Architect and host of the Young Architect Podcast, Michael Riscica, introduces himself, how Young Architect got its start, and what you can expect to learn from these podcasts.
Architect Michael Riscica and Young Architect
The Young Architect website was created in 2014 when Michael Riscica began blogging about his experience of architecture school and taking the Architect Registration Examinations (ARE). Over the course of time, Young Architect has evolved and grown to include resources such as the ARE Bootcamp to help young, aspiring architects study for the AREs and begin their careers.
Now, Young Architect is expanding once more to include a new medium to the website: Podcasts.
Michael decided to begin the Young Architect Podcast so that he could have and share conversations with architects of different backgrounds, careers, and experiences rather than just writing about them.
Michael grew up on the East Coast of the USA and lived in a variety of places from Boston, Massachusetts to the suburbs of New York City. He has always loved working with computers and his very first exposure to architecture was when he had a drafting job and he learned how to use AutoCAD software. That moment would change his life from here on out.
Michael has always loved to learn, do research, and enhance his architecture skills. Whether it’s computers, drawing, thinking in 3D or project managing, Michael has many strengths that he’s continuously trying to improve to become the best architect that he can be.
After graduating from college, Michael moved to the West Coast by bike after deciding he would go on a trip with friends. He decided that once they completed their trip, he would stay in one of the states; so he settled in Portland, Oregon.
Michael has worked on a variety of architecture projects including several for the city of Portland and their police force as a Project Manager. In 2015, he published the book, How To Pass The Architecture Registration Exam.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode
- Why Michael began this podcast and what he hopes both he and you will get out of it.
- What types of guests you can expect to listen to on the podcast.
- Why the podcast medium is a great way to reach out to the Young Architect audience.
- Michael’s education experiences and his favorite method to learn.
- How Michael became so interested in computers, drawing, and research.
- Michael’s first exposure to the world of architecture when we worked in drafting.
- How working at a restaurant helped Michael become an excellent project manager.
- Why Michael decided to bike across the USA from Virginia to Oregon and then live on the West Coast once he arrived.
- How Michael and the firm he was working for were able to survive the 2007 recession.
- The experience of working as a Project Manager for the city of Portland, Oregon and working on projects with the local police force.
- Michael’s own experience studying for his license and why it was a strange experience for him to finish the AREs.
- How Young Architect got its start once Michael finished his AREs and received his license.
- Why he wrote the book, How to Pass the Architecture Registration Exam.
- The biggest difference between architecture school and the AREs in addition to why it’s so difficult to prepare for the exams and how his book can help.
- How Michael came up with the idea to create The ARE Bootcamp in order to help students focus on their ARE exams and learn from each other.
- What architecture projects Michael is working on now and how he splits his time between work, The ARE Bootcamp, and Young Architect.
- Life living in Portland, Oregon and how Michael spends his free time in the city including hiking and teaching yoga.
- How yoga has helped Michael throughout school and now into his career.
- Michael’s volunteer experience with teaching 3rd graders about architecture and mentoring students.
- Michael’s own answers to the same 6 questions that he will ask future guests on the show.
- Why Calendly is such a great tool to set up meetings and save time.
Key Takeaways From This Episode with Michael Riscica
- We can learn so much from other architects. Whether we’re students, architects, or now retired, we’re all leaders of this profession. Everyone has a story and an experience to share that we can embrace and use it to help us with our own careers.
- Each and every single one off us consumes media and information in different ways. The great thing about using the podcast medium, is that it can allow us to reach out to new people and have great conversations with them.
- We all have different skills and areas of interests that can help us become great architects. To become truly skilled though, you constantly have to keep trying new activities such as volunteering in the community, learning more about architecture, and studying new skills.
Michael Riscica’s Advice for Aspiring Architects
“Success in architecture doesn’t happen between 9am and 5pm. That time period is the day job and that’s paying the bills. People who are truly successful in architecture are working from 5pm and 9am and outside of the day job. Whether they are studying for exams, learning a new skill, networking to connect with potential clients, or volunteering. I truly believe that working from 5pm to 9am is what it takes to be successful in architecture.” – Michael Riscica on what it takes to become a great architect.
“It’s okay with being where you’re at today. I always felt insecure and that there was so much more that I needed to know. This feeling became ingrained by how we are educated as architects. There’s always a feeling that the glass is half empty. There’s always more that you can do on your project and it’s never enough because your work can be better. As fellow architects, we’re not here to pat you on the back until you’ve done a great job. You always need to ask yourself, how can your work be better?
– Michael Riscica on how there’s always room for improvement.
“The underlying theme of the podcast is that I want to hear people’s stories. Where did they come from? Why did they decide architecture was for them? What was it like going through architecture school? What was it like coming up in the ranks?”
– Michael Riscica on the purpose of the podcast and what he wants to find out from the people that he interviews.
“I’ve always felt that hearing other people’s backgrounds, stories, and how they begot to where they are today has helped me tremendously with figuring out my own career.”
– Michael Riscica on what he’s learned from the people that he’s interviewed and how it has helped him.
“After finishing the exams, I needed something highly creative. I needed something that fed into my creativity because architecture school was all creativity, but studying for the exams was zero creativity. So I started blogging and I began Young Architect.”
– Michael Riscica on the differences between architecture school and the exams as well as his craving do always keep his creative mind active.
“The intention with Young Architect was to help people become more successful. I felt like I had gone on a wild goose chase to become a licensed architect. It felt like I had gotten to the end of my destination, but in many ways, I was actually just starting my career. With Young Architect, I just wanted to share data, information, and content with people to help prevent them from going on the same goose chase that I experienced.”
– Michael Riscica on how Young Architect got its start and his experience with completing his AREs.
“I wrote the book, How to Pass the Architecture Registration Exam which was somewhat of a response to all the people I saw start studying for the exams or said, “I want to become a licensed architect,” but never followed through and never finished. I feel like architecture school never really prepares you for the exams. I did really well in architecture school, but the experience I had in architecture school and passing the exams was completely, drastically different.”
– Michasel Riscica on why he wrote the book, How to Pass the Architecture Registration Exam.
“The biggest difference between architecture school and the AREs is that architecture school is a community and a comradery with deadlines and schedules, but the exams are the complete opposite. The exams are a self-guided studying process with no schedules or deadlines.”
– Michael Riscica on the main difference between architecture school and the AREs.
“Your past and everything that’s happened today does not have to define what happens in the future.”
– The biggest takeaway piece of advice that Michael Risicia took from the book, Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
“It’s not really about me. For the longest time, I’d always just focused on myself. I’d ask myself, ‘How much money am I making?’, ‘What am I getting out of this?’, What’s in it for me?’ And I kind of had this attitude that everything was about me. Then I started to realize that nothing was truly just about me when I was studying for the architecture exam. During that time, I was reviewing how architects need to focus on the health, safety, protection, and welfare of the public. I realized that architecture is really a service industry and we’re there to protect other people as well as property. When I stopped worrying about me and what I was going to get, I began to just focus on giving value and helping people by doing what I could and to be of service to other people. When I think like that, that’s when I do my best and that’s when I shine. – Michael Riscica on what he wished he would’ve known when he was just beginning his career as an architect.
Resources Mentioned in the Show
- Subscribe to Young Architect
- Read the Young Architect Blog
- Check out Michael’s book, How To Pass The Architecture Registration Exam
- Join the ARE Bootcamp
- Connect with Michael on Social Media
- Contact Michael via email or the Young Architect Contact Page
- Check out the Boston Architecture Center (BAC)
- Learn more about the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)
- Improve your drafting abilities with AutoCAD software
- Read more about Michael’s biking trip across the USA: Architect Bicycles Across America
- Join the NCARB – Architect Registration Examination Facebook Group
- Use Calendly to help you schedule meetings and save time
- Read Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
- Get your own Roomba
- Check out Spotify
- Get in tune with your body and mind with a Fitbit