you can get such training during a sort of work sabbatical without going to arch school, or doing some sort of unaccredited year-long thing. Because I fear that what you are seeking from a place like Notre Dame won't last after you leave, and will be a lot more expensive and anxiety-producing than, say, doing a year at some art college in Europe.

Dec 6, 22 1:27 pm  · 
2  · 

gaul wrote:

"But be aware that being closer to the design process means working more like a typical architect (wacky deadlines, bad hours, bad pay, career instability)."

I must be lucky. This has not been my experience over the last 18 years.  Then again I don't put up with much BS when it comes to firms I work with.   

Dec 6, 22 1:44 pm  · 
 · 
cloudforest888

@ chadmiller, indeed. but going back to Calamari's original thought, are you doing classical architecture and hand illustrations over 50% of your time each week in the office? this dude doesn't want to be doing programming/digital work. maybe he's changed his mind since this thread began?

Dec 6, 22 2:27 pm  · 
 · 

cloud

What do you mean by 'classical architecture'? 

Things vary depending on the time of year. I say roughly I spend around 50% of my time designing / illustrating buildings. This is done with a variety of tools. Trace and pen, stylus and tablet, computer and mouse. The remaining 50% of my time is spent mentoring, programing, creating contracts, and writing proposals.

I sketch every day to some degree though.  

Dec 6, 22 2:41 pm  · 
 · 
cloudforest888

classical meaning what it is taught at notre dame. semantics aside, it's not the same as your average design school. it sounds like you're in a much higher level position than the average production staff or project manager. sure we can all sketch everyday, but most people in the profession are not doing what you do.

Dec 6, 22 3:44 pm  · 
2  · 

I never said that most architects do what I do. 

I'm not high level.  I'm just a project architect who's good at design and illustration. You've stated several times that sketching and illustration are hardly used in architecture. That's not correct.

I know that less people sketch now (paper or digital) but your view that no one sketches anymore is a bit odd.  May I ask how long you've been working in the field

I sketch every day doing a variety of things.  They could be figuring out details, mentoring, doing layouts, various exterior studies, renderings, ect.  I'm sure the vast majority of architects do these same activities every day in various methods. 


Dec 6, 22 5:21 pm  · 
1  · 

Sketching and illustration (VISUAL COMMUNICATION) are absolutely required in architecture. Of course, you won't necessarily do that all day but it is essential of architecture. So yes, it is part of the job. Whether you get to do that the firm you work at depends on the firm and you.

Dec 6, 22 5:33 pm  · 
1  · 

When I said, sketching or illustration, I don't exclusively mean using traditional paper and pen/pencil but any medium including digital. To clarify to anyone else if they think I'm just talking about pencil/paper sketching/illustration.

Dec 6, 22 5:42 pm  · 
 · 
cloudforest888

@ chad miller; yes, i sketch frequently as well. figuring out details, programming, design concepts, site analysis. what i think is far less common is someone sitting down at a drafting table spending week after week crafting fine art illustrations of buildings. which is what it sounds like Calamari is interested in doing since he mentioned "academic drawing" and children's book illustration.

Dec 6, 22 6:55 pm  · 
1  · 

Yep. Old school drafting is largely outdated since the mid-90s to early 2000s. I think we are in agreement. These days, technical drawings are performed in CAD or BIM type software but that's the way of the 21st century. Then it is technical/production staff that does the bulk of that work, not as much of the licensed architect's time would be typically devoted to that work. I agree, it won't be like hobbyist "academic drawing" (whatever that means, exactly), and children's book illustration.

Dec 6, 22 10:39 pm  · 
 · 
calamari_gringo

If you don’t know what academic drawing is, you can always look it up. But it is a red pill to realize that many architects don’t know what it is. How can you bee a good architect without being good at drawing? I would imagine that
before computers they wouldn’t have even let you in to a school if you couldn’t draw.

Dec 7, 22 9:48 am  · 
 · 
calamari_gringo

From the ND application page:

Dec 7, 22 9:50 am  · 
 · 
calamari_gringo

“ All portfolios must include some hand-done graphics (pencil, pen, watercolor, oil painting—any medium). Work in a variety of media, both manual and digital is welcome, but at least some of the work must be hand-done as it offers the admissions committee a greater indication of an applicant’s sensibility for proportion, form, line, etc.” Why would this be a requirement if knowing how
to draw wasn’t important in architecture?

Dec 7, 22 9:51 am  · 
 · 

cloudforest888 wrote:

 "@ chad miller; yes, i sketch frequently as well. figuring out details, programming, design concepts, site analysis. what i think is far less common is someone sitting down at a drafting table spending week after week crafting fine art illustrations of buildings. which is what it sounds like Calamari is interested in doing since he mentioned "academic drawing" and children's book illustration."

You’re making a lot of assumptions. 

Maybe try asking the OP to clarify what he / she meant?  

I interpreted his / her comment to mean presentation drawings, renderings, and concept drawings. Since the OP is unfamiliar with our profession and most of their exposure to these types of drawings would be in the form of artistic illustrations it’s a reasonable inference.

Also the term 'academic drawing' is a term used for just that - presentation drawings used in school projects.

Dec 7, 22 10:27 am  · 
 · 
gual

"... Why would this be a requirement if knowing how to draw wasn’t important in architecture?"

ND thinks it's important to include these materials, not all schools do. In most practices it's important to be able to whip out a diagrammatic sketch but beyond that you can get by not really knowing how to draw.

Dec 7, 22 2:39 pm  · 
1  · 

That has not been my experience gaul

I know some architects who can't draw. They have issues being able to convey their ideas without spending hours on a computer to do what others can do in 15 minutes with a pen or stylus.  You'll be better valued and make more money if you can draw in some fashion. 

Just to be clear when I say 'draw' I don't mean artistic renderings. I'm referring to simple sketching.

Dec 7, 22 3:09 pm  · 
1  · 

calamari, My point on "academic drawing" was part tongue & cheek sarcasm but also pointing to the fact that there isn't a consistent definitive definition. The very point of definition is to establish a DEFINITIVE meaning to words. ROOT word: DEFINE. Define, definitively, what you mean by it. If I search the web long, I can surely find conflicting interpretations. I'm sure I know what it means, properly. However, that does not mean that someone on a website's web forum, is interpreting things correctly. There has been numerous people who frequented this forum that are just dumb. This forum has been around awhile so there has been a lot of people so even on a low percentage rate, there has been numerous idiots. PS: One of my art professors was an internationally reknown artist while he was alive and had work in the Louvre while he was alive. In any case, it is quite a remarkable accolade for any artist. If you are talking about academic drawing as it should be understood, ok, it's fine. Elements of that goes right into Classical Architecture and the classic Greek & Roman Orders. Note: Academic figure drawings are not as necessary to be able to do but it helps in certain ways.

Dec 7, 22 4:37 pm  · 
 · 

Architecture schools will often have these kinds of requirements for admission portfolios. After all, many architecture departments are clustered with the Visual Arts programs. However, academia and the 'ivory tower' idealisms are not always practiced in the professional setting. This is because these high ideals are A) inefficient at times, B) take too long., C) Clients are frequently going to pay for that. However, some of it is practiced by any architect or designer of any worth. Most students entering architecture school straight out of high school. So, it's important to 'train the eye'. However, we aren't drafting plans in the old paper & pencil/pen these days. We use computer software like Autocad, Revit, Archicad, and many other software tools. Consider this, making it in CAD or BIM models (Revit models for example), makes it easier to plot out copies. In the old days, we had to make blueprints (which by the way are copies not the original drawings) using a contact photography process called cyanotype and later diazotype (diazo for short) process. I'm one of a small percentage of people here that knows how to do such process. Many of us have heard of the processes but doesn't really know how to do the processes, albiet, they are smart enough to figure it out IF they wanted to. Yes, we do draw and make sketches and diagrams. Look up "parti" and you should find some good info on that: 

URL - link

This practice is still and will likely still be practiced by architects. It's a great tool for that and related sketching. Then at a point, we go into the computer tools and prepare the technical drawings and models.

Dec 7, 22 4:51 pm  · 
 · 

Architectural parti sketches, diagrams, and related sketching are part of the architectural design thinking process which is what is done in the profession more than hand drafting technical drawings in the older pre-computer era methods. It's like people are using software word processors more to write documents now than hand written or mechanical typewriters. We live in a 21st century world, now not the 1st, 2nd, 3rd...19th century world or even pre-PC 20th century.

Dec 7, 22 4:59 pm  · 
 · 

FYI: Parti is short for Parti Pris. It is part of what today may be such called 'Concept' which itself may be broader scope than the parti pris but it is a practice. The term comes from French from the Ecoles Beaux-Arts. There are multiple types of parti sketches depending on the specific purposes but ultimately the purpose is the facilitation of the architectural design thinking process.

Dec 7, 22 5:08 pm  · 
 · 

There are people using computer tools to do these as it is not absolutely necessary to use pencil/pen and paper to do these BUT this is one of the most useful skills to develop in architecture and visual communication. They alone won't get you a job and there is many subject matters that makes up the body of knowledge and skills necessary for certain roles in an architect's office.

Dec 7, 22 5:18 pm  · 
 · 
geezertect

Read "Architet? by Roger Lewis".  It is a quick read and gives a balanced view of the good and not so good aspects of the profession.

Dec 6, 22 3:42 pm  · 
2  · 
Jay1122

Another dreamer? I will just send OP to a big corporate AOR firm and work on those high rise tower stair details 60 Hrs per week with half the current pay for a few month.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Nah, I am joking. OP you will be the next big shot. Everyone will admire your design sketches on the magazine.

My true opinion though. Unless you make it to the top, it will likely just be ordinary works similar to your data engineer. Just different tasks and subjects. Only you can say if it is worth it or not after you have walked the road and tested your limit. But before doing so, look at the cost of switching. You have to spend 3 years on the new degree, potentially 150K tuition if you go with expensive schools, 3 years salary loss. That is a lot of $$ if you ask me.


Dec 6, 22 5:42 pm  · 
2  · 
calamari_gringo

Another bitter, douchey comment - another point for “don’t do it” - thanks

Dec 6, 22 6:17 pm  · 
 · 

Jay - you must work for some really bad firms that don't value your talent. Bummer.  Besides, we all know you need to work 65 hours a week to get those stair details done.  ;)

Dec 6, 22 6:28 pm  · 
 · 
JawkneeMusic

@calamari_gringo why don't you just make of it what you want of it? You want to be an architect? do it, and do it your way

Dec 6, 22 6:47 pm  · 
 · 
cloudforest888

yeah, calamari doesn't like it when people point out the unglamorous parts of being an architect. he's looking more for validation of his day dream. for a guy who asked for the redpill, he's having a hard time swallowing it.

Dec 6, 22 6:58 pm  · 
2  ·  1
calamari_gringo

There you go again assuming things cloud - you’ve been called names by your colleagues here already, but I won’t do that because I’m a nice guy

Dec 6, 22 7:58 pm  · 
 · 

Architecture as a career if rife with issues that is undesireable but this was paved over the past 100 years. I said earlier, architecture (becoming a licensed architect) is a sucky "second-career". In parts of the U.S., a fresh graduate from architecture school gets $15/hr. wage or base salary. Sometimes, there is no housing allowance benefit. Just the basic healthcare, social security, worker's comp. That's minimum wage in some states in the U.S. That may make pursuing architecture less attractive if all you need a higher salary because you make two or three times that in base salary. Yes, you need to consider what your needs and does it pencil out. You can take a sort of "pro forma" analysis to decide for yourself if the investment is worth it to you.

Dec 6, 22 10:49 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Hmm Chad. These high rise projects are $500M-$10B. Likely well designed with unique conditions. There will be repetition, but still a lot of work. Ceremonial stairs, egress stairs, platforms, ramps, railings, etc. Coordinate with designers and structural engineers. After that, there is the plenum space coordination, Coordinate all the HVAC, FA, Electrical, plumbing stuff in the plenum space with the MEP consultants. And after that, you will have the bathroom accessory and fixture coordination. Then the door schedule. Maybe windows next. wall sections, etc. Anyway the list goes on. If you get to CA phase, you spend 1-2 year atleast working full time CA just for that one job. Of course, you could stay on the design side only and not do any of those. if you think you can bang out a well coordinated and detailed Billion dollar high rise building CD set in a short time. I suggest you put in the bid for the commission and make mad $$.

Dec 7, 22 3:19 pm  · 
1  · 
cloudforest888

calamari, for someone who wants to be "red pilled" you're awfully stubborn.  people have given you a variety of opinions.  some glowing, some very critical.  others have suggested potential avenues for your career.  and among us we have our disagreements.  based on your highly emotional reactions, it seems like you just want to find validation for your own speculations and not really consider the good, the bad, and the ugly about working as an architect.  if you're having a hard time with this type of mild criticism, you're in for a real tough time in design school and the working world.  

Dec 7, 22 1:10 pm  · 
 ·  2

cloud

The op hasn't been emotional. They have called you out for being snarky, insulting, judgmental, and quite frankly a jerk. If anyone here has been 'emotional' it's you. 

I'd expect someone of your age and with your experience to more emotionally mature.  

Dec 7, 22 1:13 pm  · 
1  · 
cloudforest888

i'd expect someone of your age and experience to not gaslight...

Dec 7, 22 3:24 pm  · 
 · 

I'm not gaslighting you. You're just being emotional.

Dec 7, 22 6:24 pm  · 
 · 

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