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Architecture vs Engineering - or both?

thecheeseitmanthecheeseitman 13 replies5 threads 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 2943 replies68 threads 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 threads 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.

    rick
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  • LakemomLakemom 2943 replies68 threads 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 31457 replies374 threads! 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 threads New Member
    thank you all for replying :)
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  • ellkayificationellkayification 8 replies5 threads 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 700 replies17 threads 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 threads 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 threads New Member
    Ah thanks for pointing that out, I forgot to specify!
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  • XCcoasterfreakXCcoasterfreak 225 replies22 threads 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 1337 replies4 threads 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 threads 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 threads 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.

    rick
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  • hagop92hagop92 1 replies0 threads 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 threads 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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  • XCcoasterfreakXCcoasterfreak 225 replies22 threads Junior Member
    Trust me dude, same here, the answers are very vague and even I'm confused as to what to do.

    I know UT Austin has a dual degree for Architecture and Architectural Engineering (practically structural with some other stuff) but I heard it's really hard and impossible, so I'm not sure. But it's exactly what I want to study, both Structural Engineering and Architecture. I even want to earn a masters in both afterwards, idk. I'm still looking for the right answer.
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  • rick12rick12 636 replies6 threads Member
    Is it possible to run a 4 minute mile; absolutely. Is it likely you are going to be able to do it; no.

    Is it possible to do a dual major in architecture and engineering; absolutely. Is it likely that you are going to want or be able to do it: no.

    Will it improve my chances of getting a job; somewhat, but not as much as putting that extra time into becoming a better architecture or engineering graduate.

    There is a good suggestion on this thread to get an undergraduate engineering or architectural engineering degree and follow it up with a 2 year MArch degree. This is doable and is a better option than trying to do both degrees at the same time.

    rick
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  • XCcoasterfreakXCcoasterfreak 225 replies22 threads Junior Member
    Civil and Environmental Engineering - BSCE Building Science

    How is this program?

    Would this appeal to Grad Schools if I wanted to earn an M.Arch and Masters in Structural Engineering? And would all of these courses of studies ultimately appeal to firms?
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  • ViterbiStudentViterbiStudent 90 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Hey I’m Kristen- a senior in the B.S. Civil Engineering (Building Science) program at USC. Building Science is essentially an architectural engineering program where you take architecture classes in addition to the general civil engineering curriculum. Instead of trying to complete two majors (a full 5-year architecture program and a full 4-year engineering program), this program offers a combination of the two strengths while still enabling you to graduate in 4 years. I have always been really interested in architecture, but I also enjoy the technical aspects of engineering. I choose to come to USC because they offered a combination of these majors with their Civil Engineering (Building Science) program.

    The Building Science architecture classes have been some of my favorite classes because they are group-project based and incorporate both the architectural and structural aspects of designing a building. We learn the creative aspects of architectural design, but always follow that work with complete structural calculations required to make sure a building will stand. I’ve also really enjoyed the architecture history courses that are included in this program.

    Building Science students go on to get jobs in all aspects of civil engineering and architecture including structural design, construction management, transportation, architectural design, etc. Some students also continue on to civil engineering or architecture masters programs.
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  • rymdrymd 1020 replies35 threads- Senior Member
    I thought architects and structural engineers did completely different things... What I see architecture students do every day and from what I learned in intro architecture class gave me the impression that architects are basically specialised artists - they handle the design of places and stuff, while engineers handle the "how many steel beams are needed to support this roof" kind of thing. There's some overlap of course, but I still see architecture and engineering as very very different subjects.
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