So, the last essay started a series of essays on the topic of Selecting a Program.  Well, the first step is to answer the question – Why Architecture?

Why Architecture?

Why do you desire to become an architect? Have you been playing (building) with Legos since you were a young child? Did a counselor or teacher suggest architecture to you because of a strong interest and skills in mathematics and art? Or are there other reasons? Aspiring architects cite a love of drawing, creating, and designing; a desire to make a difference in the community; an aptitude for mathematics and science; or a connection to a family member in the profession. Whatever your reason, are you suited to become an architect?

Is Architecture for You?

How do you know if the pursuit of architecture is right for you? Those within the profession suggest that if you are creative or artistic and good in mathematics and science, you may have what it takes to be a successful architect. However, Dana Cuff, author of Architecture: The Story of Practice, suggests it takes more:

There are two qualities that neither employers nor educators can instill and without which, it is assumed, one cannot become a “good” architect: dedication and talent. – Dana Cuff

Because of the breadth of skills and talents necessary to be an architect, you may be able to find your niche within the profession regardless. It takes three attributes to be a successful architecture student—intelligence, creativity, and dedication—and you need any two of the three. Also, your education will develop your knowledge base and design talents.

Unfortunately, there is no magic test to determine if becoming an architect is for you. Perhaps the most effective way to determine if you should consider becoming an architect is to experience the profession firsthand. Ask lots of questions and recognize that many related career fields might also be appropriate for you.

For the architect must, on the one hand, be a person who is fascinated by how things work and how he can make them work, not in the sense of inventing or repairing machinery, but rather in the organization of time–space elements to produce the desired results; on the other hand, he must have an above average feeling for aesthetics and quite some ability at drawing, painting, and the visual arts in general. – Eugene Raskin


But not just the WHY, but also the WHAT.  What is Architecture?  Below are some definitions from colleagues and friends.


The creation of space. John W. Myefski, AIA, President/Principal, Myefski Architects, Inc.

Architecture is the design and manipulation of the built environment to create a sense of place. It is a confluence of science and art that addresses programmatic and aesthetic requirements within the constraints of budget, schedule, life safety, and social responsibility. Robert D. Roubik, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Antunovich Associates Architects

Architecture exists in the harmony between sophisticated form, fulfilling a purpose and the tactile nuances of joining materials together. Rosannah Harding, AIA, Foundign Partner, HardingOstrow

Architects take big ideas and turn them into reality.  Architects build cities, buildings, parks, communities – physical and virtual.  They are visionary and incredibly practical at the same time.  Leigh Stringer, LEED AP, Managing Principal, DC @ EYP

Architecture is the art of designing buildings and spaces within a given set of parameters that include the programmatic needs of the project, the client’s budget, building code regulations, and the inherent properties of the materials being used. Great architecture finds the best solution to a design problem by using both creativity and practicality. Part sculpture, part environmental psychology, part construction technology, architecture is the combination of many separate forces into a harmonic whole. Carolyn G. Jones, AIA, LEED AP, Sr. Development Manager, Trammell Crow Company

The development of architecture is as much a design process as it is a simulation of inhabitable space(s) and building vocabularies. I will go as far to say that architecture is not architecture unless it was developed by means of an analytical process. Thomas Fowler IV, FAIA, NCARB, DPACSA  Professor and Director of Graduate Architecture Program, California Polytechnic State University—San Luis Obispo

Architecture is the built environments that shape the daily lives of people. Grace H. Kim, aia, Architect % Co-founder, Schemata Workshop, Inc.

Practical and artistic development of our environment. Winston Churchill once said, to paraphrase, what we build in stone we remember, so at some level architecture is about the creation of the making of memories and developing a sense of place. Mary Katherine Lanzillotta, FAIA, Partner, Hartman-Cox Architects

Architecture is about light, shadow, texture, rhythm, form and function. To me architecture is the practice of creating and affecting the built environment.  The practice of architecture is to understand what the problem is and finding a way to solve the problem at the same that is aligned with the vision I have for the project. Sean M. Stadler, FAIA, LEED AP, Managing Principal, WDG Architecture

As the Greek origin of the word defines it, architecture is both art and science. It is the practice of bringing these two objectives together in a manner of achieving “form, function, and design.” Kathy Denise Dixon, FAIA, NOMA, Principal, K. Dixon Architecture, PLLC; Assistant Professor, University of the District of Columbia.

To me, architecture is anything that can be designed—a chair, an app, a light fixture, a website, a logo, a film, a building, or a city. William J. Carpenter, Ph.D., FAIA, Professor, Kennesaw University; President, Lightroom

Architecture is the physical and spiritual transformation of chaos into order, darkness into light, and space into place. Nathan Kipnis, FAIA, Principal, Nathan Kipnis Architects, Inc.


As you can tell from the above definitions, Architecture is NOT the same to everybody; it is personal.  What is your definition of Architecture?

Feel free to share with us by contacting us at

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