Something that I believe in

I just happen to come across this post and it just struck a cord with me.  With all my work on an affordable LEED Home and the AIA Ohio Affordable Green Home Design Competition, what this architect writes about is exactly what I believe in and want to advocate as my professional career progresses.

The Case for Affordable Housing & A National Energy Standard
They must go hand-in-hand. ( October 2009 )

Certain items are needed for all people to live a decent (modern) life: decent housing, decent (safe) food, clear (safe) water & air; fair wage/job; access to health care.  All other things are possible (for a people) from there.

Making a (high end designer) commodity of any of the aforementioned, makes those items inaccessible by lower income people and the poor, and now we see, inaccessible to even the middle class in America.

Behind affordable health care, Affordable Housing is the largest problem facing our nation.  When jobs are harder to get, it makes it that much harder to maintain one’s health, and to maintain a decent place to live.  Basic, decent housing, healthcare and  food are a human right.

Continue reading the article at ShantyWorld

Looking to drop the title "Intern"

For most of us in the architectural profession, this past year has been painful.  Many have lost their jobs, and a good amount of us have had pay cuts, which is equally stressful with the amount of strain it puts on our families.  However I have taken the attitude that even though the time is difficult, you just need to push through it.  Because even with the few jobs that are out there, the competition is fierce.  I interviewed for a new job a couple of weeks ago to try and get my salary back to normal just to be able to provide for my family better, and I was up against 15 other people.  That was just how many they interviewed, who knows how many resumes they actually received.  Because I think the latest statistic that I heard was that close to 30% of the architectural profession is without a job.

I also believe you need to prepare for the worst.  Now for a lot of us, stashing money in a savings account is not an option.  But there are other things that can be done.  My local AIA chapter (AIA Columbus) recently held a seminar for the recently unemployed on various issues to consider if you decide to work for yourself.  Believe it or not, a lot of architectural firms get their start during a recession (article).  Attend AIA meetings and other events and start networking with colleagues.  Let them know who you are and what you are up to.  Even though they may not have work to take you on at that time, keeping an open line of communication with others will put you in the loop when new jobs are available and that personal connection may help you get your foot in the door.  Because it truly is not always what you know, but who you know.

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NCARB raising the ARE fees in October

So my return to blogging is not starting off on the right foot.  I must have a lot of pent up anger that I do not know about.  Well anyways it was announced a couple of months ago that the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) is going to be raising the exam fee beginning October 1st of 2009.  They are raising the fee from $170 to $210.  Only $40? Those of you not in the profession may be asking why are you bitching about $40.  Well multiply that by 7.  That brings the grand total of the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) to $1,470.  That is more than the bar exam that lawyers have to take.  And in most cases they make much more money than architects.  And what make this number even more difficult to swallow is that most architectural firms do not reimburse their employees for taking the exams, let along giving them the time off needed to take the exams that range from 2-6 hours in length.

The attached blog post from the Architectural Record (NCARB Increasing Test Fees), gives some incite into why NCARB is raising their fees.  However this is not a good thing for the profession.  Already the trend for most architecture graduates is to never obtain their architectural registration that would allow them to legally practice architecture on their own.  As long as they are working for an architectural firm they see no need.  However this is resulting in less people getting registered every year.

Another step closer….

I found out last week that I passed another one of my exams, Building Technology.  So at this point I have passed 3 of the 9 exams that are currently required to obtain my architectural license.  However I am still awaiting the results of two other tests that I have already taken. I have set for myself what is by today’s standards, a pretty ambitious schedule of taking one exam every 3 weeks to complete the exams by May 2009 which will allow me to stay with the current version of the exam.

For those of you who may be reading this and do not know what is involved within the architectural profession I hope this can help explain the process of what we must go through. To practice architecture in the United States, one must first graduate with a degree in architecture that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). This at a minimum is a 4 year pre-professional degree, plus a 1 year Bachelor of Architecture degree.

Once the graduate is within the work force, they must then enroll into the Intern Development Program (IDP) that is overseen by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). This process typically takes 3 or more years to complete all the requirements. Until recently most states required the graduate to complete the IDP process to even sit for the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE). On the other hand the majority of the states will now allow you to sit for the exam while earning your IDP credits. However you cannot become a licensed architect until you have completed all of the IDP requirements.

But the exam process is a grueling series of exams that test you on design, as well as general practice requirements from contractual obligations to site, mechanical and structural design of the building. The exams are to reflect the practice of architecture as an integrated whole.

Once you have completed the exam, you are then allowed to practice architecture within your home state. Though with today’s technology you can work on a project anywhere within the country and a license from other states can easily be obtained through NCARB by reciprocity.

I look forward to taking my next exam in a few weeks because it gets me one step closer to the end of this long process and will then allow me to practice architecture on my own if I choose to someday. ;)


Studying for the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE)

Well I have been back to the studying mode for some time now to take my exams to become a licensed professional. So if I choose some day, I can start my own architectural firm. I started off so well back in May by taking two exams within two months time, and having a goal of completeing all 9 by the first of the year. Well it is December 18th, and I have less than 2 weeks to hit my goal.

Well it is not going to happen. I do have an exam scheduled for New Years Eve however. I am finding it very difficult to sit down and study. But I consciously chose to expedite this process and have them all completed by June of 2009. So time to really sit down a suck it up and bury my head in the books after the kids go to be.