Five Steps To Becoming A Successful Architect

2019 Housing Awards By The American Institute Of Architects

When ‘How I Met Your Mother’ became a hit-series, millions of fans of the show looked at the character of Ted and wondered whether they could become a successful architect. Are you one of them? If you want to pursue that dream in real life, there are some things you should keep in mind to achieve your goal of becoming a successful architect. Let’s start with getting a formal education. 


You need certain qualifications to become an architect. These differ from country to country and depend on what institutions exist in that area, or whether you need to be licensed or if there is a regulatory body – the list goes on. Typically, you’d need to undertake a bachelor’s of architecture degree program and, from there, complete a master’s degree which can take 5+ years. Getting an education is expensive but the money you’ll make once you secure full time employment will make the financial investment worthwhile. Plenty of grants and supports are available, and you also have the option of student loans from a private lender in order to pay for college. 

Draw, Practice, Repeat

At the core, an architect is paid to draw buildings and plan them out, so you need to be good at drawing. There are, of course, technical aspects to that but you won’t reach your full potential in this area if you don’t practice. Also, if you look at some of the world’s most famous buildings, they all draw different inspirations – the Taj Mahal was not designed from the same perspective as Cleopatra’s Needle, for example. So go outside, read plenty of industry publications, and check out what inspires you. Then go back to drawing your inspirations. 

Let It Go

The field of architecture is as critical as any other artistic or scientific discipline, and as a blend of the two, you can imagine that there are plenty of people weighing in with their two cents. Ultimately, you need to be able to stand up for your opinions, but when being curtailed by others with more experience or credentials, sometimes giving way and letting go of your ego a little can really make space for your own interpretations to make their way through. 

Listen to Your Client

This happens with all client-based working relationships. You know the times where you are trying to push your vision but the client is looking for theirs to be fulfilled. Stop pushing for what you want and start listening to what they want. Any successful freelancer will tell you that there is a line between advising on better practice and behaviors and not fulfilling what the client wants. Yes, there are always examples of people who push boundaries and make headway by making a name for themselves – that is usually one project in twenty and to keep your client happy, and yourself employed, sometimes it’s better to just do what needs doing. 

Work-Life Balance

Since you need to be able to pull inspiration from a variety of sources, and wherever you get your inspiration from – media, nature, dreams – you need to ensure that you have a healthy work-life balance or you will not be able to succeed as an architect. This is the same as any other creative field and, as cheesy as it sounds, if you don’t give yourself time to smell the roses you will leave yourself burnt out creatively.

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