Young Architect

Are you having trouble getting started or making progress on the Architect Exam?!?? Is the self-guided nature of the ARE not working for you?

Join our virtual study group. The ARE Boot Camp offers a syllabus, a schedule with deadlines, people to study with, and accountability. To help you study for the Architect Exam, the program is organized similarly to a design studio.

We recently started accepting applications for sessions that are beginning in March and April 2018 for both ARE 4.0 and 5.0.  It's time to get started with making progress on the Architect Registration Exam. 

I have a long history of blogging. I started my first blog in 1999 on live journal, I was 19 and obsessed with the internet. I wrote about everyone and everything. For years I blogged on and off always had a ton of success with expressing myself or sharing what I am working on.  

In 2003 I was researching how I could ride my bicycle from Boston to New York City. In that process I found a blog written by a 50 year old women who was bicycling across the United States. I became fascinated and obsessed with following her trip. Long story short, I finally rode my bicycle across from Virginia to Oregon (solo) in 2005 after being soooooo inspired from bike touring travel blogs. During that summer wrote this blog.

Michael Riscica 2005 Transam photo at the Adventure Cycling Headquarters in Missoula. Montana.

The official photo Adventure Cycling photo – Missoula, Montana 2005


Riding my bicycle across the country for an entire summer was one of the best things I have ever done. Sharing the experience through the blog also brought me tremendous joy. I used to say “I just show up and the blog actually writes itself.” In 2007 I graduated architecture school and took another cross country blogging bicycle ride (with 2 close friends) except this time I stayed on the west coast and started a new life in Portland, Oregon.  

The response that I received from those 2 bike blogs was tenfold what I ever thought it would be. While on the road my site was getting tons of traffic and people from all over the world were emailing me to tell me that they were reading and to keep posting. People wrote me emails saying that they haven’t ridden a bicycle in 20 years, but my trip inspired them to get back on a bike. I have made life long friends with people who found through those blogs.

Team Northern Tier

This is what the end of a 5,000 mile bike ride looks like.


What I love so much about blogging is that it gives me an outlet. Like most architects I am blessed (yes blessed) with being slightly OCD. Blogging has always been a healthy place for me to express myself and connect with the world. For the past several years a greate deal of my time has been consumed with the reality of being a recent architecture graduate. I struggled to stay employed during a recession and the Architect Registration Exam was  4 times the amount of work I originally thought it would be. Having a blogging outlet is something I had been wanting for a very long time.  2007 to be exact.

In July of 2013 I started a blog at I was still wrapping up the architects exam at that time. I knew I wanted an architecture blog but I wasn’t really sure how to get there and since July I have figured that out.

October 2nd I passed my last exam and December 13th 2013 I Michael Riscica became a licensed Architect in the State of Oregon at the ripe age of 34 years old.

After a lot of thought about how I was going to brand my blog and get away from blogging under my personal name,  I decided I am going to embrace the brace the idea of the Young Architect.

Why Young Architect? 

When I was 20 years old and kicking around the idea of studying architecture someone I knew explained to me that:

“Architecture is an old man’s profession.”

He then went on to explain that most Architects work their butts off most of their life and don’t really start doing their best work until their older age. It’s just the reality. Look at all the greats.

He also thankfully pointed out that many Architects never retire. They pretend to retire but they are actually still mentally doing project of some other kind.

Sure, I guess both those ideas are kinda true. Ok, I can see the whole workaholism thing. Sure..

But for some reason this stupid quote and idea has stuck with me for a long time. I don’t know if I entirely accept it. I recently thought about it for awhile, actually why do I even care.

Heres why.

It’s definitely not a man’s profession.

Some of the best Architects I know are women. My first job out of college was working for the first entirely owned Women firms in the Pacific Northwest. I learned a ton and grew tremendously working for the 2 women I worked for.

Everything has changed.

Computers, the internet, the cost of labor, the amount of lawyers in the world, the American dream, family dynamics, sustainability, construction technology, BIM, inflation, drones, I could go on forever. In my generation I don’t believe the existing business model of architecture is going to run like it has for the past 100 years.  Billion dollar industries are quickly being weeded out if they don’t learn how to adapt.

The old thing.

In my yoga class about a year ago someone brought up this concept:

“…the first step to getting old is talking about getting old. When the mind say’s “im old” the body follows what the mind tells it. The body starts to feel old and it accelerates the cycle of deterioration.”

In this day and age, I don’t believe this profession is a good ol boys club of old men. If anything in my experiences its actually the opposite.

The 10 years 

The AIA actually considers architects eligible for the young architect award for the first 10 years after they receive their license. That’s cool. For the next 10 years I am going to keep my personal architecture blog at Young Architect. The next 10 years are about to be the most productive 10 years of my life.

Michael Riscica Young Architect

Michael Riscica

The purpose of this blog will be:

  • The outlet that I desperately need to express myself.
  • Discovering what my architecture practice is and what that looks like.
  • Walking down my path towards entrepreneurship. (something they don’t teach in architecture school or on the exam)
  • Going back to the basics and teaching the fundamentals of architecture, construction and design. This is where my passion is.
  • A resource. Connecting readers to good stuff that I know about.

A friend recently asked me who I am I writing for and I immediately responded myself. But that’s not entirely true. I’m writing for all the people who wanted to be an Architect when they were a kid,curious/interested homeowners,Architecture Students, the architecture exam crowd, other Architects, my friends and my family. That’s all. Basically everyone but this crotchedy old men.

ohhhhhhhh just kidding.

Thanks for joining me.

Michael Riscica.

 YA Logo



About the author

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect who lives in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever. He is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. In his free time, Michael likes to take very long bicycle rides across America. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.

Ken Klos - February 10, 2014

Yeah, crotchety Old Men are out there, but never think the next decade will be your most productive, only your most productive to date, there’s always the decade after that one, then the next. Keep the wheels turning and keep the brain learning I say. Great to see this Mike, I look forward to more.

Comments are closed

WordPress Help