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Old 08-25-2008, 02:05 PM
68 posts, read 222,435 times
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I'm at my late 20s, single, female, foreign national, architect and is considering relocating. after some research, I'm sending resumes basically to NY, Boston and Chicago. however, there're some dilemmas in terms of which city to go , any of your opinions are greatly appreciated.

things important to me are: job and dating( I do want to start a family in 5 yrs and would want to go to a city that have more interesting activities and better odds for me.) living expenses are not top issue for me since I don't want to buy a house in 5 yrs. I'm not American, so I'd like to go somewhere not necessarily diversified but I hope people are open minded.

1. NY. New york is great, with so much energy and diversity. the biggest drawback for me is architectural scene in NY is not so great. It's easy to land a job but it's very hard to find a very good one that does more than residential work. also I heard the female/ male ratio is not favorable for me?
2. Boston. I like Boston coz there should be a lot of lectures and young people since it's a college town. the drawback is long winter and reserved nature of locals.
3. Chicago. jobs are good. but I had always find the city a little intimidating, and when I think of the city, I can't really think of anything else except the lake front area

I've never applied for DC. I would consider DC as well. thanks a lot in advance!

Last edited by useasbackup; 08-25-2008 at 02:39 PM..
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:10 PM
Location: East Tennessee and Atlanta
3,020 posts, read 8,268,441 times
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I'd still recommend NYC. NYC is an exciting, huge, vibrant city and a paradise for the young and single. It beats the other cities by a mile.
I unfortunately have no advice for the architectural world in NYC-although I have a couple of friends who are architects in the city just starting out, (guys) and they started around $50-$55k each or so...mid twenties...
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:39 PM
Location: Chicago - West Lakeview
1,719 posts, read 2,163,252 times
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Living on 50k will be hard in NYC since everything is so expensive, though. NYC is a great city, but you'll have a better quality of life on that in Chicago, and there is a lot to do here besides the lake. (Museums, plenty of nightlife, cute shops, sports etc.) I really can't say about Boston, since I've never been.
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:44 PM
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
12,064 posts, read 27,212,345 times
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We have an architect who hangs out on this forum, so i am sure he can give you some good advice about the job market here.
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Old 08-25-2008, 03:48 PM
Location: Sarasota, Florida
807 posts, read 2,755,433 times
Reputation: 700
Having visited but not lived in the towns mentioned, my favorites are based on atmosphere:
1. Boston
2. Chicago
3. New York
4. DC

San Francisco would be #2 but it's not a candidate
I never experienced the Boston "attitude" I've heard so much about...
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:34 PM
Location: Lincoln Park
838 posts, read 2,740,177 times
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i lived in NY and DC, now I am in Chicago. given your situation, I would say NYC.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:49 PM
11,972 posts, read 26,853,926 times
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Originally Posted by aragx6 View Post
We have an architect who hangs out on this forum, so i am sure he can give you some good advice about the job market here.
I think that's probably me you're talking about.

You really can't go wrong with any of the cities mentioned in terms of them being nice places to live, but there are definitely advantages and disadvantages to each place. But I'll concentrate on architecture jobs in my comments:

Overall, the job market seems to be alright in terms of people keeping their jobs, but a lot of firms have slowed down their hiring. Firms that do a lot of residential work are suffering right now and are laying people off in some numbers. I would think that this is true in all of the cities mentioned.

At my firm, we tend to collect resumes and call back later when we need people. The fact that you don't hear back right away doesn't necessarily mean anything in architecture because needs fluctuate based on project load. It's sometimes a good idea to keep sending your resume to the same places every few months. They may not need someone the first time, but maybe they will later on.

New York and Chicago are your best bets in terms of strong architecture job markets, hands down. There are just more firms and more work in these two cities. Los Angeles would be another good bet.

Boston is oversaturated with overqualified applicants. Harvard and MIT are two of the best architecture programs in the world, and a lot of those grads want to stay in Boston. I've heard from Boston architects that there are so many Ivy Leaguers vying for jobs that you have to be REALLY good to get a mediocre job in the Boston architectcure scene. And most of the established Boston firms are mediocre.

Washington D.C. isn't even on the architectural radar screen. Some larger firms have offices there to bring in government work (yuck), but there's not much innovation happening there. The whole Northeast corridor is so saturated with Starchitects and big players that there just isn't room for an architecture scene in D.C. I'm sure there are some smaller boutique firms doing interesting things, but those jobs are hard to get. It doesn't hurt to try, however!
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:55 PM
Location: Palmer Square
102 posts, read 341,799 times
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I would say Boston, New York, and Chicago in that order. The winter in boston is only slightly worse than NYC's by the way.

I'm biased a bit against chicago (just don't like it very much), but if the jobs are better in Chicago than NYC and you like it okay, you should definitely consider Chi-town. There is a lot to do in Chicago--museums, music, arts, restaurants--but if it doesn't "fit" you, then it likely never will. Don't know if it's a concern, but Chicago definitely has the most typical American feel of the three--it feels at times like a big suburb.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:59 PM
20 posts, read 136,468 times
Reputation: 24
I recently escaped to Chicago after two years in Boston. Boston is essentially Scranton with rich people. DC's even more depressing. If you're going to be on the East Coast, you might as well be in New York. Everywhere else, you're just paying a lot of money to live nowhere special.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:06 PM
11,972 posts, read 26,853,926 times
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Boston is one of the best cities in the U.S. It's just not a great place to practice architecture if you weren't your professor's pet at Harvard.

Parts of Boston and D.C. are more charming than anything you'll find outside of the east coast. And Boston has some of the best "suburbs" in the U.S. as well in Cambridge and "Slummerville". If you get a good job there, you'll love it. D.C.? It's more of toss up. The nicer parts of D.C. are only a small fraction of the whole district. But those nice areas are really wonderful, even if the subway doesn't stop there or anywhere else useful (but it will be one of the nicest stations you'll see in the U.S.). D.C. living is really focussed on suburbs more than New York, Boston, or Chicago. Everyone lives in Virginia or Maryland, it seems.

Last edited by Lookout Kid; 08-25-2008 at 10:38 PM..
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