Boston Architectural College - Andres Moreira

This interview is with Andres Moreira, a master of architecture candidate expecting to graduate from Boston Architectural College May 2017. We recently spoke with him about his experience within his program and what he's planning to do with his professional future.

What influenced you to pursue a degree in Architecture?
While in high school I was interested in creative fields and I wanted to seek design with a humanistic approach. Because Architecture has the human being as the main focus I decided to go with it. Plus I was exposed to construction since I was little as one of my uncle is an Architect, and my mom loves to make changes in the house.

What has your experience in the program been like at BAC?
It has been challenging but fun. I have had the opportunity to meet great people who are doing interesting architecture and research. The program as expected is challenging because it pushes us to learn outside the classroom environment but likewise we can bring real work experience to the classroom.

Were there other schools you were considering?
I had 2 options, one was in Ecuador and I also was accepted to go to Germany for a Master in Building resources. I had been practicing for a while back in Ecuador and I decided that I would not study again unless it was directly related to practice, and there it was : Boston Architectural College. I was excited about the skills I would be learning because it is done inside and outside the classroom. Besides the curriculum, Boston is a beautiful place to live, lively and peaceful at the same time.

What is your favorite class so far?
I have enjoyed my studios because of the way my instructors have pushed me and my classmates to look for real solutions for our class projects. Building technology classes are great too, teaching us how to use digital tools with real world situations and climate conditions.Andres Moreira

What is unique about the nature of your major’s classes?
Once again the constant approach to real world problems and solutions in the Architecture practice. This helps us develop skills besides the architectural ones, like time management and networking. We are involved with the city and everything that happens around it.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this area of study, and was this something you had originally anticipated?
The level of detail and thought from a tiny part of the building to the whole building and its environment is challenging to integrate. Time management is one of the most challenging parts while studying architecture.

Is there anything you wish you had known about this major ahead of time before choosing this career path?
That business is an important part of any profession. Also that Architecture has many paths to follow and it is an interdisciplinary practice.

What are the best ways to network with your peers within your major?
BAC has its students involved with what is happening in the city. Also the practice department is constantly encouraging us to look for networking opportunities all around. Also in Boston, the BSA (Boston Society of Architects), is always offering many opportunities to learn more about the city, increase our skills, volunteer and to connect with other professionals.

Have you participated in any internships?
Because of our curriculum, we are required to fulfill hours of internships in order to graduate, this is managed by the Practice department. By doing this, before we graduate, we can accomplish our Architectural Experience Program hours and skills required by NCARB. Practice Department helps us the process of applying to internships from creating a good resume, concise cover letters, and even practice interviews. Practice also has a website with Job Postings that we can look at, and because our resume and portfolio are uploaded there, people who are hiring look for us too. We receive a weekly email with practice opportunities that can fit and can help us develop our skills.

What are your future career plans and aspirations?
After I finish my masters I am going back to Ecuador, I will practice and study to take my ARE tests. I would like to continue researching through my personal practice and to teach in a university.

What is the best piece of advice related to your field of study that you have received?
To be observant, to sketch as often as possible and to learn from other people.Andres M.

What advice would you give someone else trying to break into this field?
To listen, to instructors, classmates, conferences, clients, etc. Besides this: read a lot, always give some time for yourself, be healthy and happy.

How are you financing your education, and what are your most helpful online resources or tools?
I have a loan back in my country. The school system for financing our payments has been really helpful. Online resources in architecture are everywhere, the most useful Section/Cut. It is a site curated by its users for Architecture students and professionals.

What resources or information would you like to help you think about your career that you’re not currently getting?
Balancing life and work probably. And maybe some more information about starting business in architecture.

Andres' Reading List:

  • In Praise of the Shadows, by Junichiro Tanizaki - It is an essay in which the author describes Japanese aesthetics and its changes compared to western culture. The description of details, materials, light, shadows, tradition, etc. are extremely rich, and I think we as designers should think about these aspects in our designs.
  • Eyes of the Skin, by Juhani Pallasmaa - We grow up and are educated perceiving mostly everything with our eyes. In this essay, we are driven to use all our senses and design with them, and for them.
  • Atmospheres, by Peter Zumthor - When one sees Peter Zumthor buildings you notice that he is someone who cares about detail and space. This is a small book that I carry around with me. It is one of his lectures and he talks about the elements of his designs. Materials, people, poetics, everything that can be assembled to create a great atmosphere.

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