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Old 06-29-2012, 05:05 PM
Status: "LILY DALE!" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
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Someone wants to major in Architecture but is not interested in the engineering aspect, but more the historical, social and artistic aspects.

Are these different majors? Does the less engineering degree offer some urban planning?

Can anyone recommend some schools with an undergrad major along these lines?
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:04 PM
 
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Sounds like they're more interested in being an architectural historian, which is very different from being an architect--it's closer to being an art history major than a hard science--but an architectural historian would benefit from taking some architecture classes. There are fewer jobs, and they don't pay as much as architects make--in government agencies, city historic preservation departments, environmental planning companies, the handful of preservation nonprofits that actually have paid staff, and freelance consultants. Typically you'd start out with an undergrad degree, in history, art history or some social studies field, and then Master's course work in historic preservation or public history--there may be some specialty programs out there specifically for architectural history. For a history major, the history of the country you're living in is most helpful, along with urban history, and electives including art history and, if your school offers undergrad classes in the subject, historic architecture.

However, if your friend is also a hands-on person and likes the idea of restoring old homes, there is a market for specialty artisans who can rehab and restore old houses, fix wooden windows, replace decayed millwork, etcetera. There are some schools around the country who offer degrees in historic preservation, often vocational schools and community colleges, that are based around woodworking skills and craftsmanship.

There are also subcategories of architects who specialize in dealing with historic buildings, like rehab of old buildings or reconstruction, called historic architects, but their training is similar to traditional architecture.

Urban planning is more about the design of cities and the economic and political processes of cities--and is the kind of major you want to take if your plan is to work for a city or county government. You'll probably spend some time reading books on the history of urban planning, but that's mainly as a foundation to coursework that is more about government regulations and how to run focus groups.

In all cases, an undergrad degree probably isn't enough to get you a job. Graduate work, a good internship, and volunteering at museums or with community groups, is helpful to put a candidate above the rest of the pack--and that master's degree is mighty important to meet professional standards.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:27 PM
 
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I'd also recommend asking this question on Cyburbia.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Sounds like they're more interested in being an architectural historian, which is very different from being an architect--it's closer to being an art history major than a hard science--but an architectural historian would benefit from taking some architecture classes. There are fewer jobs, and they don't pay as much as architects make--in government agencies, city historic preservation departments, environmental planning companies, the handful of preservation nonprofits that actually have paid staff, and freelance consultants. Typically you'd start out with an undergrad degree, in history, art history or some social studies field, and then Master's course work in historic preservation or public history--there may be some specialty programs out there specifically for architectural history. For a history major, the history of the country you're living in is most helpful, along with urban history, and electives including art history and, if your school offers undergrad classes in the subject, historic architecture.

However, if your friend is also a hands-on person and likes the idea of restoring old homes, there is a market for specialty artisans who can rehab and restore old houses, fix wooden windows, replace decayed millwork, etcetera. There are some schools around the country who offer degrees in historic preservation, often vocational schools and community colleges, that are based around woodworking skills and craftsmanship.

There are also subcategories of architects who specialize in dealing with historic buildings, like rehab of old buildings or reconstruction, called historic architects, but their training is similar to traditional architecture.

Urban planning is more about the design of cities and the economic and political processes of cities--and is the kind of major you want to take if your plan is to work for a city or county government. You'll probably spend some time reading books on the history of urban planning, but that's mainly as a foundation to coursework that is more about government regulations and how to run focus groups.

In all cases, an undergrad degree probably isn't enough to get you a job. Graduate work, a good internship, and volunteering at museums or with community groups, is helpful to put a candidate above the rest of the pack--and that master's degree is mighty important to meet professional standards.
Great advice!

There is a subcategory of civil engineering that deals with the bold, as well. I know someone with a CE degree from Colorado School of Mines who is doing that type of work in Boston. I believe her education is general civil engineering.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
Someone wants to major in Architecture but is not interested in the engineering aspect, but more the historical, social and artistic aspects.

Are these different majors? Does the less engineering degree offer some urban planning?

Can anyone recommend some schools with an undergrad major along these lines?
Are you the person that is interested in getting a college degree for Architecture with some Urban Planning interest, or are you referring to other people such as friends/family members?

In the past 2 to 3 years, I explored and navigated similar questions to this thread topic question.

For my situation, and for deciding what I wanted to study in college at first, I was focusing on Architecture, Urban Planning, and Environmental Studies. I was figuring out all the differences between those 3 college subjects and eventually found out a lot of what each subject encompasses.

I decided for now in majoring for Architecture and minor in Environmental Studies.

I also wanted to minor in Urban Planning but a lot of people told me it was not necessary if I plan to have a future career in Architecture and already attempting to get a minor in Environmental Studies. I decided to not formally study Urban Planning in college because Architecture is already one part of Urban Planning. For all the other parts of Urban Planning, I can read and post about that on this website and read books about Urban Planning related topics that does not involve having to formally study it in college.

For your question it appears to be about Architecture vs. Urban Planning vs. Engineering.

Architecture and Engineering for college subjects and related careers still have plenty of differences. Architecture has some technical and mathematical aspects to it, but it is still much more creative and idealistic than Engineering. Engineering is also a lot more technical/scientific/mathematical.

Architecture does have Urban Planning connotations and a lot of relation to it. Engineering has no relation to Urban Planning for the most part. Engineering is a lot more related to Science/Technology.

There is plenty of great colleges with very high credibility that have majors along the lines based on your question. It depends on where someone lives and what general location they want to go to for college.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:47 PM
 
Location: back in Philadelphia!
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You could look into a program like the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, where they offer degrees in City Planning (and also Architecture and Landscape Architecture) combined with a Certificate program in Historic Preservation.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
Someone wants to major in Architecture but is not interested in the engineering aspect, but more the historical, social and artistic aspects.

Are these different majors? Does the less engineering degree offer some urban planning?

Can anyone recommend some schools with an undergrad major along these lines?
Architecure and urban planning are closely related. Although engineering is as well, it more distinct from the other two. If you were to go through an architecture and/or urban planning program, you would need to know very little about engineering.

Architecture and planning are the design of civil infrastructure and civil engineering is making sure those things will stand up without killing anybody.

Now if by engineering you mean the design aspects of urban planning that is the meat of it. If you just wanted to know history and theory, robert moses, jane jacobs, and planning movements just take that class. History and theory was one class in my grad program. Thats it.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
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My son is studying architecture at Texas A&M right now. His first two years have been all about design. He hasn't learned much at all about engineering. He will learn a bit of the engineering side by the time he earns his bachelor's degree. At A&M, you don't earn a bachelor's in architecture. You earn a degree in Environmental Design. You will earn a Masters in Architecture. Some colleges offer a bachelor's degree in architecture. Others don't.

To become a practicing architect you will spend 5-6 years in school+internship before you are eligible to take the board exams for certification.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:54 PM
 
Location: back in Philadelphia!
3,255 posts, read 4,749,028 times
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Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
My son is studying architecture at Texas A&M right now. His first two years have been all about design. He hasn't learned much at all about engineering. He will learn a bit of the engineering side by the time he earns his bachelor's degree. At A&M, you don't earn a bachelor's in architecture. You earn a degree in Environmental Design. You will earn a Masters in Architecture. Some colleges offer a bachelor's degree in architecture. Others don't.

To become a practicing architect you will spend 5-6 years in school+internship before you are eligible to take the board exams for certification.
Environmental Design is just a major. Basically it's "pre-architecture", which means you'd likely take some design studios for portfolio building, and cover the common prerequisites (math, physics, history & theory). Except they can't use the word "Architecture" to name a non-accredited program of study, so they give that major various ungainly names from school to school.

M. Arch and B.Arch are the two accredited professional degrees which are acceptable for licensure. Most accredited schools would offer one or the other, but ususally not both. B.Arch programs are typically 5 years which includes undergrad base requisites, an M. Arch is typically a 3 year postgraduate program requiring a bachelor's degree (in anything) along with some specific courses as prerequisites. Someone who did a pre-architecture type undergrad major may gain admission to an M.Arch program, especially one at the same University, with advanced standing, but it's not a rule.
You can also do a 1 year M.Arch program as second professional degree if you already have a B.Arch.

The length of the internship period varies by state, but it's typical for this to take around 3 years to complete, and you recently can begin logging some internship hours prior to graduation. After which you need to sit for seven separate professional exams. If you fail one, you need to wait 6 months before re-sitting. It can take a long time to finish all of the exams.

So the absolute minimum amount of time that one would need to go from a high school degree to a licensed architect is really more like 7-8 years, though it often takes much longer for people who are not extremely motivated in pursuing their license. This lack of motivation is unfortunately quite common, as licensure doesn't necessarily do a lot for one's professional career right away; as you don't need a license to get a job at a firm,or work on projects, and usually the firm's named principal is the person whose license stamp goes on the drawings (and they and their insurance take on all associated liability). The acquisition of a license is not necessarily accompanied by a significant jump in salary, and experience is generally valued over licensure in employees, so really the main benefit of a license is that it allows one to start their own office.

It's a terrible, terrible profession
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:02 PM
 
Location: S.W.PA
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Generally Urban Planning will have less engineering, if any, however most Architecture programs don't have much of it either. It depends .... if the person is looking for a professional degree in architecture, he/she will need to take 2 or 3 semesters of "Statics and Strengths of Structures" which is essentially physics. Its all about how big the beam has to be, and if you don't like math it can be a real drag. Most architects are not really mathematically inclined, so the whole class struggles together, which can make it tolerable. These issues don't really come up in the design studio, although the general principals do ("that span is too long" etc etc). Some schools however have something like a Architectural Engineering option- Penn State is one- but its not their only option.
'Not real familiar with Urban Planning programs but I think many programs are big on procedure and government and not so much on the technical stuff. Architecture can be like that too, but generally they are looking for artistic expression within the bounds of the technical. In other words- you're not designing in a fantasy world.
Talk to people at different schools to see what their flavor is. Some schools are all about emotive design, others are more rationally oriented. Some are all about making it Green. These days most schools aren't looking too deep into history, but most look hard at the 30s and on, since that was sort of a watershed moment artistically.
If the person needs/wants to avoid the technical stuff and get a non-professional degree there are a few schools with 4 year bachelors of Arts programs that might suit. Then, if one chooses, one can go on to get an M.Arch. Good 4 year programs can be found at UVA, Lehigh, some of the Ivys, possibly RISD (not sure ). Most state schools still have the 5 year B. Arch professional program- Va Tech, Penn State, Ohio State, Kent State, NCState etc. Other notables include Cornell and Syracuse which have historically well regarded 5 year programs plus M. Arch options. Some schools are known for their historical perspective (Notre Dame), and some are known for being fairly experimental (Cooper Union, RISD, SciArc). Some are known for a hands on construction componant (Miss. State I think, Auburn, others). All of the schools I've mentioned are pretty serious schools- in architecture I don't think there are any other kind.
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