I was introduced to a father coaching his young son at a little league baseball field in Tampa, whose dugout I designed a couple of decades ago. He told me that his son wanted to become an architect, so I chatted with the young son and gave him a few words of encouragement.
That fortunate encounter provided me a basis to write this blog. So do you have a daughter, son, or relative that wants to become an architect and you are wondering how to help them chart a course from school to college? Here are some tips of what you can do for to help them.
EXPOSURE EXPOSURE EXPOSURE…
As soon as you discover that your child is interested in architecture, reinforce that interest by exposing him/her to great works of architecture. There are many websites strictly focused on architecture that you can channel them to. Encourage him/her to draw regularly and take drafting classes in school where he/she can use computer-aided design (CAD) programs. You may even buy them such Cad programs and let him/her play with it and design some houses and small projects. Art classes also will help him/her develop some artistic skills, which are important in architectural design.
If you are on vacation and visiting a city with the family, book an architectural tour of the city to further expose him/her to architecture. Many cities in the US and overseas have such tours, particularly cities with a rich architectural history that they promote to boost tourism. Television, particular the Science Channel, has programs about many new buildings being designed and built around the world. Watching those programs can help children further sharpen their interest in architecture.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA), which is the national professional organization for architects, has state chapters and local chapters around the country. If you google “AIA” along with the name of the state where you live in, you can find the closest local chapter AIA. If you contact them, they would welcome you and your child to visit their offices where they often display the architectural works of local architecture. The national AIA holds also an annual convention generally in May. It would be a great exposure and experience if you schedule your vacation in May in the same city. It would truly put your child in the biggest architectural event in the country and may leave him/her with a lasting experience on his/her path to becoming an architect, and possibly a great one some day.
If you live in a city that has a university with a school of architecture, it would be good to also call them and ask them to visit the school with your child. In fact, many schools of architecture around the country have some outreach programs in their community to get children exposed to architecture. It is a visit that would give your child an exposure to the work of architecture students and their design studios where they spend endless hours to complete.
It is never too soon to get your child exposed more to the profession of architecture if you detect an early interest that needs cultivating. The practice of architecture can be rewarding, but it is also hard work. It is a long process designed to ensure that the licensed architect will practice with a kin awareness of his/her responsibility to protect the health, welfare and safety of the public. As many older architects, less skilled with the computer, approach retirement, they open up space for younger architects who are savvier with the computer and the internet, which now play an important part in the practice of architecture. So to the boy I met with his dad at a little league baseball field, I say go for it and good luck.