Why did you do this to your life?!


I'm writing a paper on student architects and I have a few questions.  This question is primarily targeted to students with an unrelated background that have begun a 3+ M.Arch I program. Although answers would be accepted from any M.Arch student.

My questions are:


1. Why did you decide to study architecture or make the switch from a differing field?


2. In light of the current economic climate of the field of construction and housing on a whole, what motivated you to continue on this path? (If you are no longer motivated please share why, and what you may move on to.)


3.What are your plans for the future, rather, what do you think your advanced architectural education will prepare you for?

Apr 21, 13 9:41 pm

I did this a while back.  Am I qualified to answer?

1.  Architecture was my initial career choice.  I was not serious during senior year iof HS with respect the 4th year math and physics.  I also couldn't get answers about architecture, with a lot of dissenting opinions on the quality and different emphases of various schools in my home state, so I said WTF.  I thus majored in business.  It was interesting, but not interesting enough.  The work that attached to that degree was even more boring.  In the 3+ M.Arch. programs, some people clearly wanted to be architects at an earlier point in their lives, but typically went for something more "practical" like engineering, CM, or business, and then went into architecture with something to fall back on.  The reality is that falling back on a degree and work experience that stales is not that easily done.

2.  The economic climate was "eh" at graduation time, varying somewhat by geographic area.  Like other recessions, they fade, and the decision to continue was based on that.  I will say that the rigor of the program was not a deterrent because it was fascinating.  What was a downer was seeing people drop out every now and then, as well as some of the egotistical people found in that curriculum and a few incompetent professors one can't afford to have in an "accelerated" time frame.  I couldn't see returning to my previous work.  The personalities in architecture can be weird and some people, in school and at work, put that quirkiness out as "window dressing" to indicate that they are avant garde ... sometimes true and sometimes not.

3.  I licensed fairly quickly after graduation in a jurisdiction that used a flat internship period prior to their adopting IDP.  I am, like everyone else, waiting for the "good old days" to return and things to get busier ... as in one project on the heels of another.

Apr 21, 13 10:19 pm
boy in a well

Given the forum

you might want say "Why did you do this with your life?"

or  "Why did you choose to do this with your life?"

I mean


we're not all avant-garde car wrecks.


That takes an extra degree.


John Chamberlain forever!!

total life forever!!

Apr 21, 13 10:40 pm

Thanks obseverant. I really like your breakdown on personality.

@Spike Cyclone I chose the wording based on a subject line in an email that I received from a well meaning family member that felt like I was tanking my life by choosing a ridiculous profession. It is meant in humor :) Not as an attack as I to have chosen architecture.  

Apr 21, 13 11:16 pm

Why did you do this to your life?!

I had a choice?!

Apr 22, 13 8:17 pm

I appreciate this thread a lot. It helps me get my thoughts through and lead me to answer some questions that I've been asking myself. 

1. I've been interested in architecture since a young age. in the beginning it was the interesting forms of architecture that drew my attention. As life experiences accumulate, I become more interested in the interactive aspect of architecture: what's the role of architecture in people's lives, how does people interact with architecture, and how architecture affects people's feelings and experiences, etc. 

After finishing an underground major in physics and an internship in physics research, I realized that I'm not a research type of person. I enjoy physics a lot, though, but I know it's not something that I would like to do with the rest of my life. Therefore I switch to architecture when I still can. 

2. I'm an international student, therefore I'm not really familiar with the US economic situation for architecture...

3. After getting out of school I would like to try to work as a designer in an architecture firm. I prefer firms that focus on small-scale projects that really emphasize the function of architecture. 

Apr 22, 13 9:38 pm

Would the two that responded mind if I used your answers as an anonymous feedback quote? 

Apr 23, 13 3:50 pm

I was not serious during senior year iof HS with respect the 4th year math and physics.

Yeah.  However, the above sentence is incorrect, and should read as:

I was not serious during senior year of HS with respect to 4th year math and physics.

Apr 23, 13 6:34 pm

There are some architects who cherish the stone age, the Newt Gingrich's of architecture.

Apr 23, 13 7:50 pm


Newt Gingrichs of architecture sound like guys who went to a-school in their backyards, have never traveled, and are provincial "good ole' boys."  I know those types exist, and even know a few, but I don't think they're on this forum.  One thing about them is that they can't talk design or, sometimes, it's not that they can't, but they don't want to because many folks, including some architects, are not comfortable with archi-speak.  Actually, it's an economical way to describe design and the built environment.  Also, keep in mind that there are prospective college students whose parents DO NOT want them to study architecture.  This has been the case even when times were good.

Apr 23, 13 10:16 pm

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