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West Orange High School Architecture Students Learn About Career Opportunities

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Students in Cindy Celi's Architecture class at West Orange High School had the opportunity to learn about the profession when SSP Architects Principal Marcus Rosenau and Designer Jude Santoro visited their class. The pair provided students with insights into the field, as well as their college experiences to help them inform their decisions, offering advice and answering questions.


Questions about architecture as a profession and the challenges that many architecture majors face were asked by the over 70 students (including students from two Architecture, Engineering and Design classes and Institute of Math and Science students) who attended two sessions. Five major points to succeed in both studying for and entering the field were emphasized:

  1. “To be a good architect, don’t fall in love with your first idea. Try different things. Try different approaches. See what sticks for that particular problem. And – there needs to be an incubation period, allowing your design ideas to bloom,” said Rosenau. He added that because of this fact, architecture students in college should never wait until the last minute to do a project. It needs time to evolve.
  2. You don’t have to be good at math to go into architecture. It’s absolutely true that math is part of the job, but so much of architecture is design and problem-solving that “if you think architecture is the right field for you to pursue, math shouldn’t stand in your way,” said Rosenau. Saforo added that while he studied algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and physics, he admits he doesn’t use them regularly without the help of computers and calculators. To help with the course load and balance of architecture work, Saforo also recommended completing the math and other general ed courses upfront to allow more time for studio and related course work in your later college years.
  3. More important than math skills are problem-solving skills. “To be a good architect you need to listen to your client’s challenges, think through a problem, and come up with solutions,” said Rosenau. He added you must always keep your client’s interests and problems in mind when creating a design. Learn how to ask questions, dig down, and find the right problem before you start finding the solution.
  4. “Tracing paper should be your best friend when it comes to finding your design. The best design ideas often evolve from doodling and sketching designs on multiple sheets of tracing paper,” said Saforo. Rosenau agreed, saying even in this computer age he still finds it beneficial to draw out designs.
  5. Studying Communications and Public Speaking will help you sell your ideas as an architect,” said Rosenau. He added that the best communicator is a person who listens to their clients and gets to know them well. But even then, the best ideas will die if you can’t sell them.


.Marcus Roseneau, teacher Cindy Celi, Jude Santore


Cynthia Cumming
Feb. 28, 2024