Expert: Aspiring architects need to work both sides of the brain


The Patriot Ledger

The recipe for the perfect architect calls for equal parts creativity, and technical prowess. Since no one’s perfect, an aspiring architect would do well to build on whichever trait is strongest, said Quincy architect Stephen Wessling.

But Wessling said those looking to be at the top of the field should work hard to strengthen their weaker side, too.

“I’m looking for something that doesn’t exist – someone with a strong right brain and strong left brain.” Wessling said. “Keep working on what you’re weak on. If you can draw, look at construction and how to join the right materials together. If you’re more technical, work on your drawing.”

Wessling said architects are often pigeonholed as either the go-to for more artistic or more utilitarian projects.

The key, according to Peter Turowski of Turowski Architecture Inc. in Plymouth, is to bring aesthetic form to function.

Turowski said many architects know their calling from a young age. He said even before formally studying architecture, he always had a keen awareness of the building environment around him, and recommends that amateurs study buildings before going to school for it.

When it comes to schooling, there are many different paths to architecture. There are a number of five-year bachelor’s degree programs in the subject, but some choose to seek a bachelor’s degree in a different subject and go into architecture in a master’s program.

Both Wessling and Turowski said the current trend is to get a three-year master’s degree in architecture, often in lieu of the traditional five-year bachelor’s degree approach.

While the master’s degree is certainly helpful, particularly for those interested in the field’s design aspects, Wessling said there’s no replacing this education gained from practical experience in the field. Both he and Turowski recommend interning early and often.

Wessling said architecture is an exceedingly difficult field. He said architecture students, to cope with heavy workloads, often find it difficult to maintain active social lives. And once one graduates and becomes an architect, he said the education continues as one must keep abreast of changes in technology and building codes.

As such, he said, architecture is a field for both the patient and the determined.

“It’s an endurance test,” Wessling said. “Like life.”

A.J. Bauer may be reached at

Many paths to Architecture

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