Hi, I'm Sarah Lebner.
This is me:
I clearly remember my first day working in a big commercial architecture firm. My first job was to move a single window on a plan. It seemed simple enough. But I had to ask how to draw it. My supervisor explained which line weight to use for the glass and which for the million. Easy. Except I didn’t know what a mullion was...
The first weeks and months of each of my early career jobs were filled with similar pain points. How could I have studied so successfully at University yet feel so incompetent on the job? Why was there so much to learn and why did I have to learn it in a slow apprentice-style fashion?
Even when I approached registration, there were vast areas of architecture practice that had been shielded from me in most of my roles, yet I was expected to competently understand them.
In short, it was a slow, awkward and painful learning process. Often I didn’t even know the right questions to ask.
Fast forward over a decade and I'd become the Principal Architect of a highly unique multidisciplinary architecture and building science firm. I’ve been shortlisted for an international design competition, I regularly teach at the University of Canberra, I’ve participated in volunteer construction programs in Kenya and the Solomon Islands, and I was recently awarded the 2020 National Emerging Architect of the Year by the Australian Institute of Architects. In 2022 I'm embarking on a new exciting chapter starting my own regional architecture practice, Cooee Architecture. I balance parenting, architecture, and running myfirstarchitecturejob.com - and I love it.
In ten years I've gone from a student of architecture who felt completely alienated and unsupported by our industry, to essentially living my dream flexible and impactful architect career. I'm frustrated by how antiquated, isolating and difficult those ten years were, and I've created My First Architecture Job™ and The Architect Project to change that for other aspiring architects.
The gap between studying architecture at University and joining the industry to work in a practice can be a daunting transition. There's so much to learn on the job, and it can take a long time to feel confident, and even then you're only exposed to the projects and processes of one workplace, and what they're willing to share with you.
We're going to change that.
Join us to be part of:
FREE monthly keynote sessions. Everyone is welcome to join and attend our monthly keynote guest presentations!
The Architecture Project premium membership (Paid). For Australian students and graduates of architecture who want to achieve employment, promotion or registration sooner, for a more confident and impactful career. Access community discussion, Member Pecha Kuchas, 'Fireside Chats', Work Experience Wednesday, archive access to 50+ Guest Session replays, Keynote Session replays, and in-person events.
Access Courses (Paid). Anyone can purchase courses like the Career Momentum Course - a catalyst course for an authentic, confident and fulfilling architecture career. It covers the topics of Being True to Yourself, Immigrant Careers, Entrepreneurial Careers, Approaching Registration, Fine-Tuning Soft Skills, Powerful Communication, Rethinking Imposter Syndrome, Time-Management, Networking, Career Momentum and Relevancy, Career Progression and Pay Scales, and Working with a Mentor.
If you're studying architecture or in the early years of working in practice, then this is for you.
While 'The Architect Project' is a premium membership for Australian based students and graduates only, other sections are completely open to those around the world.
Even if you don't quite fit the mould, you're welcome. We've welcomed Interior Designers, TAFE Building Designers, and even registered architects who were transitioning into a different industry sector or location and wanted additional support.
Commitment can be scary. That's why this first layer is completely free.
From there, you can complete a free two-week trial of our premium membership, The Architect Project, or preview a course before purchasing it.
IMPORTANT Note: Please set up your payments in a browser, or android, instead of an iOS Apple app. Apple IOS takes a whopping 30% cut so membership and course fees are 30% higher if you purchase through your iPhone app!
"While I have found all aspects of 'The Architect Project' to be extremely useful in bridging the gap between uni and practice, the fortnightly guest sessions have really accelerated my knowledge of topics not often covered at school. It has been great listening to professionals from various backgrounds, who provide in detail information specific to the Australian context.
Through using strategies and tips discussed in 'The Architect Project', I was able to increase my confidence in job seeking and soon landed a job in the industry. The platform has provided me with new friends and support groups within the industry who also contribute to the continuous learning experience."
"I have developed more confidence in myself all thanks to The Architecture Project - the peer review of my portfolio made me realise I should believe in myself and my work more. The opportunity to communicate with emerging architects across Australia has been a huge benefit in my search for work!"
"This platform has been incredible. I've met people, I've listened to incredibly talented people talk about their journey and got to know some mentors through the platform. Tara Cull and Shaneen, just to name two. Tara has been working with me on developing better communication and interview skills. Through Shaneen again, I've met a couple more architects working in Alice Springs and in Broome, who do amazing work in collaboration with indigenous communities. So all in all, while this has been the suckiest year ever, I'm thankful for this massive opportunity to meet people and get into a network. I don't know if you remember, in one of my earliest chats with you, I mentioned how I missed out on networking when I was at University, because of work and the pressures of being an international student."
"How has The Architect Project benefitted me? With lots of resources and networking prompts!"
"One of the main benefits has been meeting people! Especially making connections with people at the same stage in the industry as you, I’ve learnt ‘networking on the same level’ rather than ‘networking up’ for lack of better words is definitely more important. While there’s always lots to learn from more experienced members, learning with those who are going through the same things as you are feeling very rewarding."
"Since joining the project family, I have spent the past year learning that there is an amazing community of people at all on a similar pathway to myself, and making connections with members has definitely been a highlight. I have loved the guest sessions and members round table discussions, they are invaluable resources, I always find myself learning something new. 10 out of 10 stars."