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Roger K. Lewis

Roger K. Lewis is a practicing architect and planner, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Maryland, and a columnist for the Washington Post.

Titles by This Author

A Candid Guide to the Profession

Since 1985, Architect? has been an essential text for aspiring architects, offering the best basic guide to the profession available. This third edition has been substantially revised and rewritten, with new material covering the latest developments in architectural and construction technologies, digital methodologies, new areas of focus in teaching and practice, evolving aesthetic philosophies, sustainability and green architecture, and alternatives to traditional practice.

Architect? tells the inside story of architectural education and practice; it is realistic, unvarnished, and insightful. Chapter 1 asks “Why Be an Architect?” and chapter 2 offers reasons “Why Not to Be an Architect.” After this provocative beginning, Architect? goes on to explain and critique architectural education, covering admission, degree and curriculum types, and workload as well as such post-degree options as internship, teaching, and work in related fields. It offers a detailed discussion of professors and practitioners and the “-isms” and “-ologies” most prevalent in teaching and practicing architecture. It explains how an architect works and gets work, and describes architectural services from initial client contact to construction oversight. The new edition also includes a generous selection of drawings and cartoons from the author’s Washington Post column, “Shaping the City,” offering teachable moments wittily in graphic form.

The author, Roger Lewis, has taught, practiced, and written extensively about architecture for many years. In Architect? he explains—for students, professors, practitioners, and even prospective clients—how architects think and work and what they care about as they strive to make the built environment more commodious, more beautiful, and more sustainable.

The first edition of Architect?, published in 1985, quickly became known as the best basic guide to the architectural profession. More than a decade later, it is a standard text for introductory courses on architecture and recommended reading on the application forms of many schools of architecture. This revised edition includes new information pertinent to current education and practice and addresses issues and concerns of great interest to students choosing among different types of programs, schools, firms, and architectural career paths.

Roger K. Lewis, a practicing architect and educator, takes a hard look at the education of the architect as he covers such topics as curriculum content, pedagogical theories and methods, program and faculty types, the admission process, internship, compensation, computer-aided design, and the culture of small and large firms. He tells how an architect works and gets work, and explains all aspects of architectural services, from initial client contact to construction oversight.

The author describes the benefits of becoming an architect, including the opportunity to express oneself creatively, to improve the environment, and to achieve notoriety. But he doesn't hesitate to show the other side—the lack of steady work and appropriate compensation, the intensity of competition, the restrictions imposed by clients, and the high degree of anxiety and disillusionment among young architects. Written in a clear, accessible style, the book is accompanied by the authors often-humorous illustrations and a valuable appendix.

 

A BIT of Architect?

From an essential text for the aspiring architect, this BIT offers realistic, unvarnished advice. A practicing architect and planner, professor of architecture, and architecture columnist offers reasons for becoming an architect (including “creative and intellectual fulfillment,” “love of drawing—without a computer,” and “immortality”) as well as reasons for not becoming an architect (including “lack of work,” “competition,” and “ego vulnerability”).