Are you wondering whether you should study architecture? or maybe you are already studying architecture and you have some concerns, then you’re at the right place.
Most of my blog posts are on the awesomeness of Architecture. However, there are a few truths that everyone seeking to study or already studying architecture should know.
So let’s jump right into it.
1. Studying Architecture is rigorous and time-consuming.
Unknown to most, at the university, architecture is a very intensive and time-consuming course to study.
One assumption a lot of people make is to think that architecture is similar to engineering. As a result, studying architecture is the same as studying engineering.
Yes, there are similarities. Nevertheless, the training is completely different.
A study conducted by Indiana University’s National Study of Student Engagement reveals that architecture majors spend the most time outside of their classes studying. Beating out even engineers.
On average, an architecture major will spend 22.2 hours a week working on projects and generally furrowing their brows.
Read archinect for more info.
The most tedious and time-consuming part of studying architecture is studio work. Students start taking studio at 200 level up until their last semester in the master’s programme. Usually a minimum of 10 semesters.
It involves Design and Jury presentation.
Students are expected to fully participate in the studio as it is compulsory. While at it, they are also required to take and pass all theory courses in order to graduate.
2. Without passion you won’t last long studying architecture.
If you survive through studying architecture and graduate without a passion for it, it is likely that you just persevered and didn’t enjoy it.
A successful study and practice of Architecture are driven by passion.
Your creative juice is fueled by your passion which can drive exceptional architectural works.
For some, the cycle of design can be very frustrating, thus, the stamina to be steadfast is required from your passion for architecture.
Architecture is unlike engineering where once the calculations and processes are right, everything runs smoothly.
Here, nothing runs smoothly in design. It is literally a to-and-fro movement till you get it right.
In addition, during jury presentations students come under intense scrutiny, questioning and sometimes criticism from design lecturers and jurors. Without a passion, you may easily get discouraged if this happens too often to you.
Practicing architects aren’t exempted from this criticism too. They just know how to handle it.
3. Becoming an architect takes a minimum of 9 years.
Shocking, Right? Well, to become an architect takes that long.
There are 3 basic stages to becoming an architect. Firstly, undergoing your undergraduate programme. This takes a minimum of 4 years in most universities in Nigeria and 5 years in a few such as FUTA.
The BSc architecture degree in Nigeria isn’t regarded as a professional degree, thus, you are required to undergo another 2 years of the post-graduate programme to acquire an MSc degree.
It is at this stage your degree is considered professional and qualifies you to register and sit for the professional exams.
In the US, the Nigerian BSc and MSc programmes are merged into a 5 years B.Arch programme which is issued as a professional degree.
With this professional degree, you proceed to take the professional examination. However, all over the world, the professional exam requires a period of 2-3 years of tutelage in an architectural firm before you can sit for it.
It is through passing the exam that you become a licensed/professional architect.
So in summary, if you are lucky you may spend a minimum of 9 years becoming an architect. when you add the 1-year compulsory NYSC in Nigeria.
4. Architects have very limited job options.
Today, architects upon graduation quickly move into private practice. This is a result of limited options for good-salary paying jobs.
If you dislike entrepreneurship and would rather work at an office job, architecture may not be a good choice of profession. Most architects run their own private practice.
Furthermore, the biggest employer of architects is architectural firms. These firms have limited capacity to absorb the large number of architects graduating annually.
Other job options that would have been available are construction firms, real estate firms, project management divisions of companies, interior design and landscape firms, physical planning divisions of government and institutions etc. But these organizations as well don’t employ a lot of architects.
To practice architecture successfully, you will need to at some point set out on your own. And this is best after you have acquired a license and some experience.
5. Remuneration is poor.
Has anyone ever told you this?
Most students want to as soon as graduation commence work and start earning. However, they quickly find out that entry-level remuneration for architects is poor. Especially when compared with other professions with long study time.
The cost-benefit analysis of studying architecture when compared with other professionals such as engineers, lawyers, and doctors is very discouraging. Though, with license and experience, the architects’ remuneration improves with time.
In the USA for example, professionals’ average salaries are:
- Architect: $84,910 per annum,
- Engineers: $98,199,
- Software developer: $102,470,
- Lawyer: $107,370
- Physician/surgeon: $214,400.
Visit US national occupation employment for more info.
In Nigeria, the salary difference is of a similar ratio. A fresh graduate of architecture takes home a salary in the neighbourhood of N75,000.
It may be a little more or a little less, as remuneration in this field is not yet regulated.
Bob Borson in his blog life of an architect said in response to an email he received from one of his readers:
“For starters, part of my response to every one of these sorts of emails is that architects can make a great living … but there is a balance between money and happiness that must be found and only you can determine where that middle ground exists.
There are lots of jobs out there that – strictly speaking – pay better than being an architect, but this is what makes me the happiest. As a result, I am willing to concede some salary to do what makes me happy”
6. Your expressive design may end in school.
Over 80% of architects upon graduation don’t design ‘starchitect’ type buildings.
In schools, students studying architecture are encouraged to design various building types pushing the boundaries of cost, construction methods/materials and codes etc.
They seldom get that opportunity in practice.
A good number will migrate to other careers, while the rest will end up detailing designs of other architects and designing simple, more realistic buildings.
7. Design in all architecture schools in Nigeria is manually done – by hand.
I am sure you didn’t know this. Undergraduate students of all schools of Architecture in Nigeria still draw with hand. While only a few postgraduate schools allow the use of Computer-aided drawing software at that level.
Even though professors of architecture have cogent reasons for this, It doesn’t take away the volume of work students are expected to do in so little time.
Gladly, computer-aided drawing and design software are taught to students as early as 200-level, nevertheless, they aren’t used in studio design at the undergraduate level.
I hope this will change soonest, as there aren’t any architectural firms in practice today, requiring graduate architects to draft with hands. In fact, without software skills, they are likely not to employ you.
These are a few things you should know before studying architecture.
With this knowledge, hope you will still study architecture. If you already are, How d you feel about studying architecture?