R. Steven Lewis (1984)

This essay was first published in the NOMA Magazine, Fall 2008 issue.


The Architectural Licensing Exam: A Right Of Passage
by R. Steven Lewis
Licensed 1984

As a young teenager, years before the thought of pursuing a career for myself as an architect entered my mind, I can recall the day when my father received the results of his licensing exam in the mail.

Months earlier, my mom, along with me, my brother and sister drove into Manhattan at the end of the final day of the then week-long exam to pick him up from the Coliseum at 59th Street and Columbus Avenue. The International Style structure designed by Leon and Lionel Levy with John B. Peterkin Embury and Eggers & Higgins, was built in 1954 and stood as one of New York City’s most well known monuments until it was demolished in 2000. Continue reading


Welcome to Arch Stories, a compilation of stories from architects about their licensure story.

For many architects, the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) become a dreaded obstacle that one must conquer. Many of us have searing memories about the experience – the late nights studying, the attempts and multiple practice graphic vignettes, the panic of forgotten formulas moments before entering a testing room. Most of us who attempt the exam eventually succeed at passing and live to tell about it.

Arch Stories is your chance to tell others about your experience. What started as a way for a group of interns to support each other is now a place for architects to share their story and help inspire others on the road to licensure.

Tell us your story.