Thursday, January 6, 2011

Exhibit: Atelier - An Education of an Architect

My design professor Mario Ortega put together an exhibit with student work that opens tomorrow at the Coral Gables Museum. Student work from Design studios 1 - 4 will be on display.

If you are in the area please come by the museum. I have some of my studio work there as well...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Education in Architecture

It is that time of the year when lower division architecture students start applying to upper division schools for transferring out.

Finding the correct school can be challenging and time consuming, also many factors should be considered while doing so.

Some schools such as the one I am in right now, has 2 year lower division programs. They offer an Associate in arts or architecture degrees. Then there are 5 year schools. They have both lower and upper division programs. They typically offer B. Arch degrees that are accredited by the NAAB (To find an accredited program click here) . Then there are 4 yr architecture schools that offer Bachelors in Science or Arts of technology degrees. These are not accredited meaning you will not be able to get your Architecture license registration with this degree but with an accredited Masters degree for additional 2 years you will be able to solve this problem. If you are in a 2 yr degree program like me, then you have to search for an upper division school to complete the rest of your education.

The most important factor as I see it, when trying to decide which school I want to go to, is to find out what is it that I want to do with my career - what are my professional goals, where do I plan to end up in 15 yrs?

In my case I want to pursue a career in design research. I do want to be a practicing architect but I also want to be an educator and I think I will be able to continue my research work at an academic background better. One thing about knowing what to do is accepting the fact that what you think what needs to be done changes over time. My idea of what I must do with my life has evolved, but I the basic idea still remains since I was 16. So I am open to the idea that this idea of what I want to do with my career will evolve and transform as I go along.

Once you have the answer to this question, it would be wise to look at programs that suits your career goals - a program that is likely to support you achieving your goals. Of course, the majority of the responsibility is in the student's hands. It is up to the student to work hard and take themselves there. Even though the school you attend may play only a small role in your career, things such as the direction of the program and the focus of the program could be important in giving you the exposure you need to get to where you want. For example, if the school you pick has a program that focuses on historical architecture and you want to study experimental design research, that school may not be the right fit for your career choice. So do a bit of research, look at student work and see if you would like what the school does.

Then I would consider the other factors such as location, tuition fees and scholarship opportunities. Some cities are a lot more expensive than the others. Some colleges offer full scholarships to deserving students. In state colleges are cheaper than the out of state colleges in some occasions. Some private universities have scholarship opportunities that is not known much.

Often architecture is perceived as just designing a beautiful building. This has been my experience with my friends and family who cannot be blamed for thinking as such because even most people who go into studying Architecture start out this way. I must confess, even though I knew to a certain degree my architecture education will involve addressing issues like structural stability and addressing various issues in the environment, until I started taking design studios I didn't know how much critical thinking, design intellect, how much communication skills, how much patience and maturity will be required of me to become an architect. I now know the profession requires me to be a scientist, a philosopher, a designer, a critic, a team worker, show leadership, be innovative. I am glad I picked this profession. But there is a long way to go for me to become an Architect. The next step is for me to find that right school.