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Architecture vs Engineering - or both?

thecheeseitmanthecheeseitman 13 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18 New Member
edited January 2014 in Architecture Major
hello all!
i have quite a dilemma, i have always been fascinated by design, i have loved architecture and design since i can remember. the creative aspect has always made me happy (i cannot put it into words, but i'm guessing most of you know what i am talking about).

from when i have loved architecture, i have also had a fascination with how and why things work. planes, cars, vending machines. (i was at a competition when i was 11 and one of the vending machine guys was there refilling one, and i talked to him for a half a hour about how it worked, he wasn't very amused towards the end, but i digress).

my mind is a mix of engineering and architecture, i enjoy both creating something beautiful and finding out how it works.
i am reluctant to choose either major, one because i know that generally speaking engineering majors make more money than architecture majors, and two engineering is more math intensive than architecture.

my question to you guys: is there a hybrid of both fields, which combines the creativity of architecture that i so enjoy with the problem-solving-finding-out-how-it-works that i am fascinated by.

i have looked at architectural engineering, but according to these forums they only seem to be there to solve the structural problems in designs created by the architects.
possibly structural engineering, but they are not involved in the design process.
am i just a wishful thinker- is there actually a profession described above?
edited January 2014
66 replies
Post edited by thecheeseitman on
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Replies to: Architecture vs Engineering - or both?

  • LakemomLakemom 2937 replies68 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,005 Senior Member
    I am interested in hearing responses because my son is much like you, a 50/50 design/engineer personality. So, I have looked for those type of programs and only have found a few.

    Stanford has a product design major that has both mechanical engineering and product design. A frequent poster here rick12 has a daughter who attended the program so he may chime in. RPI has a minor that involves product design that also looks good that you could combine with engineering. The only other option I found was Carleton Univ in Canada has an industrial design major which is part of their engineering program and has both design and engineering in the curriculum.

    Alternatively, you can major in undergrad in engineering and then get your masters in architecture or industrial design which would require 4+3 years of schooling.
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  • rick12rick12 636 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 642 Member
    In the building field, if you want to develop your creative side, then you need to be in architecture. That is where the design studios are. If you an interest in math and physics, you can certainly focus your electives in that area and try to combine your mutual interests. However I don't think you can go in the other direction; start in engineering and incorporate the creative studios.

    As Lakemom mentioned, my daughter is about to graduate from the product design course at Stanford. It is an interesting program because you get an ME degree while taking studios and art courses. Now that she is looking for a job she finds herself to be an unusual candidate. Firms she has talked to have been looking for industrial design majors (great looking renderings of cellphones, concept cars, etc.), or straight engineering majors. In the long run I think her broad education will benefit her, but in the short run she is seeing that she does not fit into the neat categories that most companies have.

    I started in engineering, was frustrated by the lack of creative opportunities, and transferred into architecture.

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  • LakemomLakemom 2937 replies68 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,005 Senior Member
    Rick, I imagine with the future of technology and design more schools will develop programs such as Stanford's. I was disappointed when I looked in ID programs that they were so art based, most don't even require ergonomics or biomechanics. The mentality of ID is more marketing, consumer psychology in buying/using oriented.

    I think for those who are split brained, it is a hard choice to decide which direction to go.
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  • soozievtsoozievt 31360 replies371 discussionsRegistered User, ! Posts: 31,731 Senior Member
    I don't know about on the undergraduate level, but on the graduate level, the field of Sustainable Design and Construction / Building Technology combines elements of architecture and engineering.
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  • thecheeseitmanthecheeseitman 13 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18 New Member
    thank you all for replying :)
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  • ellkayificationellkayification 8 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13 New Member
    I'm the same way - I'm applying to colleges next year, and I've been looking for dual major programs at different competitive universities so that I may major in both engineering and architecture. Lehigh has a fabulous civil engineering and architecture 5 year dual degree program, so I suggest you check that out!
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  • QuietTypeQuietType 696 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 713 Member
    ^^^^Please be aware that the Lehigh architecture program is a BA, pre-professional degree - NOT the B Arch professional degree. If you wish to be a practicing architect you would need to go on to graduate school to obtain the professional M Arch degree. That's going to add about 3 to 3 1/2 years to your 5 year dual undergraduate degree program.
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  • BennnieBennnie 292 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 315 Member
    Look into Penn States Architectural Engineering major - you are in the College of Engineering but take required courses taught by the Architecture Dept at their facility.

    RPI - allows you to major in civil engineering and minor in Architecture

    CUA- has a dual degree in civil and architecture - but it is not a BArch but rather a BS in Arch - so you still would need a MArch to be licensed as an architect (like Lehigh)

    My daughter has the same split focus so we've looked into a few programs that might satisfy both parts of her brain. These are the programs that she has been admitted to so far (also Tulane architecture and two others). No decision yet on where she will attend.
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  • ellkayificationellkayification 8 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Ah thanks for pointing that out, I forgot to specify!
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  • XCcoasterfreakXCcoasterfreak 225 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 247 Junior Member
    UC Berekely offers a minor in structural engineering for architecture majors.

    I'm in practically the same situation as you, I want a technical and artistic aspects of Engineering and Architecture. Glad I'm not the only one, lol
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  • MikalyeMikalye 1336 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,340 Senior Member
    MIT allows you to take your own combination of Architecture and Engineering or to dual major.
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  • archengrstudentarchengrstudent 1 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Dual major in arch. and engineering at MIT??? How many hours in a day are there again? I'm at Kansas State and most of the classes in the "professional" programs are unavailable to students outside of the program. Yes, I am a "tweener" as well, however, I am also doing a project (or two) of my own at home, so I am getting practice, but it doesn't seem to look as "cool" on the drawing board as it does coming out of the plotter at school, from all those fancy software programs! But hey, ya gotta start somewhere. Take an idea of yours, and plumb the depths of your design knowledge, get some drafting books or architecture books ("Architectural Graphic Standards student edition" is a great place to start), and keep going. Oh yeah, and try to work on your math and science in the meantime.
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  • rick12rick12 636 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 642 Member
    I am really amazed at the number of students that post on this board wanting to be both engineers and architects. The beauty of architecture is that it combines the artistic and the technical. The technical knowledge required to design and document a medium to large scale building is staggering, and the regulations are making it more complex every day. Trust me, it will satisfy both sides of your brain.

    If you really feel like you want to expand your horizons I would suggest either a dual degree or a minor in construction engineering/management. This is a more realistic joint degree and one that would allow you the opportunity to be a master builder getting your projects both designed and built. A lot of architects have taken this route on smaller scaled work, and it would give you some upside as far as income and job security are concerned.

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  • hagop92hagop92 1 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I am currently a mechanical engineering student at NJIT. I was aswell interisted in architecture while i liked the aspects of how things work. I went to our architecture deopartment and they said that they have a dual program that allows me to take my four years of mechanical engineering, which will give me a BA, and from there two more years of architecture that would give me a masters in that. This is good because it expanded my choices to 4 more years, and i can stay in ME to get a masters in that, or have a BA and an MA in archi. Good luck! check if your schools have a similar option, and remember that mechanical engineering has a wide field of focus.
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  • lc0115lc0115 17 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 25 New Member
    I am also on the same page...
    Nobody's given a real clear answer for this yet: is it feasible to double major in engineering (I'm going into civil, specifically structural) and arch? Would that be an advantage when applying for a job?
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