Architecture?
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Hello,

My name is Oscar and I am thinking about starting Architecture in September. I am extremely scare as I am not sure whether this is a right move.

My background is in business but I have not enjoyed the profession for a long time. I am thinking about living my job in March and have a "career break" for a few months as I am getting very frustated.

I also like teaching but Architecture is my passion although it is soooo long...I am 37 now and I will be 38 by the time I would start the course. Am I too old to be successful in the profession?

If there are any mature students there who are doing or have done Architecture, I would be very grateful if they could tell me their experiences and what they think.

If I do not do it this year, I will not do it.

Your comments would be much appreciated.

Thank you.
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jrhartley
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I started my Part 1 when I was 32 - on reflection I think if I had left it any longer, it would have been too late. I know people who were older than me who started at my school - people in their mid 40s - and they tended to drop out by the end of the first year.

The thing that I didn't appreciate when I started is how important it is to get experience and how difficult it can be to get that experience. I am lucky enough to have a very good and progressive employer, but I think if you are applying for Part 1 jobs in your 30s, you are at a disadvantage to people in their mid 20s - they have more energy, fewer family commitments and can slog it more than us oldies. I don't want to put you off, but if you think about it, you will be looking for Post Part 2 jobs aged 46 which will be paying you £18-22K at today's prices. If you are happy with that and accept that you will probably be discounted by a large proportion of firms straight away because of your age, and you are ready for an almighty slog, then go for it.
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TheMeters
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I'd say it's deffo only something you should consider if you want to do it because you love architecture, not because it's going to boost your career or earn you any real money.
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Architecture?
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Thank you for your comments.


jrhartley, thank you. Very useful. Did you finish Part 2? According to what you said, you are working? Are you enjoying it? I do not have family atm, I do not have any dependands.

I am a little confused my my career and life. My main issue is that I am not enjoying what I am doing at the moment and I have always liked Architecture. I am looking at documentaries about Architecture all the time but another thing that I do not want to do, is to spend 7 years of my life studying towards getting the qualifications, spending money and not earning money (as I will not be working), and after, not find any job.

Probably, it is a dream that I should be forgetting about and getting on with my life. Trying to find something else. I also like teaching. I was thinking that doing Architecture first, if I cannot find any jobs, I could teach Architecture. Or doing Part1 and teaching in the Uni... How do you see this? Do you think it is difficult?

Honest opinions are much appreciated.

By the way, where are you studying Architecture?

Thank you very much.
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Stasiaxx
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(Original post by jrhartley)
I started my Part 1 when I was 32 - on reflection I think if I had left it any longer, it would have been too late. I know people who were older than me who started at my school - people in their mid 40s - and they tended to drop out by the end of the first year.

The thing that I didn't appreciate when I started is how important it is to get experience and how difficult it can be to get that experience. I am lucky enough to have a very good and progressive employer, but I think if you are applying for Part 1 jobs in your 30s, you are at a disadvantage to people in their mid 20s - they have more energy, fewer family commitments and can slog it more than us oldies. I don't want to put you off, but if you think about it, you will be looking for Post Part 2 jobs aged 46 which will be paying you £18-22K at today's prices. If you are happy with that and accept that you will probably be discounted by a large proportion of firms straight away because of your age, and you are ready for an almighty slog, then go for it.
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Architecture?
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Any other experiences from other people would also be much appreciated. Architects? Mature students?
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sheffjunkie
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(Original post by Architecture?)
Any other experiences from other people would also be much appreciated. Architects? Mature students?
I have just started my 4th year after taking a few years out working after 3rd year. I wasn't a mature student when I started, but I am finding it very tough coming back to studying after the working world. Life as an architecture student means no time, no money, and constant student guilt when not working. It's very hard to keep a proper social life with people who aren't architecture students.

In regards to the teaching, I think you would have to complete up to RIBA III in order to teach Architecture at degree level. Perhaps you can do a PGCE and become a high school D+T teacher after Part I though.
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jrhartley
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(Original post by Architecture?)
jrhartley, thank you. Very useful. Did you finish Part 2? According to what you said, you are working? Are you enjoying it?
yes, i'm just about to start my part 3 course, so that's another load of work on top of working. i enjoy the work, its very varied, but it puts a huge strain on you. i'm working now, and have been every evening this week until 11, starting at 8. its good in the sense that i'm learning a lot and its great experience, but it does take its toll in terms of stress and in terms of free time.

up to you, but there's nothing to stop you getting more into architecture as a hobby rather than consecrating your whole life and career to it. you might want to think about maybe doing a short course or summer school to see what you think before committing fully?
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Architecture?
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Thank you very much once again.

I am an accountant now and I would like to get out of the profession. As I said before, I love architecture but probably it is not worthy at the end as probably something that I love, I could end up hating it because of the time involved, work and finance.

I get very frustated as I do not know why I did not do it when I was much younger.

I do have a PGCE in Higher, Further and Adult Education and probably I should persue teaching in Higher Education or Secondary. I am also Spanish which I think I could teach Spanish and try to have a life.

Thank you once again. If there are any architects that could also provide a point of view, please feel free to comment. It would be much appreciated.
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Architecture?
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Thank you jrhartley.

One more question. Please, would you be able to let me know the type of tasks that you normally do in the practice? You were working in the practice from 8 to 11pm?

You have been working since you completed part 2?

What was your motivation to start architecture? Were you working in a different field before you started architecture?

Thank you once again.
Oscar.
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jrhartley
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(Original post by Architecture?)
Thank you jrhartley.

One more question. Please, would you be able to let me know the type of tasks that you normally do in the practice? You were working in the practice from 8 to 11pm?

You have been working since you completed part 2?

What was your motivation to start architecture? Were you working in a different field before you started architecture?

Thank you once again.
Oscar.
In work 8-6, working at home until 11ish. Its general design stuff - from pre-app applications all the way through to detail design on a renovation project I'm running. Its all really interesting but the thing that all architects and architecture students will recognise is that there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Plus, you really want everything you work on to be as good as it possibly can be, so you really beat yourself up about details / junctions, thinking if there's a better / more cost-effective / simpler / easier way of achieving something. Obviously, as you get more experienced and you've worked on more projects, you've got a better depth of knowledge and resources to draw upon, but when you are reasonably new to the industry, it is hard to get everything done in a day.

I was working in finance before architecture. I switched after 8 years as I think its important to keep challenging yourself and I was feeling very complacent in my previous job, and it was also completely parasitic. I was keen to do something with a longer time frame and more social responsibility and work in a profession (as I believe that skills in a profession are the only thing that can be defended long term - and we are all going to have to work until we die!).
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Architecture?
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Thank you. It is similar to what is happening to me. I am working in finance and I am not stimulated. I am dying being alive. My always concern about architecture is my age otherwise, I would not think about it twice. I think the profession is very rewarding as you are creating something. You are building something and also you will leave legacy of the work you have done.

With finance, I see it very doll. Everymonth we do exactly the same.

If I end up doing Architecture, I will be doing it in Cardiff (if they finally accept me, they just requested my portfolio). It is a huge decision as I was telling you and I do appreciate your honestly. No everything is fantastic as I need to think about loads of things (money, work to put in, and future prospects, my partner, my family in Spain...).

Have you thought about setting up your own practice? I am thinking that if I do not get work once completed the course (due to my age: I guess if I star at 37-38, I will be 40-41 once completed Part1, one year out, and 43-44 once completed Part2, and I guess you can complete part3 while working) you can always set up your own practice or teaching. Also, you will star earning a little bit of money once done part1 and I guess you can do part2 and 3 while working?

As you mentioned, we will get retired once we are very old... and probably it is worth doing it (as I will still have many years to work - from 45 to 70 - ).

Thank you once again for your honesty and help.

Best regards,
Oscar.
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catoswyn
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(Original post by Architecture?)
Thank you. It is similar to what is happening to me. I am working in finance and I am not stimulated. I am dying being alive. My always concern about architecture is my age otherwise, I would not think about it twice. I think the profession is very rewarding as you are creating something. You are building something and also you will leave legacy of the work you have done.

With finance, I see it very doll. Everymonth we do exactly the same.


If I end up doing Architecture, I will be doing it in Cardiff (if they finally accept me, they just requested my portfolio). It is a huge decision as I was telling you and I do appreciate your honestly. No everything is fantastic as I need to think about loads of things (money, work to put in, and future prospects, my partner, my family in Spain...).

Have you thought about setting up your own practice? I am thinking that if I do not get work once completed the course (due to my age: I guess if I star at 37-38, I will be 40-41 once completed Part1, one year out, and 43-44 once completed Part2, and I guess you can complete part3 while working) you can always set up your own practice or teaching. Also, you will star earning a little bit of money once done part1 and I guess you can do part2 and 3 while working?

As you mentioned, we will get retired once we are very old... and probably it is worth doing it (as I will still have many years to work - from 45 to 70 - ).

Thank you once again for your honesty and help.

Best regards,
Oscar.
I would never tell anyone not to do something they are strongly committed to doing whatever age they are. As you point out working life is so much longer nowadays anyway. However architecture does take so long! It is also so competitive so keep your mind open as to where the degree might lead. Maybe look at related fields too... such as town planning which leads into employment more easily. There's garden and landscape design etc. Also think what you could do with an architecture degree that is not just about pure architecture careers just in case. Specialise for instance in something like renovations of historical buildings or look at an Masters in something like archeology/analysis of ancient buildings or there is broadcasting, journalism etc etc Anything where your new skills may be able to be used. To teach I'd guess you'd have to be involved in research too.

Cardiff is mean to be an excellent course so good luck!!!
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Architecture?
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Thank you Catoswyn.

I do like when people say do or not do it. Jrhartley seems to have an opinion as he started as a mature student. I like that. He is being very helpful too.

I just want to gather as much information and experiences as possible before I make the final decision as it is an important decision.

Something that I also need to take into consideration is the possibility of transferring the skills and degrees to Spain and I will be going back to Spain in the future.

I hope to have a better idea before September.

I am also a people person and I also like teaching and it seems to be easier to get into the profession.

I am between the two of them: Architecture vs teaching (Spanish, or maths).

The ideal scenario would be to do Architecture and teach Architecture but I am not sure due to the length of time ....

Anyway, we will see what happens.

Thank you for your comments.

Best regards,
Oscar.
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jrhartley
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(Original post by Architecture?)
Have you thought about setting up your own practice? I am thinking that if I do not get work once completed the course (due to my age: I guess if I star at 37-38, I will be 40-41 once completed Part1, one year out, and 43-44 once completed Part2, and I guess you can complete part3 while working) you can always set up your own practice or teaching.
Not really a very viable option to be honest as a part 2. You need to work for really two-three years after part 2 to get into a strong position to do part 3, and you really want to stick around and get experience. you do not come out of part 2, or even part 3, for the most part, with anywhere near the experience to run a practice. never mind the design side, you need to know about practise management, the law, dealing with contractors. to be effective, you need a lot of experience, and any clients will want to see some sort of track record and things you have built. people i know who have set up on their own with little experience have found it very hard - you need to be amazingly talented, have a lot of cash behind you, and a huge amount of luck. as you get more experience and you get better, it is more attractive, but that said, i know architects with 10 years post part 3 who are amazing designers who are finding it very hard to get by at the mo, and there is also the factor that you are working on your own most of the time, which can be pretty hard.
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Architecture?
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I see. Thank you once again.

Are you missing finance? Or to are sure now that you made the right decision? To be honest, I am 100% sure I want to change but I am soooo scare of leaving the job and what to do afterwards.... I am finding it very difficult at the moment. I cannot concentrate in work and my personal life is really bad due to the fact that I am not sure what to do....On the other hand, I am getting a little dissapointed with Architecture now by reading your comments which I like as they seem to be realistic. I do not want to get into something that I will end hating (after spending so much time and money in it). By the way, where are you studying Architecture? Probably, I should just taking a career break and investigate a little deeper the options.
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bone-machine
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I think its good that you came on here to ask all these questions as I think its helped to clear up some myths that surround the profession. In my honest opinion i think its probably too late to be starting and while I've seen many people start architecture late in life (so many people tell me they 'wish they'd studied architecture' ) they almost always drop out. The nature of the course is punishing and trying to juggle it with mortgages, fiancés, children often becomes too much. not to mention that with some life experience under your belt, life often just seems 'too short' to be working late into the night on hypothetical buildings for 5 years.

the course is also very tiring/all consuming so may effect your relationship with your partner. There is a saying : 'Art is a jealous mistress, and if a man has a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider' while that's a bit dramatic its worth taking into consideration.

Also, i think its worth mentioning that while 'architecture' sounds glamorous, realistically once your working, you get very little time to actually 'design' everything is constrained by budget and timescales and you will spend the majority of time working on quite mundane tasks...its not all like that. but more then you might think

As said above, starting out your own practice straight away is unrealistic and it will probably be harder to get placements later in life when they are seeking 20 something's who can work all hours due to few commitments. It will also be hard to get into a position of teaching architecture as they will want fully qualified architects of an excellent standard . plus there are comparatively very few architecture teaching slots around the country


On a plus side, It sounds to me that you have all the skills and qualifications already to be a successful Spanish teacher!. This would be quicker and probably more fulfilling for you. I have a few friends that have gone onto teach after not being able to find jobs after part 1 and they are very happy and tell me that i'm an idiot for still doing the course!

don't be scared of leaving your career if your deeply unhappy, but make sure (as you are) you do the research and decide to switch into one that will actually fill the void you feel.
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bone-machine
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Probably, I should just taking a career break and investigate a little deeper the options.
take a sabbatical and go travelling wth your partner!!!! *dreams*
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Architecture?
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Thank you Bone-machine... Very helpful. Are you a mature student?
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Architecture?
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Thank you very very much for your post.
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