1. Scale of projects
real: takes years and year vs. school: projects are in one semester. - that has two big impacts.
- Day to day is spent in one phase of a project. Many of those days, you may not be doing design work.
- You might get put on DD or CA for the next couple of months. in school, you have a month to research, a LOT of time to design, and a month to present.
- IRL, you will be a part of a team, doing one aspect of a very large of the project. vs. independent work
2. Complexity of projects
- Buildings are complex. Working with engineers and the City is a critical part of the project.
- A big part of your job is coordinating with the engineers, checking their drawings, making sure they work with the overall concept.
3. Real life Constraints
- You don't choose the program. Program is given to you. You can go as far as choosing the firm that does a particular type of projects.
- It's all about budget. Most projects have a specific budget and time you need to work with. You may have to value engineer as you go, and adjust your design to meet the budget.
- You have clients who will cut ideas, MOSTLY on budget concerns
4. Career (Specialization)
- Because buildings are so complex, it most of us in this field choose a specialization.
- You can specialize in a building type: residential, commercial, renovation, passive house, swimming pools, community centers, etc.
- You can specialize in a particular role: project management, detailing, construction admin, spec writing, rendering, design, etc
4. Career (Working for a firm vs. Working for yourself)
- Two very different paths
To work for yourself:
- you better find a niche and be a business person, not just an architect (you should enjoy doing marketing, admin, and legal stuff)
- you control what you do, but may not necessarily get to do the variety and cool projects as working in a firm
To work for a firm:
- build up skills that are valuable to a firm, which can be all of those mentioned above, esp. if you can bring in clients, that's the best
- in the end, try to fit into skillsets required by the firm, which is a business
- more collaborative, bigger and more interesting projects
- most larger, municipal projects will be in a firm
- If you don't want to do business and focus on what you're good at, this is a good path for you
Work for a Starchitect
- You get to be involved in work that you learn about in schools, see in magazines
- lots of them, is run on slave labour, because students are willing to work for very little
- To get licensed in Canada, you need 3700 hours of work
- In a lot of cases, it is difficult to hit all those hours, especially in a big firm
- Sometimes you might have to switch firms to get those hours
In Canada, we have the ExACs, which happen once a year in November. In the US, there's the AREs, which happen multiple times throughout the year.
ExACs are divided into five sections:
- Section 1 - Programming - Site and Environmental Analysis - Coordinating Engineering Systems - Cost Management - Schematic Design - Design Development
- Section 2 - Code Research (test of speed!!)
- Section 3 - Final Project
- Section 4 - Bidding and Contract Negotiations - Construction Phase – Office - Construction Phase – Site - Project Management
- AREs are divided into similar sections
There are people who will tell you it's not worth to get licensed but that has not been my experience.
- You bring much more value as a licensed architect,
- Your firm can charge out more for your services
- You learn much more, just by sitting down and studying them
- It will make you a better architect.
- You will not make as much money as someone who just came out of a six year degree, like a lawyer
- This is because firms still need to train you to be a real life working architect
- Schools don't train you for that
- To increase your starting pay, you can do summer jobs or work during co op
Strategize early on in your career
get your license as soon as possible
- You will most likely will get raise
- Getting your license helps you understand all phases of project
- You can bring more value