Berlin Architecture Jobs for Expat


Hi All, 

My fiance and are moving over to Europe from Australia and are deciding between somewhere in the UK or Germany (in particular Berlin, because we love that city).  My fiance is a graduate architect (not registered) with 3 years experience using Vector Works in a small architecture firm. She speaks a bit of German but is no where near fluent.  Just wondering if anyone can provide some insights at the moment based on the industry in Germany/Berlin on these questions we had. 

Is is essential to speak German working as an architect in Berlin? If not can you suggest any firms that employ English speaking architects? 

Is there a chance of an smaller firms focused on residential architecture that would employ an expat? 

What are the expected salaries for someone with her experience and language shortfalls? 

What is the job market like currently? 

I myself am a research engineer (biomedical) engineer so I confident language wont be much of an issue (socially though, I am sure it would :) ). 

Thanks any feedback or suggestions would be great. 


Aug 22, 13 1:03 am

My wife & I have been living in Bavaria for the past 1.5 years. I work in Bamberg (4 hrs south of Berlin) and like it a lot. From my personal experience, this may provide insight:

-I have been able to find an architect job w/ out speaking fluent German. We design multi-family / multi-use / commercial buildings throughout Bavaria. However, this was a unique circumstance in that it is a small office with a young, fluent english speaking partner (son w/ father principals). Berlin is a large, international city and there should be a decent number of international firms.

Look at the following websites:

-Berlin, at the moment, is not an expensive city to live in, i.e. the cost of living is low, comparatively. However, the wages are also lower in relation to the rest of Germany. Gentrification is catching momentum, so the days of a less expensive town are endangered.

-The economy in Germany is good. Jobs are plentiful. Salaries vary, but you can't beat 30 days paid vacation (after 6 months probation).

-The biggest challenges I've faced are learning the German building code, the submittal/permitting process, german standards for construction, and dealing with a few cultural differences. Other than that, it's worth a try.

I remember reading this article, from a local designer - and thought it was interesting:

Best of luck!

Aug 22, 13 3:07 am  · 
vasilisa shchogoleva

Dear Mike,

thank you so much for the links you shared here and for your message!
From my experience, I feel a bit devastated for the moment, because after 2 months of looking for a job I feel like I am still far away from the moment of getting one. 

At the same time this period of time helped me to review my skills and get into those that I need to improve. 

I guess, learning German and German building codes is essential at some point. 

Best of luck! 

Nov 14, 17 6:11 am  · 

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for sharing the links and comments! Very helpful.

I live now in the NRW because I got married. I've already got my Architect's License and wanted to ask you, how did you go about getting a driver's license here in Germany? It's been quite frustrating for me.

I will appreciate any advice.

Best to you all!

Feb 26, 18 6:36 am  · 

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