Starting Your Architecture Career: Standing Out from the Crowd

Relatively speaking, the architecture workforce is not the most massive. Firms don’t occupy entire office towers with thousands of employees in a single location. For that reason, especially in these economic times, it is a competitive industry and it can be tough to get your foot in the door. This brings us to another popular question asked by students in the Networking Event Series: How do you make sure you stand out in the crowd?

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What is the Most Sought-After Skill in New Architecture Hires?

Having spent a large fraction of our lives in school, it can be hard to imagine what qualities will be the most sought-after when transitioning into your professional career. Though the academic world builds key skills in innovation and presentation, the professional world is a much more complex entity with many more elements that come into play. So, how do you know what abilities are most sought after in new hires? This was the most popular question asked at this year’s University of Calgary EVDS Networking Event. As a result, it is the first question I would like to tackle in this Networking Event Series.

The University of Calgary Environmental Design Networking Event

Perspective is exactly what the Networking Event has provided for me the last two years I have attended. As discussions continued over the course of the evening I had the opportunity to share what makes me most excited about my career in architecture and what is so incredible about the firm that I am a part of. It all proves to be an exercise in gratitude, which is really an exercise that should be practiced every day!

Coming away from the event, I would like to share with you the top questions asked by students about beginning your career in architecture. I will recap our answers that we shared during the event over the next few blog posts in a “U of C Networking Event” series.

Weathering the Storm During a Recession

I feel incredibly fortunate to have graduated when I did, just slightly before things started to get bad. For that reason, I was able to find work right away. I know that students graduating now from architecture may not have that same luxury. In fact, I know as the recession continues employment isn’t necessarily set in stone for anyone. It never really is set in stone, is it?

Alright, now enough with all of the doom and gloom. Sure, times are hard, but there are a lot of ways we can create opportunities for ourselves. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on that with you here today:

Is Architecture Right for You?

I haven’t always known that I wanted to be an architect. It was an idea that had crossed my mind in high school, along with so many other ideas. I knew I loved art and design, right from the moment I could hold a crayon or mash finger paints. However, as the years rolled on I learned I loved a lot of other things, too. I’ve loved playing sports, reading true crime novels, dissections in biology class, and by high school I even loved calculus (thanks to one incredible math teacher). I am grateful that I have taken interest in so many different aspects of life, though that personality trait has led to somewhat of a convoluted path.

The Many Faces of Homelessness

Working as an intern architect has taught me so much more about what it means to be homeless and I know the learning process will never end. These lessons deserve far more attention than what can be given in a single blog post, so for today I wanted to focus on one:

Homelessness is a term that goes far beyond what many of us have come to know when we think of a person that is without a home. Homelessness may be related to mental illness and substance abuse, however it may also be related to war, natural disaster, verbal or physical abuse, divorce, family tragedy, severe injury or disease, and the list goes on. No cause of homelessness is more noble than another, each situation simply requires its own unique strategy to overcome. There are real people behind the term “homeless.” People of all socioeconomic walks of life, all ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations.

Reflecting on 2015: Learning as an Intern Architect.

January 2016 marked the beginning of a new year. I am not usually one to make a huge deal about the opportunity for a fresh start, however though 2015 was incredible, it was also very challenging at times. Some of those challenges inspired me to reassess the path I am on and how I can make it better. When I shared some of those goals with you, a friend of mine also inspired me to reflect upon 2015. As a result, I have decided to share with you some of the most important things I have learned from the first year and a half in my career.

The Real Challenges of Architecture School and the Profession Beyond

Every day I wake up thankful that I chose architecture as my career path. Does that make me a bit of a masochist, as they pointed out in the documentary Archiculture? I wouldn’t necessarily think it does, but then again the satisfaction I get from persevering through intense physical and mental hardships can’t be beat.

I recently spoke about why I loved architecture school, and also communicated my satisfaction in finding how architecture school compares to working. However, I don’t want to paint a one-sided picture for aspiring architects. So, let me tell you a bit about the realities of architecture school and working afterward. Read through and consider if these are challenges you are ready to face.

Moments in Architecture: The Angry Mob

I had heard the horror stories before. The dreaded Community Open House Events… One moment the architect is presenting their work, the next minute the audience is flinging hate-filled feces… Oops… I mean obscenities.

Before you cringe because I just compared the audience to monkeys – No, I understand they are human beings and I completely respect their opinions and concerns. However, there is just something scary about that mob mentality. We’ve all seen it take shape in one form or another. It’s the energy that can turn happy-go-lucky citizens into a looting, car-flipping, fire-starting, mob – simply because their hockey team lost.