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Joe Pistone

Since seems to be only partially functioning nowadays, I suggest posting on
I have found the reviews there to be very helpful and posts by others I read were factual when talking about firms I have personal knowledge of.

Apr 10, 09 11:52 am

over 190 firms listing their architect salaries but not one of them are actual architecture architects! wtf? i don't know if i should cry or laugh.,9.htm


Apr 11, 09 9:26 pm

Whoa OA, are you quoting someone or are you seriously that pissed off?

Apr 11, 09 11:33 pm

i think it's real. come on. no actual architects?!

if the state boards can't get smarter, the reporting sites are going to have to get more sophisticated in how they report the difference between architect and 'architect'.

Apr 12, 09 12:06 am
liberty bell

Orhan: with that rant you just swung me over from "not a big deal" to "goddammit what am I paying NCARB for every year if they can't do something about this".

Time to write a strongly-worded letter.

Apr 12, 09 9:40 am

that cinches it, i am sending my resume to Microsoft.

Apr 12, 09 10:49 am
vado retro

Maybe whoever fines people who are not architects for using the term architect should sue all the people who call themselves architects who are really i.t. people. could be a boon for the industry.

Apr 12, 09 11:05 am

Well maybe we should take this seriously, and critique the status of these people as architects or not based on the more abstract way we sometimes talk about architecture, here and elsewhere?

I might go and write a blog post, dammit ...

Apr 12, 09 12:44 pm

just because you can't get laid doesn't mean you should change your job title from software engineer to systems architect...

Apr 12, 09 12:54 pm

Done! Crossposted from here: link

A sketch Registration Exam for (X) Architects
(where X is, for example, information, software, building, product, solutions ...)

Are you self critical?

Do you have a coherent set of ideas that parallels production and allows you to talk about why you make the choices you make?

Are you able to position those ideas relative to the ideas of other peers and define a space for conversation or debate?

Is the task large enough that it requires a division of labor, a split between concept and execution, and the continuous maintenance of evolving consensus between multiple stakeholders?

Do you contribute to the public realm?

Do you add more to the solution of a problem beyond the simple fulfillment of the brief?

Or, in simpler terms:

self awareness & theory & discourse & consensus & community & surplus

Apr 12, 09 1:04 pm

OA has a point.

I wonder if the AIA has caught on to this...they could possibly triple their membership overnight if they wanted to.

Will probably suck it up - contractors, engineers, interior designers, builders, students - sometimes list themselves as "architects".

Architect..."Master Builder" - is experiencing a slow death, sad to say. And nobody cares.

Apr 12, 09 1:39 pm

I hope the NCARB sues and LOSES. Yes, I hope the AIA loses the case, at least then people like me who have studied architecture for 8 years can call ourselves architects.
It is the NCARB and AIA that have made architecture into nanny profession. Going over small people who study architecture and cant even say it out in public. And the folks who actually take all the exams think they are God's own balls, designing Costco's for the rest of their lives.

Apr 12, 09 3:49 pm
vado retro

i just founded the AIOPWCTA. the American Institute of People Who Call Themselves Architects. Look for our Banner Ads on Archinect soon!

Apr 12, 09 9:49 pm
liberty bell

sameold, just keep throwing those stones to avoid talking about the real problem. No one is stopping you from getting licensed except you.

I certainly know I'm not god's gift to anything but I also most certainly know I can finish what I start.

Apr 12, 09 10:15 pm

LB, got it. My point is that architects who have actually got licensed keep obsessing about how no one else can call themselves architects.

Really, why has no one suggested that architects without a license can call themselves 'architects', while ones who have gone through the licensure process can call themselves 'registered architects'.

It is just tedious to keep meeting people and say 'I went to architecture school for 8 years, designed many buildings, but im not an architect.'

Apr 13, 09 1:15 am

sod - the real tedium is having to continually wade thru whiney posts from grads who just can't seem to get off the dime and pass the exam.

You're an Architect when you pass the exam - not before. Once you've done that, then feel free to start trying to change the system from the inside. I'm betting you won't really give a damn about this issue then.

The profession is not interested in changing it's licensure laws simply to make your life easier at cocktail parties.

Apr 13, 09 7:00 am

unlicensed: architect
licensed: Architect

and maybe wear your stamp around the neck at cocktail parties. or stamp it on one of those sweet archinec-t-shirts

But for me this is not an issue, after graduation I will be automatically licensed, unemployed but licensed (yeah)

Apr 13, 09 9:36 am


Do you have a degree in architecture, say, a bachelor's or master's?

Would you object to someone claiming to hold that same degree who had not finished the same course work you did? "Well, I did most of it, so, yeah, I have the degree...." Something tells me you'd find that objectionable.

Just take the damned test.

Apr 13, 09 9:56 am

Wow, thost "Architects" at Microsoft make pretty good change. I went into the wrong architecture field for sure.

As someone with the "stamp" I'd rather have CAD monkey interns calling themselves Architects than software/IT geeks.

Apr 13, 09 12:10 pm

we have no influence over "software/IT geeks" and never will have ... we ought to just get over it and move on.

Apr 13, 09 12:32 pm

citizen. Yes I have a bachelors as well as a masters. I do not mind anyone calling themselves 'architects', because I believe, that in the end, work speaks for itself.
Is my way of thinking naive? Probably. But I have seen many non-licensed architects who know a lot more than the licensed ones.

Apr 13, 09 2:26 pm
liberty bell
But I have seen many non-licensed architects who know a lot more than the licensed ones.

So have I. I've also seen a lot of licensed architects who know a lot more than unlicensed ones. And, lots of licensed architects do crappy work, and lots of unlicensed designers do fantastic work.

Whether a building gets called architecture or not is not legislated by any governmental body. In that case, yes the work speaks for itself (as if anyone besides people like us really give a damn).

Apr 13, 09 2:37 pm

That wasn't what I asked in my post, sameolddoctor.

I asked if you'd object to another person claiming to have the same master's degree as yours if he hadn't completed all the course work you had.

Apr 13, 09 2:39 pm

kanye west is an architect

Apr 13, 09 4:24 pm

I just posted a "glowing" review of my last employer.

Apr 13, 09 5:02 pm

The term "architect" is simply a word. Outside of these posts, no one cares about things.

Doctors can legally call themselves "Doctors" before they have their license. I cannot, for the life of me, see the logic in why everyone else can call themselves an architect, but not those that went to school for it prior to getting a license.

Either regulate ALL, or don't bother. To me, it just shoes how little authority the profession really has (and how lame it is to fine/sue their own)

sameold - I think we should get a drink

Apr 13, 09 8:48 pm

I call my self 'sameolddoctor'. If I did call myself 'sameoldarchitect', Id have been jumped upon.

Citizen, I have not lived as long as a lot of people on this forum, but I know that the work always speaks. I do not care if the other person claimed that he/she completed all the course work, but Id be really pissed off if they showed my work in lieu of theirs.

Trace, dont know where you're located, but Ive got a Sam Adams going here!

Apr 14, 09 2:38 am
brian buchalski

it's completely foolish that only architects would abide by standards that don't let themselves be called architects.

anyone who's studied architecture at university and is now working on making/designing buildings shouldn't give a second's pause when describing themselves as an architect.

licensed or not is really just a legal technicality...(and how is that no matter what the issue is seems the lawyers always win?)

Apr 14, 09 10:21 am
On the fence

Our profession in conjucntion with our states have decided what the rules are.

They aren't that new either.

You knew what you were getting into and if not, ignorance is no excuse for crying about it now.

Suck it up and either get onto the path that leads to licensure or quit the sob act. I'm tired of hearing about entitlement.

Apr 14, 09 11:33 am
Ms Beary

If you get caught driving without a driver's license, do you think you should just explain that one is not needed because you have the skills, experience and ability to drive and therefore you don't need one? Sounds stupid.

It is a license to do what you want to do in the state in which you reside. So go get one. This is going to get me in trouble, but I don't believe those who say they don't get licensed because they don't believe they have to. I think you are scared. You ALL could pass the ARE with flying colors I'm sure. It's not THAT hard. School, practice and the LEED exam were all harder than the ARE, in my opinion. The bureaucracies involved are truly irritating, but so are taxes and you don't avoid those! Also, Prometric is a lot friendlier place than the DMV!

Apr 14, 09 12:15 pm
Ms Beary

P.S. I convinced an older colleague of mine, a mentor, to just take the ARE already. He had the same, what-does-it-matter and I'm-not-going-to-play-their-stupid-games attitude. It took me over a year of badgering him and pumping him up, telling him he would pass the tests if he would just not be afraid of failure! He has one test left, and seems to be pretty glad he just took the damn tests! I don't even remember if he failed one, he might have, but WHO CARES?

Apr 14, 09 12:22 pm

"If you get caught driving without a driver's license, do you think you should just explain that one is not needed because you have the skills, experience and ability to drive and therefore you don't need one?"

Responsibility-based freedom? Oh, the horror...

Apr 14, 09 12:27 pm

laws and regulations are not really meant to protect us against the responsible and the righteous ... they're intended to protect us against the irresponsible and dishonest.

prime example: airport security following 9/11

Apr 14, 09 12:44 pm

Strawbeary, that is great you would do that for your colleague! I'd dare say someone willing to encourage others is -- well -- a bit rare in this profession. Kudos!

Apr 14, 09 12:45 pm

Yes, babs. The morality of legislation.

Apr 14, 09 12:47 pm

This topic would be perfect for an Archinect OP-ED. If anyone's interested in writing one let me know.

Apr 14, 09 1:04 pm
*your name
laws and regulations are not really meant to protect us against the responsible and the righteous ... they're intended to protect us against the irresponsible and dishonest.

prime example: airport security following 9/11

Right! For all the innocent muslims arrested and thrown out of the planes for their irresponsible and dishonest looks!

Apr 14, 09 1:05 pm
brian buchalski

for me, it's not that the exams are terribly difficult. and i certainly don't have any desire to not be licensed...but i don't see the point in not calling people who are architects, architects.

by avoiding calling ourselves what we, then no wonder others are staking a claim to the word. it's like our profession has built a nice big, handsomely guarded gate in front of our house...while oblivious to the fact that there's no fence in the backyard and the neighbor kids are using the pool. it's just silly.

Apr 14, 09 1:47 pm
Ms Beary

puddles, understood. But it wasn't long ago on here I think someone (lb?) said that once you take the exams, you don't tend to care about that anymore. Problem solved.

Apr 14, 09 1:57 pm

To those with the question 'Why don't you take the exams already', my answer is that I am too busy doing actual design. I have people who help me with code compliance etc. When I have time, or am not in the mood to design anymore, I will take the exams.
The big problem is that architecture in this country that it is a double standard. Look over at the 'grades in architecture school' thread and people tell you that grades are not important, your portfolio is. Then you come here, and everyone advises you to get licensed, because that's the only way you get to call yourself an architect.
How would it be if they actually teach 'real architecture' items in school instead of fucking around with voronoi tessellations and t-splines? (btw, i believe there is ample room in architecture for experimental studies, as that make it rich).

The NCARB, ARE etc are sucking out a lot of talented people out of the profession because of these double standards and hypocricies. God knows I have met so many talented designers who have clocked out of architecture because of all this bureaucratic BS. In the end it is the profession that loses as a whole.

Apr 14, 09 3:59 pm

Oh, one more thing. For people equating us to doctors, I hate to break your heart, but our role is really not as important or critical as of doctors in society. There is really no comparison.

Apr 14, 09 4:14 pm
liberty bell

sameold, there is no hypocrisy - it's a legislative issue. A Strawbeary said, in the US you are either a licensed driver or you're not, similarly, you're either a registered architect or you're not.

And you still haven't answered citizen's question: can someone who didn't complete the coursework for a degree say that they have attained that degree? No.

I'm so tired of this conversation, I'm going to say this (as I've said 100 times on these boards) and then stop:

There's no problem for an unregistered architect to identify themselves as "an architect" in a social setting. If someone you meet socially talks to you about doing some work for them, you are bound by law to identify that you are not yet registered. If you still end up doing design work for that person, you can't call yourself "the architect of the job" officially, but can do so in a social setting.

We may not be as critical to the world as doctors, but in the US our profession is regulated much as theirs is. That is what this discussion is about.

And for the umpteenth time, whether a building is produced by a registered professional or not has absolutely no bearing on whether that building is capital-A architecture or not. Talent and regulation have nothing to do with one another (I'm living proof of that!).

Apr 14, 09 5:12 pm

I think people should clarify these analogies.

It is fine to say you went to XX school, if you went there, regardless if you graduated or have a degree. Being accepted and attending earns that right.

It is also fine to call yourself a 'driver' if you drive a car (say you race cars, you don't need a driver's license) and are not licensed.

No one is suggesting that anyone be able to stamp drawings without being licensed, just simply not be sued for using a word.

I'll leave this now (for as long as I can!) with you lb. Perhaps, someday, Archinect will have a big bash and we can all laugh and drink and call each other architects!! ;-)

Apr 14, 09 6:25 pm

fuck it. I am going to sue the ARE and NCARB for letting the software guys call themselves architects, while not letting US call ourselves architects.
"We may not be as critical to the world as doctors, but in the US our profession is regulated much as theirs is." Good. That explains the crappy healthcare as well as the crappy architecture we have to face everyday.

Apr 14, 09 6:42 pm
brian buchalski

a couple of more thoughts, off-the-cuff, and certainly not feel free to exploit any holes...

1- since taking the exams is a relatively easy exercise (although bureacratically, a pain in the ass)...then why couldn't it be easily slipped into the curriculum of college education sometime during the six years & $100,000 dollars spent?

2- if the real sticking point is the stamp, then are we perhaps going about the whole process wrong? should we be licensing architects at all? or would we be better off licensing buildings instead? consider it, after designing a building & coordinating with all of the consultants you pull your set together & head off to get it stamped for approval by a lawyer who specializes in architectural law...or maybe even something simpler, like a notary public. of course, this maybe sounds too familiar...

3- there's definitely some problems with the geographic constraints of licensing. you can leave home and go anywhere in the world & practice architecture without a license by finagling your way around their local laws (cumbersome, but doable). but back home you remain unlicensed. i understand that reciprocity has become better...but it's unfortunate that taking the time & effort to acheive a license & maintain a good local standing can serve as more of an anchor to a place rather than an opportunity out. you'd think that being a licensed professional would open additional doors...rather than expose one to operating illegally in other jurisdictions.

4- if i ever return to the united states, then i think i'm going to start a new business & call myself the "building doctor"...promising to fix whatevr the architets messed up. that might make some heads explode.

Apr 14, 09 7:15 pm

hey! Im the doctor! I'll sue you puddles!

Jokes apart, you raise some good points. Especially 1 and 2.
As for point 3, wherever you decide to build in the world, you'd need an architect of record there. And that sucks, because there is not much interesting work left here anyways.

Apr 14, 09 7:33 pm
On the fence


as to item number 2 above.

I think you've been looking at leads to long. It's messed with your thinking process.

Apr 15, 09 10:19 am

You know what folks, at a very personal level, for most of us there's really only one meaningful argument to support licensure -- those who are licensed earn more money than those who are not licensed.

I was pulling together some data for a post in another thread (link: Salary after we bottom?) and noticed the following information for the first time.

Per the 2008 AIA Compensation Survey, on a national basis, the average total annual compensation (including salary + OT pay + bonus) varies widely for mid-career professionals, depending on whether you're licensed or not, as follows:

$ 64,100: Architect I
$ 54,900: Unlicensed Architectural Staff 1

$ 74,900: Architect 2
$ 66,000: Unlicensed Architectural Staff 2

$ 95,200: Architect 3
$ 73,400: Unlicensed Architectural Staff 3

For the purposes of the survey, the only difference between the catgories in each pairing is the presence, or not, of an architectural license.

All other arguments aside - and irrespective of your view about when someone can be called an Architect - these compensation figures seem to me a totally compelling reason to complete the ARE as early as possible.

Once I earned my degree in architecture, I didn't really give a hoot-in-hell what somebody called me -- I did care about what I got paid.

Apr 15, 09 10:45 am

Well, now you've done it, Goose.

Interjecting actual facts and data?

There goes the discussion...

Apr 15, 09 11:25 am

Yeah ... I know ... sorry ... it's an old habit that I can't seem to break.

Apr 15, 09 11:43 am

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