New & Noteworthy

Unveiling the Path to Success

Navigating the ARE Testing Journey with NCARB

Embarking on a career in architecture is a captivating journey of  creativity, vision, and practical expertise. As aspiring architects strive to bring their design dreams to life, there is one essential milestone standing in their path: the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the ARE is a comprehensive and rigorous set of six tests that assesses a candidate’s competence in various areas of architectural practice. In this blog, we delve into the intricate process of ARE testing, shedding light on the steps, challenges, and triumphs that define the path to licensure for architects. Whether you’re a recent architecture graduate or a seasoned professional seeking licensure, join us as we navigate the terrain of ARE testing and uncover the key insights that will empower you on your quest for success.

When embarking on the exciting journey of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), it’s crucial to establish a strong foundation by taking the right first steps. The initial phase of the ARE testing process involves understanding the requirements, creating a study plan, and registering with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Familiarizing yourself with the specific licensure requirements in your jurisdiction is essential, as they can vary from state to state. This will provide you with a clear roadmap of the examinations you need to complete and the eligibility criteria you must meet. Next, devising a well-structured study plan is vital for effective preparation. It’s advisable to allocate dedicated time for each exam division, ensuring a balanced approach and sufficient coverage of the required knowledge areas. Finally, registering with NCARB establishes your official eligibility to take the ARE. This step involves submitting your educational transcripts, experience records, and application fees  You can view the specific guidelines here.  By laying a solid groundwork with these initial steps, you set yourself up for a focused and successful ARE testing journey.

While the ARE’s are an important milestone on the path to becoming a licensed architect, it is not without its challenges. First challenge is the vast amount of content: The ARE covers a wide range of topics, from building systems and structural design to project management and construction documents. The sheer volume of content can be overwhelming, requiring candidates to thoroughly understand and retain a significant amount of information.  Next challenge is the balancing act that comes with the testing.  Balancing the demands of work, personal life, and studying for the ARE can be a significant challenge. Finding the time and discipline to consistently dedicate sufficient hours to studying while juggling other responsibilities can be a struggle for many candidates.  Following that, the overall exam structure and format can be quite a difficult task.  Each division of the ARE has a unique format, ranging from multiple-choice questions to case studies and graphic vignettes. Understanding and becoming familiar with the exam structure and format is crucial for effective preparation. Some candidates may find it challenging to adapt to the specific requirements of each division.  Similarly, the exam structure and format are also a difficult challenge to overcome. The ARE is a comprehensive exam that consists of multiple divisions, and each division can take several hours to complete. Maintaining focus and stamina throughout the lengthy examination process can be mentally and physically taxing, especially for candidates who are not accustomed to such intense testing environments.  This brings us to managing the stress and pressure that can come with this testing process.  The significance of the ARE in shaping one’s architectural career can create substantial stress and pressure. The fear of failure, combined with the high stakes nature of the exam, can negatively impact candidates’ confidence and performance.  Making your mental health a priority is key to managing stress and in turn focusing on the test at hand.  Some of the best ways to manage test stress can be found here. And finally, and arguably one of the biggest challenges can be the cost.  The financial aspect of the ARE can pose a challenge for some candidates. The exam fees, study materials, and potential retake costs can add up, making it necessary to budget and plan accordingly.  Despite these challenges, with dedication, effective study strategies, and a resilient mindset, aspiring architects can overcome these obstacles and succeed in their ARE testing journey.

As we conclude our exploration of the ARE testing process through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), we have uncovered the intricate path that aspiring architects must navigate to achieve licensure. From understanding the requirements and creating a study plan to facing the challenges head-on, this blog has shed light on the initial steps and main obstacles of the ARE testing journey. While the road may be challenging, it is crucial to remember that perseverance, dedication, and a strategic approach can lead to success. By embracing the vast amount of content, mastering time management, and staying resilient in the face of stress and pressure, architects-in-training can conquer the ARE and open doors to a fulfilling and rewarding professional future. So, take the first step, prepare diligently, and let your architectural dreams flourish as you embark on the transformative journey of ARE testing.

Designing Outdoor Spaces

How to Elevate Your Summer Living Experience

As we enter the month of June, the promise of long, sunny days and balmy evenings finally come around. It’s the perfect time to embrace the great outdoors and make the most of your residential space. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to transform your outdoor areas into stunning, functional, and inviting spaces that enhance your summer living experience. Get ready to discover inspiring ideas and expert tips that will elevate your outdoor lifestyle this June!

Limited outdoor space is something we here in the PNW are used to – but it shouldn’t limit your ability to create a stunning and functional oasis.  First, incorporating multi-functional furniture pieces, such as benches with hidden storage or tables that can double as planters, allows for both seating and efficient use of space. Utilizing vertical space through hanging gardens, trellises, or wall-mounted shelves provides ample room for plants and decor, while keeping the ground area free. Creating distinct zones or areas within the space, such as a dining area, cozy lounge corner, or a mini herb garden, helps define the space and make it feel more purposeful. Maximizing natural light by choosing transparent or open structures like glass railings or pergolas can create an open and airy ambiance. Finally, choosing the right lighting, such as string lights or wall-mounted fixtures, can enhance the atmosphere and extend the usability of the outdoor space into the evening hours. By implementing these creative approaches, homeowners can transform their small outdoor living spaces into inviting and functional retreats.


As nature blossoms in full glory during June, it’s the perfect time to reconnect with the natural world.  Creating a tranquil outdoor retreat is possible for both renters and homeowners, regardless of the property type. Start by incorporating elements of nature, such as potted plants, hanging gardens, or vertical green walls, to infuse the space with a sense of serenity. Introduce comfortable seating options like hammocks, lounge chairs, or cozy cushions to encourage relaxation and contemplation. Privacy can be achieved by utilizing bamboo screens, trellises adorned with climbing plants, or decorative panels. Incorporate soothing water features like small fountains or bubbling pots to add a calming auditory experience. Strategic lighting, such as soft string lights or gentle lanterns, can create an enchanting ambiance during evening hours. Finally, emphasize natural textures and materials like wood, stone, and natural fibers to establish a connection with the outdoors. By employing these techniques, both renters and homeowners can design a tranquil outdoor retreat that serves as a sanctuary from the busyness of everyday life.

June is all about celebrating with friends and family in the great outdoors. Designing an outdoor entertainment area that seamlessly blends comfort, style, and functionality is key to creating a space where unforgettable gatherings can take place. Start by selecting comfortable and durable furniture that provides ample seating and lounging options for guests. Consider weather-resistant materials and plush cushions that offer both comfort and style. Incorporate versatile features such as modular seating or ottomans that can be rearranged to accommodate different group sizes and activities. Enhance the ambiance with stylish lighting fixtures, such as string lights, lanterns, or built-in LED options, to create an inviting atmosphere after sundown. Integrate functional elements like a well-equipped outdoor kitchen or a bar area, complete with storage and prep space, for easy entertaining. Additionally, consider incorporating shade structures, such as pergolas or retractable awnings, to provide relief from the sun and ensure comfort during warmer days. By carefully selecting elements that prioritize comfort, infusing the space with stylish accents, and incorporating functional features, you can design an outdoor entertainment area that seamlessly blends comfort, style, and functionality for memorable gatherings with family and friends.


As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, now is the perfect time to elevate your outdoor living experience. Whether you have a small backyard or an expansive property, there are many ways to transform your outdoor spaces into functional and breathtaking areas that perfectly suit your lifestyle. Embrace the beauty of June and embark on a journey of design that will make this summer one to remember!

Welcome To The Team!

Tyler King

Please help us warmly welcome, Tyler King to the Milbrandt Team!  Tyler comes to Milbrandt as a born and raised Seattle native, and proud WSU alum.

What drew him to study and peruse a career in architecture, was his mom, who was an interior designer.  “I was always infatuated by the work she would do.  This led me to the exploration for the design process of buildings. The artistic sensibility to put together a place that is organized, conveys emotion and responds to the surrounding environment was a challenge I was very excited to learn and pursue in my career. I loved finding a place to bring my creativity to a technical level.” 

When Tyler is not working on beautiful buildings, Tyler has a passion for cooking.  He loves to explore new recipes and crafting dishes that he tries to come up with on his own. He is even known as the chef for his household!


Ray Gonzales

Introducing, Ray Gonzales, as another new member to our team!  Ray is originally from Houston Texas and received his undergrad from Texas A&M University.  From there he came up to the beautiful PNW to attend the University of Washington to earn his master’s degree!

What drew Ray to study architecture was in fact, LEGOs!  “As a kid, I would consistently play with LEGO and Hot Wheels and build my own cityscapes out of them. I would sketch skylines and bridges in some of my free time. But it wasn’t until I got to my junior year of high school where I took an architecture and engineering elective my junior year that I decided to choose architecture as my major in college. I ended up enjoying architecture so much that I stuck with it.”

Some quick fun facts about Ray:  he is an eagle scout, he loves to watch and play golf, and is an avid sports fan, frequently rooting for all Houston teams, the Tottenham Hotspurs, Seattle Kraken and Mariners – except when they’re competing against his beloved Astros.


Leah Bezold

Finally, we welcome Leah Bezold to the Milbrandt family!  Leah will be joining the Milbrandt firm as a design Technician III.  Hailing from Eatonville, Washington, Leah attended the University of Washington to earn her Architecture degree.  We are thrilled to have Leah’s expertise and enthusiasm onboard!

What drew Leah to study architecture?  She says that it has been her goal since learning it was an occupation in the first place! “I always caught myself observing and questioning buildings. Before that I loved building elaborate Barbie houses and building houses in Sims.”

In her free time, and when the PNW weather cooperates, Leah enjoys the outdoors, specifically biking and kayaking around the sound with her husband.  She has even biked four of the San Juan Islands!


Brooke Corran

Brooke Corran is a proud new addition to our team! Originally from Hillingdon, England, Brooke grew up in the picturesque town of Snoqualmie, Washington. She earned her degree in Business Administration from the esteemed University of Washington. Brooke always knew she wanted to study business, believing that it would provide her with the flexibility and skillsets necessary to pursue diverse career opportunities. In addition to her passion for business, Brooke loves spending time outdoors and backpacking during the summer months. She’s also an avid cook and enjoys whipping up mouth-watering meals year-round for friends and family. Brooke’s love for furry friends knows no bounds, as she’s a proud pet parent to two adorable golden retrievers, Charlie and Westley. We’re thrilled to have Brooke on our team and can’t wait to see all the amazing things she’ll accomplish!



We are over the moon to have Tyler, Ray, Leah and Brooke join us, and work to help make Milbrandt an even better firm!