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’m 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. I balance parenting, leading a wonderful team of 10 designers, and running myfirstarchitecturejob.com while working part-time and often remotely.
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 that ten years was, and I've created 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.
The Architect Project is here for you in FIVE ways:
1. Community. The Mighty Networks Platform is specifically built for this kind of thing. By bringing together the most ambitious young architects, we can create a powerful network that you can engage with for feedback, support, networking, advice, insight and inspiration. You can select the topics you choose to follow. Have you ever heard the saying "you are the average of the five you people you hang out with"? Well, here you get to hang out with the best. This is why I truly believe in the power this network can have on your self-development and career progression if you engage with it proactively.
2. Personal Challenges. If you've been following My First Architecture Job for a while, you know that I'm all about efficient learning. Every week I pose a mini-challenge in the form of a question or task, designed to be completed in 15 minutes or less. This makes them achievable for even the busiest people, and will still accumulate towards tangible advancement over the course of the year.
3. Structured Themes. Each quarter sees us tackle a different part of architecture practice or self-development, with fortnightly sub-topics pulling out key areas of discussion and learning. These themes are designed so that after participating for twelve months, you will have covered a comprehensive spectrum of self-development, basic construction knowledge, architecture practice topics, and industry rules and standards.
4. Live Sessions with Experts. In-line with the topics mentioned above, we'll welcome a fortnightly guest to share their own career insight, explain elements of their speciality, and answer your questions. The professionals range from successful architects, influential authors, friendly builders and skilled consultants who discuss with us the nitty-gritty of what you need to know.
5. We get to hang out and tap into our communical knowledge and experience. Every fortnight we have a Members Roundtable session with a theme requested by our members. It's a safe space to ask silly questions, seek advice, share your own experience, or brainstorm ideas. Once every quarter we host a face-to-face catch up in your local capital city as an opportunity to meet local members face to face.
So, whether you like to keep to yourself or be the life of the party, or whether you like structure and homework or just joining informal conversations, there's something for you!
The Architect Project has:
1. Course style content
2. Private facebook style community (on an app built for this kind of thing!)
3. Mentoring dialogue
Let's get started and start shaving months off your career progression!
If you're studying architecture in Australia or working as a graduate of architecture (not yet registered) then this is a place MADE FOR YOU.
Members can self identify across three stages of early career:
1. Approaching employment
2. Early employment
3. Approaching registration
These 'stages' help connect you with other students and graduates in a similar position and are the framework I use for creating different tiered options in the challenges and discussion.
If you're outside those parameters and are still keen to be involved I welcome you to reach out! We also have interior architecture and building design students. There's a whole lot of value inside that people from other regions or professional and working backgrounds can also enjoy and benefit from.
Commitment can be scary. That's why everyone gets a free fortnight trial to experience a sneak peek of what The Architect Project has to offer.
After that, you're only committed month by month, but keep in mind that The Architect Project is structured across twelve months, so we really expect most people to stay to complete a full cycle of topics.
1. Plan pricing currently displays in US dollars - but translates to $7AU/Week which is the current price for membership.
2. Please set up your payments in a browser before downloading the mobile app. Apple IOS takes a whopping 30% cut of your membership fee if you purchase in the app. Thank you - I appreciate this so much!
Please join us!
The Architect Project isn't like University. You're not forced to participate in anything and it's truly up to you how you engage and when. We're all individuals with different learning styles, interests, at different stages in our early career.
However, the option exists to record your active participation for a full twelve-month cycle and receive a transcript of learning 'Career Ready' certificate. This certificate lists all the topics you have participated in, and can be a powerful attachment to your resume, to take to your next review, or to show when you ask for a promotion.
On request, I can also provide a 'proof of membership' certificate at any time, for your resume.
YOU - Spring
BUILD - Summer
PRACTICE - Autumn
COLLABORATE - Winter
Then we repeat!
"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."