→ Chapter 4: Motivations (not) to Practice Architecture

Becoming Architects
Practice Gaps

Graduates entering practice should be intrinsically motivated to practice architecture born out of the intensity, collectivity and idealism of their studies. Understanding how they experience transitioning between university and practice - the practice gap - is one of the central aims of the thesis. This experience clearly varies between graduates. Many may have already gathered early practice experiences through internships and student jobs, which may have raised or dampened their expectations of professional life after university. Navigating this gap between expectation and reality is one of the biggest challenges facing graduates entering an extremely diverse and often disillusioning field. Many want to become architects, but become disillusioned by the realities of architectural practice. Others seek to strike out in other directions and are faced with the question, “Am I an Architect?”.

The following chapter will use the interview material from the last practice element - Situated Professionally? - to describe and compare this process of becoming with a view to understanding how these graduates experience the transition between university and practice. To support my small sample size, I will often refer to the much larger but less specific results of the EU-wide Architecture’s Afterlife⁠ project to contextualise my arguments. Rather than judging whether any of the respondents experienced a “good” or “bad” education, this section will focus on how their experiences at different points in their professional development influenced their personal disposition toward architecture and which experiences led to feelings of doubt or resistance about becoming an architect.