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Important Lessons Learned in 25 Years of Architecture Practice

09:30 - 18 May, 2017
Important Lessons Learned in 25 Years of Architecture Practice

This article was originally published by Archipreneur as "The 10 Most Important Lessons Learned in 25 Years of Architecture Practice."

The article is an expansion on one part of Archipreneur's interview with Craig Applegath, Founding Principal of DIALOG’s Toronto Studio. The architect spoke from his experience of running a 150-person practice and listed 10 tips for archipreneurs interested in starting their own business. Archipreneur shares that list here.

When I first started my own practice I thought everyone wanted to run their own practice. It turns out not. Most people just want to work in a great practice run by someone else. But for those who are real archipreneurs – and you know who you are – there is nothing so thrilling and fun as starting your own business; and nothing so scary and anxiety producing as starting your own business! They are the flip side of the same coin. But in terms of general advice for people starting their own practice or business here are ten key lessons I have learned over the past twenty-five years of practice:

US News and World Report's Best Job Ratings Find "Very Solid" Outlook for Architecture

16:05 - 31 March, 2017
US News and World Report's Best Job Ratings Find "Very Solid" Outlook for Architecture, The Offices of ALA Architects. Image © Marc Goodwin
The Offices of ALA Architects. Image © Marc Goodwin

The US News and World Report has released their 2017 list of “Best Jobs,” based on a variety of criteria including salary, employment rate, growth potential, future job prospects, stress level and work-life balance.

Despite describing the job outlook for architects as “very solid,” overall, architecture finished outside out of the top 100, coming in 7th (out of 8) in the “Engineering Jobs” category. Find out the expected salaries for architects and which cities pay their architects the best, after the break.

How To Earn A Six-Figure Salary as an Architect

09:30 - 17 January, 2017
How To Earn A Six-Figure Salary as an Architect, © Skitterphoto via Pixabay (Public domain image)
© Skitterphoto via Pixabay (Public domain image)

This article was originally published by The Architect's Guide as "How To Earn A Six Figure Architecture Salary."

Architecture salary. Perhaps one of the most talked about and passionately debated topics in the design community. I receive more emails on this subject than almost anything else. 

Previously, in 5 Factors Affecting Your Architecture Salary, I covered several variables that contribute to your income. However, for this article I want to highlight the areas that will produce the best return on your investment of time and money. 

While earning six figures doesn't mean what it used to, it is still a very admirable (and achievable) goal. So how do you go about reaching this significant architecture salary milestone? Let's discuss.

Freelancing as an Architect: The Pros, The Cons, and Tips for Success

09:30 - 22 November, 2016
Freelancing as an Architect: The Pros, The Cons, and Tips for Success

This article was originally published by Archipreneur as "The Pros and Cons of Starting out as a Freelance Architect."

Freelancing can be a great option for architects looking for more autonomy and freedom in their work. Although there are drawbacks to this kind of work, there are specific strategies that you can use to overcome the challenges and uncertainties of going solo.

It is easy to look down on freelancing. Those who are employed by a traditional company or firm see freelancing as an inferior work model that automatically implies less financial security and suggests to employers a loose definition of responsibility. People often imagine freelancers as slumming it in their pajamas doing just a few hours of work per day, or as Jacks-of-all-trades, overworked and constantly chasing new commissions. While data from recent studies and surveys show that freelancers do indeed work fewer hours than those in traditional employment, the rising number of freelancers proves that this trend is not waning. In fact, according to recent reports, increasing numbers of US and European workers are choosing to go freelance.

21 Careers You Can Pursue With A Degree in Architecture

08:30 - 7 November, 2016
21 Careers You Can Pursue With A Degree in Architecture, © Ariana Zilliacus
© Ariana Zilliacus

Completing a degree in architecture can be a long and arduous process, but also wonderfully rewarding. Despite this, many freshly graduated architects find themselves unsure about where to begin, or deciding that they actually don’t want to be architects at all. Here is a list of 21 careers you can pursue with a degree in architecture, which may help some overcome the daunting task of beginning to think about and plan for the professional life that awaits.

© Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus © Ariana Zilliacus +9

Opportunity Space

07:00 - 19 October, 2016
Opportunity Space, New arrivals at Malmö Central Station. Photo: Johan Bävman
New arrivals at Malmö Central Station. Photo: Johan Bävman

Europe’s migration crisis has intensified the need for cities to develop new tools and strategies to help people build skills, earn a living, and establish their place in society. To address this challenge, New York-based design nonprofit Van Alen Institute has launched Opportunity Space, a competition inviting multidisciplinary teams to propose a temporary mobile structure in Malmö, Sweden that will support a wide range of social programs.

The winning team will receive a $10,000 prize, a $5,000 travel budget, and up to $25,000 to implement their proposal in and around Malmö’s Enskifteshagen Park for two months in spring 2017.

8 Tips on Becoming Successful as a Sole Practitioner

09:30 - 11 October, 2016
8 Tips on Becoming Successful as a Sole Practitioner, Perhaps the most famous contemporary sole practitioner is Glenn Murcutt, who still works alone in spite of winning the Pritzker Prize in 2002. Image © <a href=''>Flickr user unrosarinoenvietnam</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>
Perhaps the most famous contemporary sole practitioner is Glenn Murcutt, who still works alone in spite of winning the Pritzker Prize in 2002. Image © Flickr user unrosarinoenvietnam licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This article was originally published on Redshift as "Go Your Own Way: 8 Tips for a Sole-Practitioner Architect to Build Credibility."

If you’re a sole-practitioner architect, you’ve probably already thought long and hard about the pros and cons of working solo, and don’t feel the burning desire to work in a bustling office environment with large-scale projects and constant collaboration. There are plenty of upsides to running your own practice. “I have it pretty good as a sole practitioner,” says Portland, Oregon architect Celeste Lewis. “I love the flexibility it provides with having a child, parents who are ill, and my passion for being involved in the community.”

But along with the benefits come challenges. One of the biggest is proving you’re worth your salt in a competitive marketplace alongside larger, bigger-reputation firms. Here are eight tips to help sole practitioners—who make up nearly 25 percent of AIA-member firms—build credibility.

9 Reasons to Become an Architect

07:00 - 24 August, 2016
9 Reasons to Become an Architect, © Leandro Fuenzalida
© Leandro Fuenzalida

Making the decision to pursue architecture is not easy. Often, young students think that they have to be particularly talented at drawing, or have high marks in math just to even apply for architecture programs. Once they get there, many students are overwhelmed by the mountainous tasks ahead.

While the path to becoming an architect varies from country to country, the average time it takes to receive a Masters in Architecture is between 5 and 7 years, and following that is often the additional burden of licensure which realistically takes another couple of years to undertake. Knowing these numbers, it’s not particularly encouraging to find out that the average architect does not make as much as doctors and lawyers, or that 1 in 4 architecture students in the UK are seeking treatment for mental health issues. These are aspects which architecture needs to work on as an industry. However, beyond these problems, there are still many fulfilling reasons to fall in love with the industry and become an architect. Here are just some of them.

The Top Architecture Résumé/CV Designs

06:00 - 17 August, 2016
The Top Architecture Résumé/CV Designs

A few months ago we put out a call for the best architecture résumé/CV designs. Between ArchDaily and ArchDaily Brasil we received over 450 CVs from nearly every continent. We witnessed the overwhelming variety and cultural customs of the résumé: some include portraits, others do not; some include personal information about gender and marital status; others do not. In the end, however, we based our selection on the CVs that stood out from the hundreds of submissions. We looked for CVs that transmitted the personality of the designer, their ability to communicate visually and verbally, and perhaps, the most intangible criteria for evaluation—the "creativity" of the CV. The documents below represent the diversity of styles and formats that just might land you a job at your dream firm.

What Were Your #FirstSevenJobs?

12:30 - 15 August, 2016

Last week, the latest craze to hit the Twittersphere was #FirstSevenJobs. An interesting mix of nostalgia and self-congratulatory posturing, the hashtag had seemingly everybody on the social media site sharing how they took their first seven steps to where they are now. For architects though, whose path to their ideal job is often long and torturous, the hashtag may have offered a little solace: with notable and successful architects, educators and critics sharing how they took their first tentative steps into the profession, those still working towards their goals can be reassured that, no matter where they are now, success could be on the horizon.

With that in mind, we wanted to extend the hashtag to our users: what were your first seven jobs, and what did you learn while doing them? What was your experience like in getting to where you are now? And do the jobs that many architects have in their early years reveal anything about the architecture profession?

How to Ensure that Your Online Architecture Portfolio is On Point

09:30 - 15 August, 2016
How to Ensure that Your Online Architecture Portfolio is On Point

Why should I even have an online portfolio?

A portion of working in architecture includes having to market yourself and your skills. "One minute networking" is a skill that many architects learn in order to be successful in the creative field, but having the gift of gab requires you to put your money where your mouth is. If you have an online portfolio which is accessible with just an internet internet connection and a digital device capable of viewing it, your work is always conveniently available during your networking conversations. It's also helpful for sharing your work in online conversations: while a pdf of your print portfolio can really only be sent by email, practically every messaging app or direct messaging service built into social networks will allow you to send a link, allowing you to take advantage of an opportunity even when you weren't expecting one to arise. Finally, if you make it right your website can even do some of the advertising and networking for you.

The most important thing to remember is that like your resume or print portfolio, an online portfolio is a tool to help you advance your career, so it must be useful towards your goals. Therefore instead of asking yourself why you should have an online portfolio, you should ask yourself what those goals are, and how your online portfolio can be optimized to help you achieve them.

Now that we've gotten that question out of the way, here are 8 other questions to ask yourself:

The 80-20 Rule: The Key to Producing Better Work in Less Time

09:30 - 25 July, 2016
The 80-20 Rule: The Key to Producing Better Work in Less Time, © Max Griboedov via Shutterstock
© Max Griboedov via Shutterstock

This article was originally published on ArchSmarter as "How to Work Smarter with the 80-20 Rule."

“OK, let me see your list.” I was fresh out of architecture school and working on my first project as a designer. It was one week before our design Development Deadline. The project manager asked me to draw up a list of remaining design issues.

“Here are the ten things I have left,” I said as I handed over the list. “It was hard to prioritize them. They’re all really important.” I was fortunate to be working with an experienced project manager who, in addition to being extremely patient with me, saw it as her responsibility to mold and shape green architecture graduates into fully functioning architects. Not an easy task...

26 Things All Architects Can Relate To

09:30 - 18 July, 2016
26 Things All Architects Can Relate To, © hvostik via Shutterstock
© hvostik via Shutterstock

Working in architecture is always a challenging experience in which you just never know what might happen next. That said, there are a number of things we can collectively relate to as a part of this industry. Here we've created a list of things we're all too familiar with—whether that relates to finishing projects, working with clients, or just dealing with people that totally don't even know what goes on in architecture. Which ones did we miss?

Two Qualities You Need to Succeed in an Architecture Career

10:30 - 25 May, 2016
Two Qualities You Need to Succeed in an Architecture Career, © wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock
© wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock

This article was originally published by The Architect's Guide as "The Two Qualities You Need For Architecture Career Success."

In a survey of 104 Chief Executive Officers reported in Success Magazine a few years ago, they were presented with 20 qualities of an ideal employee, and asked to select the most important.

86% of the senior executives selected two qualities as being more important for career success and advancement than any others:

How to Convince Your Firm to Pay for Training

09:30 - 20 April, 2016
How to Convince Your Firm to Pay for Training, © Matej Kastelic via Shutterstock
© Matej Kastelic via Shutterstock

Young designers, fresh out of school, often have incredible potential to contribute to their new firm: with fresh skills and capabilities that may have passed by the company's older members, they are in an excellent position to make their mark. But maximizing this potential may require expensive training courses, and asking your firm for that opportunity can be daunting. In this article originally published on ArchSmarter, Michael Kilkelly recounts a tale from his own early years as an architect to demonstrate that getting your firm to pay for training may be simpler than most young architects imagine.

When I was a young architect, only a few years out of school, I became interested in 3D rendering. This was back in the mid-nineties so the technology was primitive compared to today. 3D Studio Max had just come out and my firm had a copy.

After work, I would play around with the software. I did a few renderings of the project I was working on as a way to learn the software. The project designer saw them and got excited.

Why a Career in UX Design is Perfect for Dissatisfied Architects

09:30 - 23 March, 2016
Why a Career in UX Design is Perfect for Dissatisfied Architects, © Sentavio via Shutterstock
© Sentavio via Shutterstock

This article by Gavin Johns was originally published on Medium as "Architects, stop everything and pursue a career in UX."

As an architect turned user experience (UX) designer I have many strong opinions about both my former and my current profession. But in short, I am now enjoying greener pastures, getting the fulfillment I expected while studying architecture but the profession didn’t provide.

Many like-minded architects ask me when and why I decided to transition into software. This puts me in the unusual position of praising the initial skill-set achieved by studying architecture, while promoting departure from it. That said, I have a very abstract definition of architecture, and believe if you have the interest to pursue any other design discipline, you’ll be successful. This guide is intended for those driven and curious architects who are looking for a change.

7 Reasons Working Abroad May Be Bad For Your Architecture Career

09:30 - 6 January, 2016
7 Reasons Working Abroad May Be Bad For Your Architecture Career, London. Image © Route66 via
London. Image © Route66 via

Traditionally, the start of a new year is a time for making plans and optimism for the future. As a result, it's a time when many architects might start dreaming of moving their career to an unfamiliar and exciting country. But as Brandon Hubbard explains in this article, originally published on The Architect's Guide as "Is Working Abroad Bad For Your Architecture Career?" there are many reasons that you shouldn't be so hasty to cross borders and seas in an attempt to advance your career.

Architecture, perhaps more than any other profession, is filled with people who want to live and work abroad. 

Are you in Mumbai dreaming of New York City?

In Seattle thinking about a life in Rome?

Some architecture students get a taste for travel while in school. Study abroad programs in the US are quite common. Often when students finish their degree they are drawn to the idea of living abroad.

A doctor can easily find a person wandering nearby. An accountant can easily find an excel spreadsheet. Architects don't have the luxury of buildings coming to us (that would be cool though). We have to go to them. This has inspired generations of architects to pack their sketchbooks and travel.

Beginning Your Career in Architecture: 3 Candid Pieces of Advice for Emerging Professionals

09:30 - 4 December, 2015
The offices of BIG. Image Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
The offices of BIG. Image Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Last year Kevin J Singh, an Associate Professor of Architecture in the School of Design at Louisiana Tech University, adapted one of his lectures giving advice to students as they embark upon a new career into an article. That article, titled "21 Rules for a Successful Life in Architecture" and published on ArchDaily in September 2014, was a runaway success, becoming our second most-read post of 2014 and among our most visited articles of all time.

As a result of his article's success, this year Singh has taken his 21 rules as a framework for a new ebook, "Beginning Your Career in Architecture: Candid Advice for Emerging Professionals." The ebook not only elaborates on the 21 rules from the original article, but also offers questions to the reader that lead to actionable goals, giving them the nudge they need to start out on the right track. In the following excerpts from the book, Singh addresses voicing your opinions, finding - or rather creating - the role that suits your skills, and making the world a better place.