Meet Nick Arcuri, a UL Lafayette graduate student who will finish his Master of Architecture degree in May 2016. He earned his Bachelor of General Studies in the arts and humanities and worked as a blacksmith and woodworker before becoming one of our graduate students at UL Lafayette. Outside the classroom, he works as a graduate assistant in the Office of Career Services.
Why did you want to earn a graduate degree?
I felt that I needed a graduate degree to expand my career options and to ensure that I was a competitive candidate for the jobs I want.
Why a master’s in architecture?
In architecture, if you don’t have a professional degree from a five-year program, you need to get an undergraduate degree and a master’s in architecture to be licensed -- and I want to be a licensed architect.
I kind of fell into architecture — growing up in Tampa, Florida, my dad was an architect and my mom was an art teacher. I didn’t originally want to pursue architecture and instead wanted to do visual arts, but I didn’t like that as much as I expected.
I spent some time after my undergraduate career building custom cabinetry, and got back into designing. I decided I could have a future in designing if I went back to school. While I was working, I really liked seeing a finished product at the end of the day and the fulfillment that came from that. It’s important to me that I can continue to have that fulfillment in my career.
Why did you choose UL Lafayette’s master’s in architecture program?
While I was working, I ran into one of my former professors, who convinced me that earning my master’s in architecture was the right path for me. At UL Lafayette, it was the fastest, most affordable, and most convenient way for me to earn an accredited degree.
What do you like best about being a graduate student at UL Lafayette?
There were so many opportunities available in and outside of class, and I took advantage of as many as I could. There are great opportunities available to anyone in the Master of Architecture program, and that’s a huge draw. I liked being able to do design-build projects, along with all of the traveling opportunities we had as graduate students.
I got to study abroad in Florence under a Rome Prize winning architect and professor Michael McClure for graduate credit. I won the internship to work for the world’s premier water feature designer Jim Garland in Los Angeles, where I also lived with Emmy-winning set designers. UL Lafayette's master's in architecture program took part in an international grant project that funded the design and construction of multiple gridshell pavilions across North America. I was one of the lead designers for the project, and traveled to Nova Scotia to present the design at an international conference.
What did you do for a master’s project or thesis?
Over three semesters, I designed and built a temporary, portable event space for a local fundraising dinner called Runaway Dish. I used readily available materials and drew inspiration from local building types to create a unique dining room specific to the Southern-themed event. It will be reassembled for future Runaway Dish events across the region.
Watch a video of the event space's assembly here:
What do you plan to do with your master’s degree?
The master’s in architecture is one of three pieces you need to become a licensed architect — so I’ll use what I learned in the classroom as a foundation for the next two steps: my licensing exams and work in a firm.