2011 M.Arch applicants, commiserate here!


For the record, I am not trolling here. I am honestly trying to help some kids. No one told me that going to the BEST architecture school would not be worth much. Architecture is overcrowded. The law of supply and demand applies to peopl too. It does not matter how talented you think you are. Even the best schools had like a 5% employment rate the past few years. Seriously, do some soul searching before applying to these VERY expensive schools that offer very little hope for employment prospects.

Jul 23, 10 10:57 pm  · 

Sorry I meant Cooper Union is probably the best from that list.

Yes architecture is broken. Now what are you going to do about it? roll over and die or roll into another profession either way its a bleak picture. I prefer to be optimistic.

Going back to architecture college for another degree is not the answer to fixing this profession.

Yes it is overcrowded with incompetent people, and yes men and women.

You know how many people live in this country? what about the world? do you really think that only a handful of licensed architects is enough for the world?

Can you blame people for not demanding architectural services? take a look outside your window and see what is being produced. Nothing but crap which could be demolished by anyone willing to run there car into a few columns.

Jul 23, 10 11:31 pm  · 

I also agree a lot of us will have to go into other professions, for the sake of our family.

I might change my career, but whatever suit i wear in the future underneath it all i will always be an architect.

Jul 23, 10 11:48 pm  · 


Unfortunately, I'll have to turn down your advice - in part because I'll soon have a civil engineering degree, in part because I am only concerned with community building, housing, and sustainability. I'll worry about $ once I have a family to look after, but I have a gun with one bullet that says "to be used if I every build anything with Donald Trump's name on it."

Regarding my academic goals, I'm looking at combined Arch + Structural Eng. graduate programs. That would give me B. Music, B. Civ Eng, M. Arch, M. Struct Eng and a partrige in a pear tree. If one of those gets me a job as a barista somewhere, then I'll be right as rain.

Thank you for your blunt advice and insight into the current state of affairs in architecture. I'm naive enough to not care; not naive enough to think it won't matter in the long run, and certainly not egotistic enough to think I can personally change things. Medicine or law are not happening for me - I have little respect for either profession.

Honestly, I see architecture grad school as an end to itself; I can stay in the studio until 4 am and love every second of it, and it's a sense of satisfaction that I haven't felt elsewhere - not even with music (and I've played on NBC!! True story :)

But I still need to decide whether to apply this year or the next - if anyone has any thoughts regarding deferred enrollement, I'm all ears...

Jul 25, 10 1:15 pm  · 

Ok. Well, I hope those 4am nights are fulfilling when your student loan lenders are garnishing your mcdonalds paycheck.

I am not tryin to be mean. I just want others to have the warning I did not get. I went to number 1 and number 2 schools...still little help. I am trapped in a job I hate (because there aren't any others) to pay student loans.

Fancy degrees don't mean crap right now. And bad degrees mean even less. Plain and simple there are too many architects, and you will be at the bottom of the pecking order (and hence most likely unemployed) for many years (and recessions) to come.

Good luck.

Jul 25, 10 1:37 pm  · 

Hello, all. I'm 30, Urban Studies Major at UT-By the way UTSOA has one of the best Sustainability Programs, Top 5 in the country.

I am planning on getting a March I. My interest is in a University with strong urban design focus. Does anybody has a suggestion? I know Columbia has a strong program, any other?

Thank you.

Jul 28, 10 1:52 pm  · 

Oh....ANOTHER warning...the ABI (architectural billing index) just came out - the news is bleak yet again. Many young people might jump for joy because we are so close to 50 again (anything ABOVE 50 means growth, anything BELOW 50 means losses in billing). This is not the case. We are STILL contracting as a profession. This means that we lost less....but losing 2% of nothing is a lot worse than losing 2% of tons of billing. We will have to be above 50 for quite some time to create new jobs for young people. A "top 5 degree in sustainability" does not seem like a safe bet. It is like any other degree now. If it is not a top 5 DEGREE, PERIOD, I would skip it unless it is COMPLETELY free. That means Harvard, Yale, MIT, Cornell, Columbia (most rankings are fickle, but these schools seem to have the best networks and best hiring - although hiring is still dismal - try 5 of 100 or so with actual jobs. Look it up if you don't believe me. Career services will provide you with that information). Columbia will put you in a LOT of debt. And its reputation is not that fantastic for urban design from what I have witnessed. Harvard seems to be the leader.

Student lenders do not care what ranking your school holds. They will take your money no matter what (this includes unemployment benefits). More importantly, employers don't care at all right now. New grads cannot make money for an office. It is a fact. That puts you WAY behind all the other architects out there with years of experience, just as fancy (or fancier) degrees, and LICENSES to practice acchitecture.

I would avoid architecture completely if I had it to do again. There are just too many of us, and WAY too many of us willing to work for nothing. There are also bigger forces at work. When the sub-prime lending disaster is finally off the books, then building might start again. But since the country is deleveraging at the rate it did before the Great Depression, I would not hold your breath. Please don't think this is a I said before, I am trying to warn potential students. These are NOT the impressions your school or professors will give you. They are perfectly content to continue cashing your checks (which are underwritten by your student lender), and put you into what is called indentured servitude. The IMPRESSION of architecture does not match up with the ACTUALITY. Just do your homework before locking yourself into debt/low pay/no family life/very little room for growth. It may not seem to matter now. But I promise it will in 4-5 years (or maybe when your first student loan bill comes).

Good luck. We all need it.

Jul 28, 10 2:25 pm  · 

Sharkalderon – Having studied Urban Planning + Design I too am interested in March I programs with a strong urban design focus. From what I hear, of the top schools, MIT seem to offer a strong program. I’d have to agree with CMNDCTRL; the student work I have seen emerge from Columbia seems far too abstract to have any serious grounding in urbanism. Not too sure about the GSD, although I’d imagine if you got in, you couldn’t go too far wrong. I started a thread on this a few months back you may be interested in:

Unfortunately, I’d also have to agree with CMNDCTRL’s warnings; as a profession architecture seems pretty much broken. The way I see it, it’s always been one of, if not THE, most competitive vocations out there. It is one of the very few reputable professions that allow one to pursue creative indulgence with some credence, and as a consequence has remained over saturated for as long as I can remember. These underlying issues have been further compounded by the global economic collapse – in the U.K. (where I’m from) changes to government funding will bring the profession (and other related fields of the built environment, especially urban design) to it’s knees over the course of the next 3/4 years.

Notwithstanding the above I am still in the process of preparing applications for the chance to enter these very conditions. I am not however, willing under any circumstances, to accumulate 6 figures worth of debt. IF I get in, without financial aid, I’ll gladly pass up the opportunity happy in the knowledge that I tried. The romance associated with the title “Architect” is not worth over 10 years of debt.

So CMNDCTRL, I heed your warnings, and continue to proceed with caution.

Jul 28, 10 4:55 pm  · 

six figures on an architect's salary is more like 25 years worth of debt. It will be forgiven (if it is public) LONG before you can pay it off.

Jul 29, 10 9:58 am  · 

Debt does scare the hell out of me - I've managed to avoid it through Northwestern's good graces.

Thank you for the advice - it reaffirms my decision to continue engineering as well, but I can't be satisfied unless I'm actively designing. Hopefully I can make grad school work. If all else fails, I can do bridges.

While the statistics regarding the building profession are dismal, the videogame industry continues to grow despite the recession. A number of my professor's former colleagues are now working in video-game level design. It isn't str8-up architecture, but look at exibit A and exibit B before you dismiss this field completely. It's a good reason to beef up your computer-drafting/modeling skills, and maybe even play a few rounds of Counter-Strike.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Video games are a vibrant intersection of entertainment, narrative, architecture and experience, and the market is only growing. Level-design could be a potential back-up plan for architects.

(FYI - I'd choose Starbucks over McDonalds; they provide medical+dental if you're full time)

Jul 29, 10 11:47 am  · 

how do i get into the video game industry?

Jul 29, 10 6:25 pm  · 

Can anyone clarify whether applicants are judged negatively by schools for having sat the GRE more than once?

Aug 1, 10 2:49 pm  · 


Gamasutra is the place to look for job openings and to see what companies are looking for:

If you can get ahold of anyone in the industry, they will know better than me.

Aug 1, 10 4:38 pm  · 

Can anyone give me advice on what to write in my Personal Statement? I don't know where to begin!

Aug 2, 10 2:05 pm  · 

banana- Try finding themes in your work and see if you can create a narrative through that. I had a lot of trouble at first but then started listing common themes I had in my projects- whether major or minor. From there I worked it into a paper talking about what I did and what I want to do at the school. Good luck!

Aug 2, 10 3:47 pm  · 

I first read the first post, and thought, YES! Someone is in my shoes! but then i looked at the date. I am two months behind you, michacw!

I am starting to have a semi-freak out session when it comes to the application process.. I have yet to take my GRE (scheduled aug 18) and don't really know where I fall in GRE scores..

i am..
24/f/ba - architecture from berkeley (pre-pro)2008 / employed, but not in arch at the moment.

applying to:
gsapp (was totally pulled in by the dean's letter)
u-texas (i think this is my #1 - matches me exactly!)
asu (maybe..)

I have a work portfolio.. but it needs some MAJOR revisions before it is grad school ready.
I am having a tough time with it.. I got a new computer right after I graduated.. made the switch to mac.. and don't have CAD, rhino, maya, and don't have any access to these programs. I am trying to re-work my portfolio with CS4 and sketchup alone. pretty difficult.

anyone going through the same thing? or have any advice with portfolio?

I really don't know what to put in it other than my studio work.. I did take an honors studio which add an extra something to it.. and I also did a senior thesis with a graduate professor. But with my thesis, I went back to basics and did almost everything by hand.. my thesis was about exploring and creating your own narrative-based architecture.. we traveled to Rome and worked on this public housing structure - Corviale.. any advice for incorporating this? its a lot of written text..

Some days I feel like my portfolio needs to look like one unified piece of work.. one complete project.. but other days I feel like it should show and explore all of the different types of design I have experience with. what do you think?

Aug 2, 10 5:30 pm  · 

This is something I wish I had when I applied. Sorry it's just for one school but I hope it helps someone in some way- even if it's just satisfying curiosity.


Some Stats

Aug 2, 10 6:16 pm  · 

iamjena, I'm having semi-freak out right about now, mostly about a set of prints I'm working on and whether the stuff I've been doing in general is even portfolio worthy, ughhh.....

I've never put together a digital portfolio, but for those who have about how much time does it take from start to finish. I can't even start it until I get a new laptop to run the software, which I hope to have in a few weeks, but I'm getting nervous about this.

Aug 2, 10 9:05 pm  · 

@therebyfar: if all you have for your portfolio is fine art, you might as well give up this year because you will NOT get into ANY good schools. This is coming from personal experience and thousands of anecdotes scattered across Archinect and elsewhere. Plus use a bit of common sense (which unfortunately passed me by on my application last year) and you will see that demonstrating strength in fine art alone is obviously insufficient to be admitted to good schools.

Upon skimming the posts, if there's one poster in this entire thread who you should listen to, it's CMNDCTRL. Architecture is a shit profession - stay the hell out of it.

Aug 8, 10 3:47 pm  · 

@therebyfar: if all you have for your portfolio is fine art, you might as well give up this year because you will NOT get into ANY good architecture programs. This is coming from personal experience and thousands of anecdotes scattered across Archinect and elsewhere. Plus use a bit of common sense (which unfortunately passed me by on my application last year) and you will see that demonstrating strength in fine art alone is obviously insufficient to warrant being admitted to good architecture programs.

Upon skimming the posts, if there's one poster in this entire thread who you should listen to, it's CMNDCTRL. Architecture is a shit profession - stay the hell out of it.

Aug 8, 10 3:48 pm  · 

"Architecture is a shit profession - stay the hell out of it."

Alright - maybe this warrants a new thread, and there are probably a few active ones already, but what exactly is "broken" about architecture?

Instead of reducing it to a "shit profession" and griping about poor job prospects, is there a more productive conversation we can have?

I hear the same thing from musicians all of the time, mostly in regards to classical orchestras - how "no one cares about classical music anymore." What frustrates me is that they blame everyone but themselves.

The real reason that American orchestras are dying is that they refuse to make themselves an active and vital part of the community. The music conservatory scene completely plays into this - Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmoninav - anything else is unworthy of study. I'm wondering if the problem with architecture is similar in that the profession is not seen as a providing a necessary cultural commodity.

To turn back toward education - how might students turn education toward our personal advantage? I brought up videogame design because the market has actually grown in spite of the recession; there is certainly room for an architect, one with passion for the medium and the right skill set, to excel in that field.

And then there's the realm of humanitarian work and sustainable design - perhaps the recession is a good thing. We can stop and re-assess the need for development when the world can't sustain our species as it is, and we do a pretty shitty job of taking care of our own.

Aug 8, 10 4:25 pm  · 

Royce - I will respond because I realize my comments could and SHOULD seem harsh to someone not in the profession.

Architecture, unlike orchestra, relies on profit to work. Many orchestral groups are non-profit, and supported by donations (much smaller donations than would be required to build buildings though). The few for profit orchestras are comprised of the TOP musicians. This is equivalent to Zaha's and Thom Mayne's out there. But what about the rest of us?

First, banks are not making profit by lending. Right now, they are getting money from the fed with almost no interest, and earning ~3% interest in bonds. This deal requires NO risk - it is guaranteed money. This means they are not lending to developers/owners to build because even if they could make a few more points on interest (try 1-2) they would be taking a LOT of risk to do so. People don't have jobs or money to repay mortgages right now. This means it is far safer to simply keep the money in bonds. Moreover, there is no DEMAND for new buildings right now. The residential market is almost as bloated as the retail market (most likely 30% over-built). This situation is not likely to change soon, which is the reason building will not happen in the PRiVATE sector any time soon.

But, governments (state and federal) are also broke. Very few states were able to balance their budgets these past few years because there are so many unemployed people to support first. That means that states do not have the money to build hospitals, schools, and other public program for quite some time as they dig out of this debt. This is the part of the field that keeps many architects at work during recessions. Since both PRIVATE and PUBLIC money is basically non-existent, that means no one has money to hire an architect. Which is why the field is basically 50% unemployed right now.

In the mean time, many architects have taken "survival work." That is, work that pays the bills, which entails renovation, repairs, retrofits, and other work like this. This is NOT design based in general, and this is NOT new construction in general. That means that new grads are essentially worthless for this work. A new grad is not able to keep his/her billable hours low enough while putting together a good set of CD's to make his or her employment necessary, or even possible. They also cannot stamp the work. There is so little profit that many principals take this work simply to keep an office in business at all.

This all means that when new applicants are working themselves into a frenzy over the best school they can get into, they are putting the cart before the horse. There are many more architects per capita than there used to be. Undercutting costs is the way architects generally compete (especially in a climate like this) which means that new grads are basically the last in line for a job. Sure, there are still some big projects going through for the top names, but make no mistake these people are generally VERY well connected. And add that to the fact that clients can get FREE work by calling it a "competition" and it makes it difficult for a young architect/firm to break into the REALLY good work (near impossible in fact). Add that to a 1000$ monthly student loan payment, and you have a recipe for welfare. Education has inherent value of course, but is only really worth the (unusually high) debt they give architects at ALL schools if there is a possibility for employment afterwards.

I am not trying to be negative, I am trying to be realistic. There will be room for a few of you out there. This is most likely the top few PREPARED (read - VERY FEW) students from a few of the top schools. The rest of the employment for young architects (which will account for VERY, VERY FEW PEOPLE WITH JOBS OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS) will come from sheer luck/connections. The percentage of employment is bad for top business schools right now at 85%. But it is not even ON THE MAP for architecture schools - hovering at 5% or so. I have looked into this. This number is reflective of the top 10 or so undergrad and grad schools.

I hope this warning keeps a few people from looking back after a few years on unemployment, with 20 more years of student loan payments left to make, no house, a crappy car, very little time for family and no hope for retirement, and saying "I wasted my life for something I am not even that passionate about any more" (and you won't even know if you will be passionate for it until you have been in the grind for 10 years). If that is even a possibility, then I will feel like these posts were worth it. I am applying to business and med schools in the fall. Best of luck to you all.

Aug 8, 10 5:15 pm  · 

CMNDCTRL - which business schs are you gonna apply to ? and why med school? Do you have an M.Arch? And why wont you consider going into a related field, say, urban planning or real estate development ? There's still a strong demand for urban planners and professionals who have a good business sense. If you have an architecture background, I think it's gonna be a huge boost to your future career in either UP / RED.

And since this is a thread for 2011 M.Arch applicants, I suggest you give some tips to applicants, just so that this thread is kept alive and relevant.

Aug 9, 10 4:05 am  · 

Question - for those of us who have no background experience in architecture/art and are trying to get into M. Arch Programs. I have talked to several admissions representatives from various schools and they all recommend finding a job/internship in a firm. Is this even possible, given the economy and no experience?!

Aug 9, 10 12:44 pm  · 
Token AE


Dual undergrad/ graduate degree in Architectural Engineering

GPA: 3.8 MAE/ 3.55 BAE/ 3.60 overal
Runner up for best senior thesis in subdiscipline

EIT license

GRE: Mid september, shooting for 750Q+650V minimum

Recs: Department head/ thesis advisor, faculty advisor, an arch prof I have been using for advising, and possibly an employer

Applying to:

UC Berkeley

Work experience:
1 summer at a large design firm
1 summer at an AEC software company

Portfolio: 20% done

I would ultimately like to enter healthcare design upon graduation.

Any thoughts on my list? I would love to stay east coast and not be $150,000 in debt.

Aug 10, 10 9:32 am  · 

cjw5027 - Where did u do ur architectural engineering degree? Is it a structural engineering degree or equivalent?
Thx dude

Aug 10, 10 10:09 am  · 

@CJW: You need to add Clemson to your list of potentials. They have a lock on healthcare architecture.

Aug 10, 10 10:22 am  · 
Token AE

@Sheeks: AE is not a structural engineering equivalent. At the undergraduate level structural engineering is a large component of it, but there is also significant focus on mechanical engineering and HVAC/MEP systems, lighting and electrical systems design, and construction engineering and methodology.

At the graduate level you can either specialize or generalize- I chose to specialize in structural forensics and enclosure design, with a slight foray into virtual facility prototyping.

Some minor architectural design is in the curriculum, but it is in no way equivalent to a studio a pure architecture student would take. I went to Penn State.

@jakethesnake: Thanks a lot for the suggestion- you wouldn't happen to have any idea on whether or not they have a national professional placement history?

All of my friends/ family are in the Philly/ NYC area or coastal California- the southeast is a bit off the beaten path for me.

Aug 10, 10 11:03 am  · 

No schools have good national placement right now. Try about 5% for Harvard Yale and Columbia. It can't be much better for any other schools. This is information you can and should get from career services before you apply or especially attend. It will take some persistence, but the data is out there. Good luck.

Aug 10, 10 11:10 am  · 

@cjw: Contact the graduate director @ clemson. David A. Allison. He'll have exact numbers and figures.

Aug 10, 10 11:30 am  · 

i'm calling bullshit on 5% placement from Harvard, Yale, Columbia - cite your source

im see droves of new hires at my firm and most of them are from those three schools

Aug 10, 10 12:12 pm  · 

I was admitted to two of the three. My source is the actual school for two of the three and a friend for the third (worst of the three so I trust him). I have the numbers from the career placement office for 2010. 08 and 09 were so bad they would not even give me the numbers. I can post the emails tonight if you would like (with personal info edited of course.) Rest assured many schools will try to boost their stats (see controversies with law schools the past few years counting students "employed" at admissions offices et al.) The numbers I have are ACTUAL placement and they are dismal. I have no reason to lie. I call bullshit on your "droves" of new hires. Are they all new students? How many people is it? An what is this magical firm that seems to be hiring in "droves" while most can barely keep their doors open?

Aug 10, 10 1:39 pm  · 

I also attended two of the three. I forgot mention that. I got the stupid idea last year that ANOTHER pointless architecture degree would help me in this market. This year I am wising up and leaving architecture.

Aug 10, 10 1:42 pm  · 

corporate firms with an international revenue stream are not doing bad at all right now, cmndctrl - and there are alot of em in ny

5% is hard to believe... i don't think i *want* to believe it either =P

Aug 10, 10 2:11 pm  · 

@CMNDCTRL - could you please PLEASE stop whining? It is obvious you did not do too well for yourself and you want to blame everyone else except yourself.
@hellraiser - you are a douche. period. learn some humility, both of you.

For everyone else!
Be optimistic! This recession is an opportunity for us to change how we do architecture. The norms of our american society is shifting towards a more efficient way of living and working. Recession is a means of removing those ineffective, thin, unsustainable design solutions that plagued our country and our profession. (Isn't it great seeing the generic suburbs and shopping centers closing down?? Let all firms who design them burn in architecture hell. jk. seriously our profession's corporate culture is stuck in the 90's). This is an "AH-HA" moment for both architects and clients alike. A reference point where we can start from. Not only am I optimistic, I am thrilled.

ON a personal note: portfolio 19% complete :)

Aug 10, 10 8:38 pm  · 

Wait, you're not even an architect? Do you have any CLUE about the utter crap you are spewing? Actually, I do ok. Which is what very few new architects can expect. And take it easy with the name calling. When you have ANY credential at all, I MIGHT take you seriously. Are you seriously taking this stance on a message board with a lot of members who are unemployed? Have some sympathy for the idea of trying to support a family while on unemployment. I have friends in that situation and it is not something that being blindly "optimistic" can get you out of. Perhaps those people would have liked a warning. I will no longer remind you of your likely impending difficulty. But at LEAST don't be such a hypocrite, selfishly pushing your own (very immature) thoughts while making light of a situation that has altered the young lives of many talented architects for the worse.

Aug 10, 10 8:56 pm  · 

Besides, posting is somewhat cathartic, and last I checked this is a free country and you can't stop me. (My turn to be immature, nozzle).

Aug 10, 10 8:57 pm  · 

Optimism doesn't pay the bills, but neither does pessimism. All it takes is a stroll through the salary polls on this website to tell people that they shouldn't get into this profession if they are interested in making money or having a family or a life or hobbies or nice things (besides the two or three designer chairs you are bound to buy and the one or two nice black suits you will probably use for presentations...)
I'm at one of the aforementioned "top schools" paying 40k a year to get a degree to make sure I won't be unemployed, even if that means I'm living paycheck to paycheck. Currently in China working because I didn't get a job in the States, but then again, this is where the work is and there are allllllloooooot of firms hiring here.
So, I'm not too sure what I'm saying... I guess, before you get into this profession, think about if you are willing to be flexible. If you are tied to one city, either by family, friends, fees, or fear, then maybe you should do something with more job security? Dunno. An architect is what I want to be and what I love doing and I'm not interested in the whole family thing right now. Just keeping my eye out for a wealthy cougar and then I'll be set.

Aug 11, 10 3:34 am  · 

Good post, Peedy. I am sorry I have beaten the topic to death. I am just passionate because my life was irrevocably changed by something I could not have comprehended at the time. Good luck 2011 applicants.

Aug 11, 10 8:45 am  · 

@hellraiser - I remember seeing you another thread, sorry about your application experience last year. I really don't think all of your chances are shot to hell if you're using mostly fine art, and if there really are thousands of posts on archinect and elsewhere online indicating this can you direct me to them? What specifically did you use for your portfolio? I don't think it's necessarily common sense that artistic competence can't indicate any aptitude for architecture. I really depends on what you produce, so yeah if you've got nothing but portrait paintings I doubt that's very impressive. I have mostly abstract geometric stuff that spans a few different mediums. Then again maybe it all sucks and I'll get rejected everywhere. I'm still applying.

Aug 12, 10 10:55 pm  · 

So i don't understand where all this pessimism is coming from?

I graduated with my undergraduate from a "ok" arc school is california and trust me leaving school was the scariest thing, because the year i left was when it was at its worst. I was studying aboard, when i heard about my bank closing, and how my friends dad lost 50 k in the stock market. It was bad when i graduated. Maybe less then 1/4 of my class of 60 got jobs out of school, but the ones who strived was the ones who were welling to be flexible.

Working for the military in the planning department - starting pay is 60K

yeah sure its not directly "architecture" design work, but its valuable experience that can transfer into an architecture design firm.

Our profession is cyclical, i remember at my old firm he said that this happens every few years and the firms that stick around are the ones that are more well around.

Point is work hard, and don't give up. If this is your calling, be flexible and search. It took me 4 months to find a decent job. ( I wasn't even looking that hard. )

a year after graduation. more then half my graduating class have jobs directly related to architecture while a strong 1/4 of my class are working for large big name firms.

The problem is when you graduate from one of these top tier schools or whatever you have your nose in the air and can't work a small design and build firm. You think because of where you graduated from you deserve something.

Where ever you go to school, develop a strong network, this is what will land you a job. Talk to your professor more, do work in studio more, and be friendly.

Ps. To add this I will be attend one of these so call top tier school in the fall and will have my nose in the air. My ambitions lay in teaching though.

Aug 13, 10 4:11 am  · 

Hey Hellraiser, is there any chance of you posting up your portfolio online? Im interested to see this great fine art that was rejected from every school you applied to... didnt you say in that other thread that you graduated in Math/Econ and not F.A.?

I was accepted this summer to my first choice with scholarship money from a portfolio that was almost 100% fine arts projects I had done (also had a single Planning project), and they have a relatively low acceptance rate as well.

Aug 13, 10 5:31 pm  · 

Cal Poly SLO

Arch and a minor in Math-----3.3 GPA currently

Porfolio - needs work on the digital side. Portfolio color coded, hand bound, 2 types of paper (one type for plans/proj description that are 1/4" longer for the color coding and one for images). Still need to take GRE and soon. No work experience because I'm in the process of writing 2 essays that tie philosophy and architecture which I want to put in the portfolio, so I've spent the past few years reading up on a lot and this summer writing my ass off.

Thinking of...
Cooper Union

Looking for schools that have programs as hybrids of Art and Arch or double Masters. Although looking mainly on the artistic side of arch, considering arch theory too.

Aug 19, 10 11:13 am  · 

^^^ Have you considered applying to RISD? I took some studios there as an undergrad and really seem to emphasize aesthetic in their teaching of architecture. There's also a fair amount of opportunity to take studios courses in other departments, especially during their winter session.

Aug 24, 10 1:29 am  · 

Does anybody know anything about Sci Arc M.Arch 2 program? I did my B.Arch at Penn State and wanna move to a city. From looking at google earth images the Sci Arc studio looks like something from world war II. I've heard a lot of good things about the school, (the technology available, lecture series...etc). Also I've heard that they emphasize on digital fabrication. Can anyone tell me how digital fabrication is benefiting the profession, and why does Sci Arc M.Arch 2 concentrate on projects using CNC routers that look like curved waffles? why is that the new thing? My last question, is one year of professional experience enough before going to grad school?

Aug 24, 10 6:04 am  · 

hi all! i lurked hard last year so now seems like a good time to join in. it really is interesting/helpful to some degree to see how other people do it, so i'm sure the 2012 applicants will get something out of this thread.


3.8 gpa from columbia with an arch theory major
gres: 750 v, 700 m, 5.5 w
will have 2 years work experience in a firm
recs will be from boss, undergrad adviser, and professor
portfolio is totally not done but i had to complete one as a grad requirement so i'm not starting from scratch. it is a combo of studio art (i was a studio art minor) and undergrad architecture studio work, as well as some things i am credited on at work

applying to:

i consider myself to be very lucky as i am happy with my current job and have no reservations about sticking around if i don't get in to any of the above.

good luck everyone!

Aug 25, 10 1:17 pm  · 
CMNDCTRL that a reference to the strongbad fishing song? if it is, you are awesome. what year did you graduate from columbia? wow...i miss morningside heights as an undergrad....if you need help/advice specific to the GSD, let me know.

good luck.

Aug 25, 10 2:56 pm  · 

Hey guys, anyone wants to comment on the Rice grad program?


Aug 26, 10 11:31 am  · 

@dsh5016: the Sci-Arc building is not your typical campus building. Like a lot of architecture schools the building itself has a strong impact on the school culture. I'm sure there's a lot to grumble about as far as the building goes, but the culture that comes out of it seems pretty good.

Benefits of digital fabrication to the profession tend to be:
A) architects take more responsibility in the translation of design to reality, a material precision enters into the design sooner, errors of shop drawings and revisions are avoided, etc.. (similar to arguments for BIM)
B) digital fabrication allows a degree of accuracy which enables or is necessary for certain complex forms. In particular it makes it similar to do non-identical series of parts at great savings of design time (and if done intelligently doesn't cost too much extra realization time). In theory experience with machine knowledge is still useful even when projects scale up to the point that fabrication is being done by some large curtain wall firm, for example
C) -usually unspoken- fab projects are a fun way for students/small practitioners to work on complex and technically demanding projects with a lot of impact and possible publicity.

Curved Waffles are the new thing because grids are easy to make from a NURBS surface and simpler for beginning coders, and curves are necessary to introduce the kind of variation that produces non-identical components which are needed to make digital fabrication the more efficient route.

One year of professional experience is fine, but since the program is short, think awhile about what you want to get out of it / focus your studies on before going in.

Aug 27, 10 8:22 am  · 

Thanks a lot!! are u an M.arch 2 student there? if so could u please tell me about the work load compared to 5th yr undergrad.

Aug 27, 10 10:13 am  · 

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