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Chris Dawson has been an architect for 15 years, and he currently is the sole proprietor of the Chris Dawson Architect firm in Pennsylvania. He has designed a number of projects that have been recognized by The American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Architect Career Path
From an early age, Chris was inspired by architecture and knew that field was the one for him.
“When I was very young,” he recalls, “I would ride my bike to soccer practice. On the way, I always saw this unusual synagogue, which was designed by the dean at Syracuse University at that time, and I was amazed by it. I ended up getting my degree at Syracuse.”
Experiences of an Architect
Chris earned his Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University in New York, gaining experience wherever he could.
“I did internships for professors and professionals at home over the summer when I could get them,” he says.
Chris has worked in several architecture firms in his 15 years of experience, including Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects and Hammel Associates Architects. He currently is the sole proprietor of Chris Dawson Architect located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
He is affiliated with a number of architecture organizations, and he is the current president and board member of the Central Pennsylvania American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chapter.
Architecture Degree Programs
To obtain any kind of architecture job, you need at least a Bachelor’s of Architecture, known as a B. Arch, which is different than a Bachelor’s of Art or Science degree. (A B. Arch requires five years of study as opposed to the traditional four-year degree. ) In addition, aspiring architects then need to complete a three-year apprenticeship period.
To succeed, students need plenty of experience to become recognized in the field and to help them stand out against stiff competition competition.
Architect Job Description
Chris is the sole proprietor of Chris Dawson Architect. He has designed many projects there, eight of which have been recognized by the AIA as Design Excellence Award Winners.
Architect Daily Routine
“There is no such thing as a normal day for architects,” Chris explains. “One of the great things about architecture is that every day is different because each is dependent on the types of project you’re working on and at what stage of development they are at.”
In summary, architects’ daily responsibilities entail leading construction projects.
“We need to go about marketing ourselves to land projects,” says Chris. “Once we land a project, we start by understanding the project site, context, and requirements (codes, budget, schedule, etc.), and then develop a conceptual design solution(s), typically in concert with the owner.”
“You then develop a preferred schematic design and a design development package,” he continues, “which starts to paint the picture of all that the project will entail. The next step would be to...