Building Your Dreams with a Career in Architecture and the Built Environment
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Building Your Dreams with a Career in Architecture and the Built Environment

Do you want to build your own house? Or design the next skyscraper in Brazil? Perhaps you have an idea of how to make buildings more eco-friendly and pleasant to live in? If these sound of interest to you, then a degree in Architecture and Built Environment (ABE) might be a good fit for you.

Buildings are an inescapable part of our lives and therefore their design is of immense importance. A poorly designed building can be an intensely dispiriting place to live or work in. A poorly constucted building can be a tragedy waiting to happen as can be seen in the many building collapses that occur around the world every year.

Specifically, ABE encompasses work in architecture, interior architecture, architectural technology, urban design, building surveying, planning, quantity surveying, real estate, and housing. A degree in this field of study rewards people with great creativity and imagination. Those with a drive to innovate and an attention to detail should thrive in this career path.

Potential architects tend to have a strong feelings aroused when they think of certain spaces and environments, often developing a personal relationship with certain buildings and places within cities. They enjoy making creative decisions and seeing their projects progress from the drawing board to physical reality.

While ABE students come from a diverse range of backgrounds, there are a few common attributes and previous work done that may indicate that you are ready to become a serious student. Most students have studied a range of arts and sciences, and have a fairly strong grounding in math. In addition, you should enjoy drawing freehand and studying design and creating 3D concepts – as many schools require you to present a portfolio as part of you application, having previous work in these areas is of great importance.

Studying architecture and the built environment

As part of your ABE degree, you will be taught the iterative process, how to draw technically, and learn the engineering know-how needed to support building designs. Additionally, you will learn about the history and theory of ABE. You will also need to become an expert in understanding people, since it is people who will after all be living in the buildings and cities that you have designed.

Another significant part of the degree, and one many people may not be aware of, is the learning process referred to as the “crits” (critiques). This involves learning how to put forward an argument and then support it by explaining the thought process behind your design

While part of an ABE degree is to build up a general knowledge of all aspects of architecture and built environment, most schools also encourage their students to specialize in areas that are of particular interest to them. These can include sustainability, solar, accessibility, design, detailing, rendering, history, engineering systems, business, building materials, and teaching.

During your studies you will learn from industry experts who will help provide you with hands-on experience in your chosen field. Your education will be of a highly practical nature and will ensure that you have the skills necessary to step into a leading architectural role at any organization.

Trends and industry growth

The construction industry is currently experiencing a strong growth phase, particularly in Asia & Latin America, and hiring is expected to be healthy for the next few years at least. A growth in the construction industry means more jobs for ABE graduates.

There are a variety of exciting areas in architecture that may be of interest to recently graduated students. Perhaps one of the most talked about currently is the trend of green buildings. This can include buildings that have a minimal impact on their surrounding environments, energy efficient buildings, and buildings intended to foster a more communal atmosphere.

For those looking for an international career, the cities of Latin America are going through a mass architectural makeover. From skyscrapers to urban planning, ABE degree holders should be able to get in on the ground floor of this construction boom and be a part of designing Latin America’s future.

The chance to have such a profound effect on people’s lives, and society more generally, make pursuing a career in architecture and built environment immensely attractive. The best way to get a head start in the world of Architecture and the Built Environment is with a sound basis of experience, which is where a high quality education comes into its own.

Read on to discover a number of the world’s most prestigious universities which offer courses in a broad range of disciplines throughout Architecture and the Built Environment.

Established in 1853, the University of Melbourne is the second oldest university in Australia. It’s consistently ranked among the leading universities in the world, with international rankings of world universities placing it as number 1 in Australia and number 33 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015). The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning is a vibrant community of staff and students whose interest and expertise focuses on the built environment, with disciplines in Architecture, Construction Management, Landscape Architecture, Property, Urban & Cultural Heritage, Urban Design and Urban Planning. The professional-entry Masters programs are accredited by relevant industry associations, providing graduates with industry-approved knowledge and skills into clear career pathways. Read full profile.

Firmly established as one of the top ten universities in the UK, the University of Bath maintains a global reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Globally respected for its academic and research prowess, the University’s Faculty of Engineering & Design comprises departments of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electronic & Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. The achievements of each department are extensive, with the Architecture & Civil Engineering department ranking Number 1 in the UK, the Chemical Engineering department enjoying accreditation by the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Electronic & Electrical Engineering department maintaining an impressive 99% student satisfaction rate.

Falmouth University was founded in 1902 and has developed into one of the highest-ranked universities in the UK. The School of Architecture, Design & Interiors explores design, sustainable issues, materials and manufacturing processes. Creative practice and research deliver informed and innovative solutions to challenging real world design problems. Courses are meticulously aligned to the needs of industry, while studio-based community generates creative thinkers. It’s an environment which encourages experimentation across disciplines and provides world-class facilities in which to do so.

Oxford Brookes University was founded in Oxford, England in 1865, and it has grown into one of the UK’s leading modern universities. Innovation is the cornerstone of the educational process here, and students are encouraged to expand their academic curiosity, experiment and take risks. The Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University has an international reputation for excellence, innovation and an ambitious desire to be recognised as one of the most exciting places to study in the world.