Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Passed My First ARE!

Today in the mail I (finally!) received the score for my first ARE (Site Planning & Design), which I took back in October.  I am pleased to report that I passed!

According to NCARB's website, Prometric recently experienced some scoring delays related to the new ARE 4.0.  I am hoping these kinks are worked out now and it will not take more than two months to grade each of the other tests.  Perhaps by the time I take my fourth test in mid-January, I will know whether I passed the other two I have already taken.

Before I started taking my tests, several of my recently-licensed friends advised me to set a pretty steady test-taking schedule and stick to it.  I have been successful so far in sticking to my one-test-a-month schedule so far, and with continued perseverance (and passing grades!) I will complete all my tests by April!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Three Down, Four to Go

I just got back from taking my third registration exam: Schematic Design. The test material was not really difficult, but the time constraints made it feel a bit difficult. In the first of two exercises, I had one hour to lay out the interior partitions and furniture for a suite of offices. In the second, I had four hours to lay out the schematic plans for a two-story building given a specific program and code requirements. Neither of these exercises created great architecture, but I hope that I was able to fulfill the program and code requirements sufficiently. There were certainly some things I wished I could have clarified or tweaked, but at a some point, you are just beyond the point of no return! I know I could have been more clear on a few components of each layout, but I am hoping that I made only minor, non-critical errors in the exam.

As with the other two exams I have already taken, I will reserve judgment on the level of difficulty of the test until I receive my scores; however, I do feel optimistic and hopeful that this particular exam went pretty smoothly.

Incidentally, I have not yet received any scores from my other two exams, even though I took the first one two months ago. Maybe I'll get a few passing scores for Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Day in History: Feliz Aniversario!

If you have ever met me, you probably figured out that I love Modern architecture.  If you know me well, then you probably know that I love Latin American Modern architecture in particular.  If you know me really well, then you have probably heard me talk about my admiration for the great Brazilian Modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer.  And if you know me really, really well, then you know that my little black dachshund, Oscar, is named, not after the famous hot dog brand, but after Mr. Niemeyer himself!

OK, so I admit that I am a little bit of a Latino-phile and Modernist wannabe, but with good reason:  today, Oscar Niemeyer turns 101 years old!  At a century-plus-one and still practicing, Niemeyer is the last living of the great Modern architects.  What an amazing life, what an amazing career, what an amazing legacy!

In school, I took every research paper opportunity possible to write about Niemeyer and his architecture, and at work last year, I applied for Pickard Chilton's first annual architectural travel award--my proposal to spend two weeks in Brazil researching Modern architecture was overwhelmed by Niemeyer buildings.  Somewhere in that proposal was also the glimmer of hope that I might be able to meet Mr. Niemeyer while in Brazil, which has been a long-time dream of mine.  (And somewhere even deeper, on the outside edge of possibility, would be having the opportunity to meet him when Kim and I travel to Brazil to complete the adoption of our two children!  You can read about this adventure on our adoption blog.)

I know someday I will have the opportunity to visit Brazil and to experience some of Mr. Niemeyer's buildings first-hand, but I also know that I have to be realistic that my dream of meeting him becomes less and less probable with each passing year.

So, in case I never get to meet you, Mr. Niemeyer, congratulations on your 101st birthday!  Congratulations on your long and exuberant life and a on your long and distinguished architectural career.  Thank you for your incredible and indispensable contribution to the legacy of Modern architecture in the world, and thank you for your consistent inspiration to me throughout my architectural studies and career.

Feliz Aniversario, Senhor Niemeyer!  Muitas felicitaƧƵes!