Architect Spotlight: Scott Reynolds

At just 24-years-old, Scott Reynolds, AIA, NCARB, is one of the youngest architects in Michigan. We asked the University of Detroit Mercy graduate to share how he powered through the licensure process.

Why did you want to become an architect?

In all honesty, I didn’t always know I wanted to be an architect. It was only over time that I discovered the impact an architect can have on a community. I have always been passionate about helping people, and I realized I can do that through architecture.

How long did it take you to complete your internship and exams?

I passed all seven exams in about eight months and completed the Intern Development Program (IDP) 15 months after earning a Master’s from the University of Detroit Mercy. I had already been working for Stephen Auger + Associates Architects (SA+A Architects) for seven years, and at the time, the IDP required 5,600 hours.

You passed all seven divisions on the first try. Tell us your study secrets!

I took one exam a month, so I forced myself to stick to a rigorous and consistent study schedule. I knew I’d procrastinate if I allowed myself too much time between exams. Studying more frequently, but in small bursts worked better than cramming during a multi-hour study session. I also used a number of resources: books, an on-the-go flash card app, various study guides, practice exams, and most importantly, work. When I wasn’t grasping a concept, I would find a way to learn more through a project at work. I could easily relate to hands-on experience.

What were some of the benefits of starting an internship in high school?

Starting an internship in high school was one of the best decisions I ever made. I didn’t really know if I wanted to be an architect, but working in a firm helped clarify things at a young age. When I was 17, I approached SA+A Architects and asked for an internship. Since then, I have been exposed to some great opportunities that only come with time in the field. I continued to work at the firm through college, and now I’m a project architect. Starting an internship in school required a lot of commitment, but I believe my design ability and perspective of architecture are much stronger as a result.

Why was earning a license important to you?

Earning my license was important because it gave me the ability to freely pursue my passions. I also wanted to officially call myself an architect. I made a commitment to becoming an architect, and licensure was just another step in that process. Now I can open my own firm or work for someone else, the decision is mine.

How did you stay motivated to complete your path to licensure?

I have to thank my friends and family, but most of all my boss and mentor, Steve Auger, AIA, NCARB. I set many goals for myself, but I would not have been able to pursue them without the opportunities and support he has provided over the past seven years. The path to licensure is not easy, so don’t do it alone. Utilize your resources and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need to. You’re not the first to embark on this journey.

Tell us about your first experience as project lead.

It was intimidating, yet exhilarating. I was excited to be a project lead, but I also realized how much I still have to learn about architecture. Every project presents new challenges and I quickly learned as an architect, you’re never done learning.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

Don’t make the licensure process more difficult than it needs to be. Many of you made the commitment to become an architect long before the acronyms of IDP or ARE came into your life. You enrolled in an architecture program, spent many hours in studio, passed difficult exams, and graduated. Don’t let the last steps of that commitment stop you. In my eyes, the AREs are just a few more exams that measure your ability to practice architecture. Don’t make them a bigger deal than they need to be.

Scott Reynolds currently works at SA+A Architects in Lake Orion, MI, and was the Project Lead for the relocation and renovation of The Village of Lake Orion Village Hall.