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Any Architects on Board? - Page 2

post #16 of 32
Arch will be a huge step up from the course work you are doing in accounting. I went construction management and the arch kids are up with us until 5am a lot of nights. The people who are seriously unsatisfied work for large firms. I know plenty of small architects that love what they do and have the power to do interesting things daily.
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by bingebag View Post
The people who are seriously unsatisfied work for large firms. I know plenty of small architects that love what they do and have the power to do interesting things daily.
You speak the truth.
post #18 of 32
Back in the late 70s I was with a NYC firm that was probably the firm for those at the forefront of architecture (well, the large firm variety of forefront). In such a firm, to be a designer one needn't have a degree in architecture ... as the only people stamping drawings are the partners. I recall that one of our best designers had an English degree.

After I started my firm (never more than ten people), we hired a high school kid one summer who had great design talent. We mainly had him building study models and I quickly saw his design abilities. I tried to get him to go to architecture school, but he parents wouldn't hear of it. Even after he graduated with a Plain Jane BA degree, he continued working with us and I finally hired him full time. By this time he could take a small project from start to finish.

Ultimately he did get a degree ... becuase as I approached retirement age ... I knew he was one of the two to whom I wanted to leave my firm. That would have been impossible had he not had a degree and ultimately a license to practice.

Now I'm not saying that this was/is common ... but it does happen.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by L.R. View Post
Man, I'll gladly except that stereotype. You know what is the coolest thing in the world? Looking at ancient works and ancient architecture. I'm serious, it gives me a high. If I could find a job in a museum that didn't force me to take on the debt of another 6-years of schooling, I would. Architecture is basically functional art, on a giant scale. And the older, the better. (Or at least cooler)

Good thing you didn't go to arch school - it would have probably disappointed you.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by RSS View Post
Back in the late 70s I was with a NYC firm that was probably the firm for those at the forefront of architecture (well, the large firm variety of forefront). In such a firm, to be a designer one needn't have a degree in architecture ... as the only people stamping drawings are the partners. I recall that one of our best designers had an English degree.

After I started my firm (never more than ten people), we hired a high school kid one summer who had great design talent. We mainly had him building study models and I quickly saw his design abilities. I tried to get him to go to architecture school, but he parents wouldn't hear of it. Even after he graduated with a Plain Jane BA degree, he continued working with us and I finally hired him full time. By this time he could take a small project from start to finish.

Ultimately he did get a degree ... becuase as I approached retirement age ... I knew he was one of the two to whom I wanted to leave my firm. That would have been impossible had he not had a degree and ultimately a license to practice.

Now I'm not saying that this was/is common ... but it does happen.


That's a great story, RSS. Cheers.
post #21 of 32
Be like me and take the easy way out and go into landscape architecture or urban planning with a heavy design focus. Oh wait... this industry is just as shitty as the architecture industry is right now. At least I work on the public side of things so I've got that going for me...
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by bingebag View Post
The people who are seriously unsatisfied work for large firms. I know plenty of small architects that love what they do and have the power to do interesting things daily.
It is the opposite for the architects I know.
post #23 of 32
Advantages to small firms -Better, more passionate co-workers -More satisfying and "personalized" work -Diverse daily routines -Better "mentorship" atmosphere for younger people -Better chances for in-house promotions -More intimate client relations and creative control Disadvantages to small firms -Limited networking -Generally less opportunity for glamorous commissions re: scale & budget -Very, very unstable workload/revenue -Lower wages -Longer, less predictable hours Advantages to large firms -More reliable paychecks/project commissions -Better hourly pay -Higher profile commissions -Better hours and benefits -More upward salary mobility -Better networking and resume opportunities -Better technology resources Disadvantages to large firms -Less satisfying work -Less passionate and more cynical employees -Lower quality design -Less freedom for risk; more conservative and derivative client interests -Much more economically based design and penny pinching -Monotonous daily routine -Less design opportunities and experience for younger people -Poor mentoring environment -Nepotism in hiring/firing practices -Expendable employees & high turnover rate
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
It is the opposite for the architects I know.
I'm very glad I began my career working for several large high-profile firms. While it was exciting ... and it gave me invaluable experience ... the schedule and general stress levels were both overwhelming at times. I remember one six month period where I worked 9AM to 10PM (or later) seven days a week without exception. Once when my father visited town, I took off to have dinner with him and one of the senior partners saw me at the restaurant. The next day he asked, "Are you a professional or a dilettante?" He acted as if it were improper for me to take off one evening to dine with my father. That was tolerable while I was younger ... but I couldn't see spending my life in that environment.

After a few years of the above, I transitioned to a lower key firm to handle their residential clients. When the firm decided to abandon residential projects ... I took the clients with me and began my own small firm with the intent that it stay small and low stress. I wanted it to be something I -- and those working for me -- could enjoy. I've never been happier.

Projects are exclusively single family residences in the $2M to $20M range. It was/is plenty exciting/rewarding for me ... and I had/have a life to boot.
post #25 of 32
Really, generalizations between "large" and "small" practices are just that...the field is simply too broad to render these generalizations very useful at all.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by venessian View Post
Really, generalizations between "large" and "small" practices are just that...the field is simply too broad to render these generalizations very useful at all.
True, I am only speaking for myself.
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by RSS View Post
True, I am only speaking for myself.

My apologies: I was not referring to your post.

Your rough 6 months does bring back harsh (but also very good, often) memories...I averaged 52 hours/week...for 14 years.
Not a joke.
I think I'm still tired sometimes.
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by venessian View Post
My apologies: I was not referring to your post.

Your rough 6 months does bring back harsh (but also very good, often) memories...
I especially remember the camaraderie during those late night sessions. I recall one night when we had the radio on ... and voila ... Dr. Ruth. It was the first time any of us had heard her. We laughed so hard I'm sure no work got done for at least fifteen minutes. We couldn't decide if she was genuine or a parody. Oh, the fun.
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by RSS View Post
I especially remember the camaraderie during those late night sessions.
Yes, exactly; good times, great friendships, fun experiences.
post #30 of 32
When I was in my 2nd year of A-school, the first day our professor said "Anyone who wants to become an architect to get rich, there is the door. Now, if you like working long hours for low wages and having your work constantly under appreciated and/or bastardized to a point beyond recognition, you're in the right place." I'm coming up on 5 years out of school, and while I don't find it nearly as grim as my professor's description, it also is not an easy field. It can also be frustrating watching friends in other fields quickly "climb the ladder" while seeming to put in 10% of your effort, but I don't think I would trade places. I was laid off a few years ago and could have gotten work in the local industry making much more than I do currently, but I went and worked construction while I searched for a job with a good firm instead. I honestly feel like architecture is what I was meant to do, and I truely enjoy my work.
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