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Career Story: Residential Architect

Residential Architect

Job Title: Architect

Type of Company: Residential architecture

Education: BS Architecture, University of Virginia; Masters in Architecture, Princeton University

Previous Experience: I worked with various architecture firms until 1996, when I started my own practice

Job Tasks: I design houses for people. These might be new houses, or helping them fix up the house they currently live in or are looking to buy. If an existing house, they might already have enough space, in which case I help them with a renovation, or they might need more space than they have, in which case I design an addition with them.

My work with my clients involves doing drawings of ideas which they can choose between, then developing those ideas into drawings that a builder can work from. I help my clients choose everything they need, from their refrigerator, to their bathroom tile to their sink faucet, door hardware, lighting, etc.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is that it is always creative so I never get bored. I learn something new with each job. I meet interesting people and get to know them really well. The bad parts are that when people have their house under construction, they can get really stressed out about everything, like the enormous expenses involved, the mess, or that they don't always agree with their partner. This isn't very fun to be around. Also, although most builders are talented , wonderful people, some aren't honest, and that can bring a job down.

Job Tips:
1. When you get out of architecture school, you think you know everything. You don't. You have no idea how much you have to learn, and you will be learning for the rest of your career as an architect. Take every opportunity to learn from everyone you can, from builders to window salesmen to clients to other architects.

2. Don't expect that you will become wealthy as an architect. Choose this career only because you love it.

3. Learn to draw really well. Even though work is done on computers, you need to know how to really look at things and translate them to paper.

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