IDer to Arch Des

Can IDer’s ever cross over to Architectural designers without Arch. degree?

sure, no reason you can’t design buildings.
you wont be able to get licenced however.
and with 50% unemployment in some markets you probably wont get a gig anytime soon.
do you still want to be an architecht?

no, I don’t want to be an architect, but possibly an architectural designer, so I can get more gigs beyond ID when times are tuff. Sometimes these architectural designer postings want and Arch. degree. sometimes they do not specify.

I have a few friends that have done it successfully, specifically because they could rapidly visualize on paper faster and better, and include more detail. I think there are a couple of guys on the boards here who have done it, especially in retail.

I could see ID sketching skills being extremely valuable for some architectural design consultancies. At one of my past positions we would bring in a “hired gun” to quickly knock out some concept sketches to show clients. I believe he had his bachelors & masters in architecture but his freehand design skills were mind blowing good. He could whip out 6-8 full blown designs in the course of a day.

I think entertainment design would be a very worth while area to check in to. You will typically be doing the fun side of architectural work. The profession of architecture is very different from what you are taught in school. With entertainment design you could work on anything from designs for resorts, casinos, night clubs, hotels, but also movie settings and prop design. You need more of an imagination for that field than most typical architectural work. With straight architectural design there are so many things you have to know in order to create a viable design that it begins to become a drag.

I have known of some larger companies that may have a position in house for what you are wanting to do. but typically they do prefer someone with an architectural background.

Can IDer’s ever cross over to Architectural designers without Arch. degree?

There’s a fine line here, and it’s the word “architect”. The word “designer” is separate, and distinct from the word “architect”. Just holding a “license” as an architect, per se, doesn’t allow one to design everything. At the same time one does not have to have a license, or even a degree in architecture to “design” structures.

In California Building Design Authority regs state that you may “design” Types III, IV, and V structures without any formal architectural/engineering education or “license”. These construction types cover single-family and multi-unit residential, light commercial, and decorative facades for heavier structures (store fronts).

The job description is; “Building Designer”. Anyone can do it, but there is a “Certified Professional Building Designer” classification for those with advanced technical training, and more than six years experience in the field.

A buddy of mine does it; he farms out the heavy calculations (structural load, heat-loss estimates, HVAC, etc.) to licensed structural engineers. Working in his favor, however, is the fact that he grew up with a nail-bag around his waist and a framing hammer in his hands working for his dad. There isn’t too much about building a structure he hasn’t actually done hands-on. I’ve pitched in on a few of his projects over the years; working with his clients to outline what they wanted via quick visualization of details and and interior design sketches.

I also have a friend that parlayed his Industrial Design/MFA skills into a seat with Disney as an Imagineer designing “Shows” (know to us as “rides”). The combination fit him perfectly… the unbridled spirit of exploration and enthusiasm of a child, coupled with photo-realistic illustration and extraordinary modeling skills (you should have seen his HO model train layout), tempered by a thorough understanding of mechanics, materials, and processes.

I basically hate his guts. . . . :wink:

Yes– I have a degree in product design, but have been working in architecture for the past 6 years. It’s a much different process, but I’ve been lured into the “fun” parts of the business. You’ll probably find that at lots of “architectural” studios, the principles don’t actually have architecture licenses anymore. I’ve worked for two of them.

It is really hard to go back and get a license after school. If you want to do mostly residential and small commercial buildings (under 10,000 SF I believe), you don’t need a license- this varies by state. You technically would need a license in each state that you build in, so for many studios, spending an eternity getting different licenses doesn’t make sense. Also, many designers aren’t going for the license because even architects need to get the referral help/ stamps from structural engineers on most projects- hence eliminating the initial arch. license need.

I am by no means discrediting licensed architects, but I feel that design is so inter-related, and hiring a good “designer” regardless of the license situation vs. hiring an architectural “engineer” yields in better projects for the client. The structural engineers are always involved at some point. As long as you have the drafting skills (Vectorworks/ CAD) and fabrication skills, it shouldn’t be a difficult transition. :slight_smile: