Should I switch over?

Discussion among students of architecture, planning, interiors, landscape, and environmental design. Occasional contributions by lurking design professionals.

Should I switch over?

Postby Alkan » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:31 am

I'm considering switching over to architecture from physics as my major. I've been interested in architecture for some time now. I see beautiful buildings and lust to be able to create such things, but I feel as though I might be attempting to jump across a very large gorge to get to a point where I would have some freedom to express things I see.

In other words, I don't want to end up stuck creating your run of the mill stuff if I were to make this jump.

I would describe to you why I think I would be good at architecture if I actually had anything to show for it. But because I don't, let's pretend I had the talent. What would my chances of actually being able to express that ability be?

It's a very tough call for me because I would be happy as long as I could find some smaller outlet of expression. I know that restrictions often involve the client's needs. Is it lack of talent or a client's need for something with a perfectly neutral appeal? Is there a reason that most schools and offices have white panel ceilings and rectangular florescent lights?

As you can see, I'm quite the newbie, and I have many questions. I'd like some honest answers.
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Postby phansford » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:55 am

First - the client still needs to be served. They may or may not want to let you spend all of their money trying to copy Frank Gehry..... and you seriously just might not be that talented. Clients do have a say in the aesthetics of a building. Like it or not.

Also - local zoning codes and design review boards are a hurdle. If you read most of the ordinances out there.... people would like us to design "colonial" buildings from now to eternity. They all want pitched roofs and the facade to have a base, body, and a cap. Although - they want the most modern looking car, lawn mower, TV, refrigerator, cell phone, computer, ........... :lol:

Cost is a factor..... and understanding how a building needs to be maintained. Those drop-in ceilings are there for a reason, but that does not mean you can't be creative.

Public work is typically where you can be most expressive. Particular libraries, performing art centers, college buildings.... but those commissions are limited in number compared to the overall market.

The fact is this.... if you work for a "run of the mill" firm.... you'll do "run of the mill" work. If you work for a firm that wants to practice design, you'll do some good work. If you're competent..... you'll end up in a "run of the mill" firm. If you have talent and push yourself, you'll be in a design-oriented firm.

Let me be very clear..... architecture is an art-based education. There's not a lot of math and science. It might be a very difficult transition for you.
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Postby Alkan » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:40 pm

Actually, it wouldn't be difficult at all for me to transition from math and science to art. I do a lot of artwork:

These are things I made for an indie space game in development since they have a contributions forum. I started doing this stuff in May, and I didn't do it every day, so I'm not terribly practiced as far as ships and buildings go: ... fbig-1.jpg ... ullWIP.jpg ... ething.jpg ... usship.jpg ... igate2.jpg ... edited.jpg

A couple of my ships have been refined by more experienced artists and have been modeled by some people and may very well make an appearance in the game when completed. But I'm not a game designer. I thought this is kind of a fun hobby to have, contributing stuff to this game. I like real things.

Here's something I did with Zbrush: ... acrazy.jpg

Here's some people. The drawings get older as you go down the line.

Sergei Rachmaninoff: ... PX0416.jpg

Bob Marley: ... PX0526.jpg

Random face, freehand, no reference(except the ear): ... RedMan.jpg

Anyhow, thank you for your response, it was actually what I hoped to hear.
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Re: Should I switch over?

Postby seraphatar » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:38 am


I liked the futuristic look of your city design and your space vessel designs. Have you considered going into animation instead of architecture? You might find it more creatively fulfilling than architecture because there's less constraints.

that being said, there is some interesting architecture being done. Look at the Evolo site as well as the sites for Zaha Hadid, Xefirotarch, Ushida Findlay and Calatrava. You might find some inspiration in their contents.

I was wondering if you might consider aerospace engineering as a possible field to go into if you're interested in science fiction themes.

No matter what you choose I wish you blessings.

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Re: Should I switch over?

Postby aNewRisingDesign » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:44 pm

It's always good, in my opinion to have a shared contrast in things. My example is that I'm going to school for both, Music and Urban Planning, and in the future going to get a masters in architecture. You have to do something you love but something you will also have fun doing. So you could always stay in physics, or go into architecture, or even animation/design like the person above me said. Yes it's a lot of schooling, and a lot of money, but in the end, you could be designing and building $500,000 and up homes each year, and taking your percentages across the board from building costs and labor.

If you have any other questions you could always ask me.
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Re: Should I switch over?

Postby WalkerARCHITECTS » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:21 pm

Architecture is a great profession... or it was. Currently the age discrimination is off the charts! :roll: WOW

Look before you leap!
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