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Christian College Architecture Programs

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“Creativity is hardwired into our DNA by God Himself. Creative juices run hot through our veins. All of us have an irresistible, divinely-inspired impulse to create…. God has given us the glorious task of representing him on the earth. Of showing the world what he is really like.” ~Stephen Altrogge

Though the intricate design of the great European cathedrals and castles seems a thing of the past, architecture as a relevant art and science is most decidedly not! Architecture is the process and product of planning, designing and constructing buildings or structures, which are often perceived as cultural symbols and works of art.  Architecture is multifaceted, a discipline involving both the analytical and artistic sides of the brain.

Architecture, as a career, demands excellence in a number of traits and special skills. Not many other fields of study require proficiency in mathematics as well as a flare for the creative! In addition to having an eye for design, an architect must possess the critical thinking skills necessary to problem solve from a variety of angles. An architect may be called upon to perform duties that range from preparing specifications for building materials to budgeting and handling financial accounts to ensuring safety and health regulations for a particular project to negotiating with a contractor. Obviously leadership skills are necessary to effectively pull off such a wide array of tasks. Other helpful traits include flexibility, the ability to give and receive constructive criticism, a knack for cooperative teamwork and strong research and communication skills.

Once immersed in an architecture program, you can expect to spend a great deal of time in a studio, receiving tutorials and feedback on your design projects. Eventually you may be expected to put together a portfolio of your work. In order to become a certified architect the minimal level of education needed is a bachelor’s in architecture (B.Arch).  These programs generally require five years of study including an internship under a licensed architect.

Since architecture is an interdisciplinary study, you will take classes in several major areas: math (likely calculus and statistics), science (physics and engineering) and art (drawing and art history).  More specialized courses may include:

  • Construction Technology
  • Computer science classes (eg: Linear programming)
  • Architectural History
  • Design Theory
  • Green/sustainable Building Design
  • CAD drawing

The spectrum of need in the architectural world is vast. Specializations include landscape design, interior architecture, marine/naval engineering and restoration architecture.  Though most graduates go on to become traditionally licensed architects employed by a firm, central or local government, a public sector employee (such as a housing association) or even as an “in house” architect for a large business, there are other career paths to choose from for those who obtain this ever-popular, competitive degree. Some of those options include:

  • Urban planner
  • Building surveyor
  • Postsecondary architecture teacher
  • Construction manager/Civil engineer
  • Architectural journalist
  • Graphic, Industrial or Furniture Designer

If God has gifted you with an inventive mind that comes alive with the challenge of blending artistic, cultural trends with safe and reliable standards of engineering, then it’s possible He wants to use you in the world of architecture where your designs may reflect His glory to the world in a unique way!

A Future in Architecture

By Amber Gragert

Architecture is grounded in the sciences, but its foundational stones are firmly set in the arts. Great architects of yesteryear helped embody the spirit of their generations and ignite the flame within other creative minds to build bigger and brighter tomorrows. Think of the ingenuity of Roman aqueducts, the art and beauty of 16th century cathedrals, the functionality of the Golden Gate Bridge-all of that is thanks to the great minds and talents of architects. Then, of course, there are today’s urban housing developments, schools, hospitals and the list goes on! Architects give the world safe and functional places to reside and beauty to behold for ages to come. If you are a hands-on and creative thinker ready to leave your mark on the world, then, perhaps a career in architecture is what you want.

Not only do structures house people but they are also works of art that help to define entire towns or cities they reside in. Consider the look of the famous rolling neighborhoods in San Francisco, CA, the cabin ski town appearance of Breckinridge, CO, or the cityscape of New York City, NY. We get a sense of those places based solely on their infrastructure. We use words like, ‘quaint’, ‘fun vibe’, ‘old charm’ and the like to describe the cities and towns we visit. That sense and feeling we get when we go home or to new places, is all created by the architecture around us. Architects play a starring role in preserving and restoring old buildings and structures as well as designing and creating new ones. They quite literally reshape the world we live in. There are many new and exciting facets of architecture for this generation - think public design, walkable cities, preserving the environment and sustainability, green design, tech-driven design – who will lead the way?

The study and practice of architecture includes architectural design, history and theory; building structures and environmental systems; project and site planning; and construction. Before you do all of this; however, you will take classes in 3D modeling, drafting, engineering, mathematics, physics and works drawing. These classes will teach you how to design and draw structures and layouts, build models based on those and then develop the tools you will need to bring those designs and models to life.

Some key and helpful traits of a future architect are: creative problem-solving skills, detail oriented, passion, creativity, adaptability, an easy-going manner, a balanced ego, confidence, hands-on learner and a curious mind. It’s also helpful to work well with others and have some managerial skills - as you could be managing a team or crew of people as you bring your work to life. The famous American Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, once said, “A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he [or, she] is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart.”

Career paths are limited only by your imagination. A Registered Architect (RA) has diverse opportunities within large architectural firms or you could apply your education to a related profession. Here are some examples:

•  Advertising Designer

•  Architectural Engineer

•  Art Director

•  Building Contractor

•  CAD Manager

•  Draftsperson

•  Interior Designer

•  Landscape Architect

•  Mechanical Engineer

•  Old House Rehabber

•  Production Designer

•  Urban Planner

•  Virtual Reality Specialist