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A Career in Architecture

Architecture influences every aspect of our lives – through the houses we live in, the buildings we work in, the places we spend our leisure time and even the streets we move about in. Everything that is built around us has an impact. This is true even of buildings we never enter but just pass by every day. Architecture is inescapable, so it is important that it be as good as possible.

A career in architecture gives you the opportunity to make a real contribution to the quality of peoples’ lives.

This text is intended to provide general guidance on architecture or architectural technology as a career. For up-to-date and accurate information about courses in architecture or architectural technology it is essential that you contact the educational institutions concerned.

How do I chose?

It is difficult to tell in advance if you have the aptitude for architecture, because there is nothing that you experience at Second Level that is anything like it. Courses in architecture and architectural technology are of their nature vocational. In choosing one you are usually making quite a big decision about your career direction. So it is important to research it well.

Collect all the information you can from the websites and course documentation published by the educational institutions. Look at the subjects you will have to study during the course - do they appeal to you? Talk to your parents and school career guidance counsellor. Talk to an architect if you know one. Go to Open Days.

Try reading one or more of the following books. If you find them fascinating you are probably on the right track. If you find them boring, then think again.

  • Francis Ching. Architecture: Form, Space, Order. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1996.
  • Francis Ching. Building Construction Illustrated. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1991.
  • J.E. Gordon. Structures, or Why Things Don't Fall Down. Penguin, 2003.
  • Patrick Nuttgens. The Story of Architecture. Second edition. Phaidon, 1997.
  • Steen Eiler Rasmussen. Architecture for Beginners. Chapman & Hall. 1964.
  • Sean Rothery. A Field Guide to the Buildings of Ireland. Lilliput Press, 1997.
  • Marie Brennan and Ann McNicholl. Shaping Space: Architecture in the Transition Year. RIAI, 1998.

If your school offers a Shaping Space module in Transition Year, get involved.

If these books interest you, but you think architecture may not be for you, consider the other careers involved in the design of buildings and the built environment: Interior Designer, Structural Engineer, Building Services Engineer, Quantity Surveyor, Landscape Architect, Urban or Regional Planner.

Finally, if you are seriously thinking about a career in architecture, try to get some work experience, however short, in an architect’s office. This will give you a better idea of what the life is like, and whether you would find it satisfying, before you commit yourself to the many years of training it requires.