Architecture is a profession that’s constantly changing. Whether it’s new trends in society, environmental changes or technological advances, there’s always something new to learn.
People in the software world talk about “the architecture” as being the fundamental organization of a system or how its highest level components are wired together. But architecture is much more than that.
1. It’s a creative profession
Whether you’re designing buildings, researching history or theory, or creating models – architecture is the profession for people who get their energy from making things. It’s a creative profession, and it’s never boring.
Many people choose to study architecture because they think it’s a cool, exciting career. And it is, in a way. But when you’re studying architecture, you’re also making a huge commitment to your future. Investing five years of time and money into something that doesn’t necessarily pay the best wages once you’ve graduated can be a daunting experience.
But it’s worth the effort. And once you’ve gotten your degree, there are many opportunities to pursue the field in different ways. Architects often become designers, but they can also be developers, project managers, sustainability consultants and much more. The possibilities are endless – and so is the creativity.
2. It’s a dynamic profession
If you’re an architect or design professional, you know that the AEC industry is constantly changing. And while it can be challenging to keep up with all the changes, there are also plenty of opportunities for growth and advancement.
Becoming a great architect takes commitment and desire. It’s not something that happens by accident or because you’re good at drawing. You have to love it and you have to be passionate about it to experience any measurable success.
Whether you’re working in a large firm or you’re freelancing, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies. This will allow you to be more productive and improve your workflow. It will also help you to stand out from the competition and attract more clients.
3. It’s a profession that’s in demand
Architects work in a variety of fields and sectors, including commercial and residential buildings, hospitals, schools, museums, shopping centers, restaurants and more. Because of this, there is a steady demand for licensed architects.
However, the field also has its challenges. Entry-level salaries are typically low and many architects don’t start making good money until they have a few years of experience under their belts. It can also be extremely stressful to design a project that will have a major impact on people’s lives, particularly if it’s a private home.
But if you are willing to make the commitment to becoming an architect, there is a lot of creative energy that can be unlocked within this profession. Just remember that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful, and it is definitely not for everyone. If you are not ready for the long-term commitment of a career in architecture, there are plenty of other options that may be more suitable for you.
4. It’s a profession that’s not boring
Whether it’s the financial cost of five years of study or the stress of dealing with clients that are investing often their life savings in their new home, there’s no doubt that being an architect can be a stressful profession. But that doesn’t mean it’s boring – on the contrary, architecture can be very exciting and rewarding.
While many industries are scared of letting their workers make mistakes, architects embrace it. That’s one of the reasons we find so much creativity in our work – even if your first idea doesn’t work, it’s usually worth pursuing.
Moreover, if you want a break from the pressure of a high-profile job (that requires a lot of competition to get onto) or client-facing design, there are plenty of other options for you within the industry. You can specialise in landscape, interiors, planning, sustainability, and countless other areas. And if you’re able to manage it, you can also switch specialisms over the course of your career. After all, nobody wants a predictable, boring career.
5. It’s a profession that’s diverse
Like all jobs, architecture is still observationally over-represented by white, middle-class, privately educated individuals. But if architects want to change that, they must take the lead and work harder than ever before to recruit, hire, and support people from underrepresented backgrounds into their firms.
Architecture is a profession with many specialisms: sustainability, landscape, interiors, and planning are just a few of the fields you can specialise in. And if you’re really interested, there’s no reason you can’t specialise in more than one area over the course of your career (or even pursue multiple specialisms at once!).
In addition to addressing the diversity issues within firms and universities, it’s also essential to show young people that architecture is a diverse career. That’s why initiatives such as A-Lab are so important – they help to break down the barriers that prevent people from pursuing careers in architecture. With more and more programs aimed at encouraging women and people of color to pursue careers in architecture, the future looks bright for diversity in our built environment!
6. It’s a profession that’s fun
Architecture is a fun profession that offers a lot of variety and is always changing. It’s also a profession that allows you to follow your passions, whether that be art, design, fashion, cities or travel. Plus, if you’re looking for a great way to make friends, architecture is definitely the field to be in.
Of course, being an architect is not for everyone – just like any other career path. It’s not as lucrative as many other fields and can be incredibly stressful, especially during the ARE. It’s also a very time intensive major – unless you study really hard, you’ll probably be spending most of your time in studio and sleeping (or trying to).
However, if you’re up for the challenge, there are plenty of benefits to this profession that can help make it worthwhile. If you’re still not convinced, I suggest you email some firms and ask if they’d let you interview someone or shadow them for a day or two! You’ll be surprised at how much fun it is and you may just fall in love with the career as well!
7. It’s a profession that’s challenging
Architects have to work extremely hard. They’re constantly pushing the boundaries and testing their limits. This can be very rewarding, but it’s also stressful. For many, the end result is that they feel burned out and exhausted. This is especially true for those that have children. The demands of raising children and being a practicing architect can be overwhelming.
Unlike most other professions, where mistakes can cost a lot of money and time, architects are encouraged to make them and learn from them. This is what helps to keep the profession fresh and exciting.
It’s no secret that architecture is a highly political and social field. Patrik Schumacher knows this better than most, having recently received a wave of criticism for his proposal to overhaul the ownership of public spaces in cities. There’s an unbreakable link between politics and architecture, and it’s important that the profession recognize this. We need to stop ignoring that, and work towards a more open, transparent and collaborative way of working. The future of our buildings depends on it.
8. It’s a profession that’s rewarding
Seeing your vision and creativity manifest itself in physical form is incredibly satisfying. You’ll also have a unique relationship to cities and will be able to see the work that went into making each city unique on a much deeper level.
Architecture isn’t for everyone though, there are many people that will be turned off by the math and constant learning of new construction techniques. Likewise, it can be difficult to have a social life because of the long hours you’ll spend in your office and working on projects that may take several iterations before you achieve your desired result.
Overall, if you’re passionate about design and want to make a difference in the world, architecture could be a good fit for you. But before you dive in, it’s best to weigh up the pros and cons so that you know what to expect and can be prepared for the profession’s challenges. Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. With that in mind, if you’re thinking about becoming an architect, be sure to do your research and consider all of the factors.