Background of Architecture
Architecture is the creative practice of designing and constructing buildings, monuments, and other physical structures. It’s also a vibrant academic field of study – one that is often seen as an extension of the humanities and the fine arts, while still firmly rooted in the rules of engineering and science. Architects often design to a client’s specific expectations and create plans that are both aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound. As of 2020, nearly 1 in 8 jobs in the US involve the design and construction of built environments.
People that pursue architectural studies do so for a variety of reasons. Some like the idea of designing places and spaces where people will live and work, while others enjoy the challenges of problem-solving inherent in architecture. Still others are drawn to the technical aspects of the field, where a mastery of mathematics, physics, engineering, and even computer science can help to push boundaries for what can be achieved with design.
What makes a Good Major for Architecture
There are many different degrees that can help prepare someone for an architectural career. The most popular majors that students choose when preparing to pursue architectural degrees involve math, science, engineering, and art. Math and science help to develop problem-solving skills, engineering teaches the technical aspects of building design, while art classes focus on the aesthetics.
Programs designed around architecture could include classes in 3-dimensional design, building construction, and industrial design. This can be followed up with electives in project-based learning, interior design, lighting design, and urban planning, among others. Majoring in architecture can provide a student with the skills necessary to pursue several different types of careers within the field, including drafting, construction management, and even architecture.
Architecture programs also tend to include courses in sustainability, which can help with the design of energy-efficient buildings. This could involve building techniques such as passive design and geothermal energy, as well as exploring using renewable energy sources.
What Types of Degrees are Best for Architecture
At the undergraduate level, Associate’s, Bachelor’s and even Master’s degrees can be found in architecture. Those aspiring to a career in architecture may select a 2-year Associate’s program, which can be a stepping stone to higher degrees. The Bachelor’s program is the most popular, as it is the degree many employers require.
At the graduate level, students can pursue a Master’s in Architecture, which may span a year to three depending on the country or university. Master’s programs often add to the basic architectural training one typically receives as an undergraduate. This way, they enhance the student’s knowledge of materials, engineering terminology, and building regulations.
Future Avenues and Job Prospects
Future avenues for architecture graduates include urban planning and project-management roles. With the rise in digital media, architects can also pursue opportunities to work as virtual designers. As one part of the urban-planning sector, architects can develop designs for transportation networks, leisure and recreational areas, and renewable energy sources, among other things. They can also work with governments and local authorities on town and city planning, from designing new buildings to redeveloping entire areas.
The job prospects for Architects remain quite good as the field continues to thrive. Most Architectural firms tend to hire entry-level individuals to look after the organization of material, systems and drawings. As a graduate’s experience grows, they may advance to higher positions, including management roles.
The Role of Technology
The role of technology in Architecture has grown exponentially in recent years, due to advances in software development and computer-aided design. Architects use a range of design and architectural software to develop competitive building designs and generate realistic images of a project before it is built. They must be familiar with both 2D and 3D drafting software, as well as construction and engineering software programs such as AutoCAD and Revit.
The field is expected to continue to evolve with technology. For example, virtual reality has been increasingly adopted to create three-dimensional models of building designs, helping architects demonstrate how their ideas will look in reality.
Skillset Required for Success
Architecture is a combination of design, structural engineering, and technical knowledge. A successful graduate of Architecture should possess an eye for detail, excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, the ability to work under pressure, a strong work ethic, and a true passion for design.
An understanding of building materials, methods, and construction techniques is a must, as is a proficiency in CAD software. In addition, Architects must have a good knowledge of local building codes and regulations, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with clients, contractors, and other professionals.
Advice for Aspiring Architects
As with any professional field, it’s important for prospective Architects to gain as much experience as possible. Relevant work experience, internships, and even volunteer work can be particularly useful as they allow aspiring Architects to practice their craft and make valuable contacts in the industry. It’s also important to remember that Architecture is a highly competitive field – applicants should take the time to craft a standout portfolio and make sure they are aware of the latest trends.
Many architectural firms have specialized areas of focus, such as health care facilities, commercial centers, or public works. It’s beneficial for applicants to find a firm that focuses on areas they are interested in. Finally, aspiring Architects should also look to professional organizations such as the American Institute of Architects for advice and guidance.
Entry Requirements for Architecture
The entry requirements to study Architecture vary from one institution to another. Most institutions require a portfolio of architectural work, though some also accept portfolios of creative work from other fields. Most institutions also require satisfactory scores on standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, or GRE for admission.
In most cases, applicants must also have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4-point scale. Some institutions may require applicants to complete an interview and/or take an aptitude test in order to determine if they have what it takes to become an Architect.
Finding the Right Institution
When it comes to finding the right institution to pursue Architecture studies there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, prospective students should make sure that the program they are considering is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the relevant regional accrediting body. Prospective students should also take into account the faculty’s qualifications, the facilities and the type of program they are considering.
It is also important to consider the location of the institution, as Architects are highly sought after. Finally, prospective students should take the time to read reviews from past and current students, to get a sense of what it is really like to attend that particular institution.