How to Standout as a Young Architectural Designer in a Major City

How to standout as a young architectural designer in a major city
Young architects who live and work in major cities are talented designers; however, it can be hard to stand out. Their career trajectory is solely up to the designer and what they’re willing to do in order to secure their own place in the industry. The below tips are a great place to start for architects who want to stand out.

Take Risks

No architect has ever won international acclaim by adhering to the rules of design. Almost every breakout designer has broken at least one rule when designing the building that put them on the map.

It can be difficult to heed this advice, especially if an architect is new to the industry. However, it is important to realize that just because something hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean that it can never be done, it just means no one has tried to break the rules to make it possible.


Architecture is about networking. The more people an architect can bump into, the more chances they have of meeting a potential client or a new collaborator.

Architects should think about networking at industry events, but there are other chances as well: art fairs, vendor conferences, and more. Talk to as many people as possible, because potential jobs often come from the shortest of conversations.

Engage All 5 Senses

Architects are building spaces for humans to occupy, so all five senses should be engaged, not just sight. For young designers who want to stand out, this is perhaps the most important tip.

Using textured materials, placing windows in unusual places, creating walls with acoustic elements, and even bringing greenery indoors is a great way to play with the imagination. Architects who engage these senses by using these examples and more are often thought of as standout designers, as people who understand that interacting with an environment and inhabiting it does not have to be mutually exclusive.

Be Generous

One thing few architects think about when starting out is the idea of being generous. As a young architect, it’s important to be generous with time and ideas, especially if a client is interested in working together.

While being generous does not always land an architect a job, it will serve to demonstrate that an architect is passionate about their profession. That architect will also be remembered by clients for future projects because they were generous.

“Learn the rules and then break them” is a phrase most architects have used, but putting that into practice is far harder than it sounds. By taking risks, networking, and being generous, architects can learn to incorporate their own personality into their work and become breakout designers. In the end, an architect’s career is what they make it, and these tips can only help to serve them in their pursuit of a rewarding career.

Robert Gillings is an award winning writer, producer, actor architectural designer, philosopher and financial consultant. See his submission to the WTC Memorial Competition here.

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