Assistant Architect - Chapter 123

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Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter 123: Master’s Degree


Unlike the stoicGu Yu, it was easy to talk to Tao Fei. Having similar experiences abroad, thetwo became close very fast. Tao Fei asked: "Is your degree recognized by RIBA?Are you qualified to study for Part 2?"

Zhang Siyi nodded:“Yeah.”

RIBA is theRoyal Institute of British Architects. To become a certified RIBA architect, onemust receive an undergrad degree from a RIBA-certified University which isthree or more years of study for Part 1. Part 2 is a two-year program for a Masterof Architecture and a specific Part 2 RIBA exam.

Domesticuniversities are not able to provide such certification. In other words, thisroad is only open to students who are undergraduate students in a certifieduniversity in the UK.

Tao Feisaid with emotion: “The license is really good. I also want to take theexam for Part 2.”

Although TaoFei has a master’s degree in the United Kingdom, it is not a pure Master ofArchitecture and thus, he is not eligible for a RIBA license. His degree is ahybrid architectural degree that incorporates sustainable development andresearch.

Zhang Siyisaid: “Don’t you have a Master’s degree?”"

"Yes, but Idon\'t have the prerequisites for a RIBA license." Tao Fei looked at Zhang Siyiand asked: "When will you go back to England to study for Part 2? I rememberyou can apply to a Master\'s program after 1 year of work experience."

Zhang Siyi:“Yes, but I haven’t thought about whether or not to continue to study fora master’s degree.”

Tao Fei wassurprised: “Why? Don’t you want to continue designing in the future?”

Zhang Siyiscratched his head and said: “Yes, but I think I can learn a lot from mywork now.”

Especiallyunder Gu Yu who was like an inexhaustible treasure trove of knowledge, ZhangSiyi felt like he has learned more under his guidance then he had in school andthus hasn\'t felt pressured to continue his studies.

Tao Feisaid: “If you want to continue in this field, you must get a Master\'sdegree. In order to get an Architecture license, you have to take the test oneday sooner or later."

Zhang Siyithought for a moment and said: “Can’t I take the test in China?”

Wideninghis eyes in surprise, Tao Fei scolded him: "Are you stupid!? Taking thedomestic test after getting a degree from the UK is a waste of your RIBA Part 1education!"

Zhang Siyididn\'t fully understand: “Isn’t a foreign certificate in China useless?"

Tao Fei wasquick to set Zhang Siyi straight: “How can it be useless! Although Chinahas its own architect certification, the difference between the two isenormous. Chinese certificate isn\'t recognized by foreigners, but a RIBAlicense is different. It is the gold standard and is recognized globally with internationalinfluence. The status of an architect with a RIBA license is very high.

Tao Feicontinued to earnestly advise Zhang Siyi: "Now is not the era of self-taughtgeniuses like the prize-winning architect Tadao Ando or the famous Italianarchitect Renzo Piano! You think you can get ahead in this industry withoutfurther study? Even Gu Yu went to graduate school right after his undergraduatework. The market has a threshold. With no license and education, even if youare so fucking awesome, people will not look at you!"

Zhang Siyi:“…”

“A lotof domestic architects want to earn a RIBA license, but aren\'t qualified. Youare fortunate to have that qualification so you should cherish it!" Tao Feishook his head and looked at Zhang Siyi like he was an idiot.

Zhang Siyi:“…”

Tao Fei reiterated:“After graduation, there were many of my classmates that went to the UnitedStates or Japan to continue with a Master\'s program. Even though theconstruction market in the two respective countries isn\'t as good as it is in China,the Master\'s degree with a foreign license is better than getting a domesticone. Even Professor Zhang Yonghe of Peking University is a registered architectin the United States!”

Afterlistening more, Zhang Siyi\'s interest with stimulated: “Really?”

Tao Fei:“Of course it is! I’m telling you, relying only on your work in the fieldwill limit your promotion prospects. If you want to get ahead or make a namefor yourself, it is better to plan ahead as soon as possible."

To helpillustrate his point, Tao Fei handed Zhang Siyi his business card. Comparingthe two, one title is assistant while the other is Master of Architecture.Zhang Siyi couldn\'t help but ask: "It\'s only the first year of work and yourtitle so advanced while I\'m just an assistant architect!"

Tao Feisaid: “Ha-ha! Now you see! Even though it is the first year of work, myqualifications are higher than yours!"

Zhang Siyi:"…" Thinking about it, who would writethe number of years of work experience on a business card?! It\'s just the waythings work in real life! Damn it!

This factand Tao Fei remarks left Zhang Siyi deep in thought. For the first time hebegan to question his future path and think about returning to the UK for aMaster\'s degree.

If he hadthe title of “Royal British registered architect” on his businesscard, wouldn’t he be more powerful than Gu Yu? Shit! Just imaging it, ZhangSiyi was getting a little excited!

Having discussedsome of the finer points of a British architectural education, Zhang Siyi andTao Fei acted like they were old friends. As they were approaching theirdestination at the Kunming Changshui Airport, they finished their discussionabout the domestic industry situation and got ready to land.

Now thatthey were in the southwest part of China, the weather was completely different.While Zhang Siyi took off his jacket and stuffed it into his carry-on bag, TaoFei took off his denim jacket and tied it around his waist. Together they headedthrough the airport to the luggage carousel and picked up their baggage.

Zhang Siyisuddenly remembered and asked Tao Fei: “Where are we going next?”

Tao Fei glancedat Zhang Siyi: “I don’t know.”

Shocked, ZhangSiyi\'s jaw nearly fell off: “What? I\'m confused. What do you mean you don’tknow?

Tao Feistared at him and smirked: "Aren\'t you the \'Assistant\'? Shouldn\'t you have madeplans beforehand?"

Zhang Siyi:“…” - Assistant? Fuck you!Who took whom on the business trip!? This guy is really not dependable!

As theypushed the luggage towards the exit, they quarreled.

Zhang Siyi:“Wasn\'t it your idea to go on this business trip first?”

Tao Fei:“I told you, I brought you here to play!"

With a dubiousexpression, Zhang Siyi questioned his motives: “Eh? Are you fucking kiddingwith me!?

Tao Fei squeezedthe bridge of his nose and squinted his eyes at him: "Since there wasn\'t a specificplace to go, I just let the personnel book tickets to Kunming."

Freakingout, Zhang Siyi shouted at him: “I thought you came to Kunming for otherpurposes Ah!”

Tao Feisaid with a sigh: “Ok, Ok. Stop arguing. Let\'s find a hotel first."

Taking outhis phone to open a travel app, Tao Fei was momentarily distracted by WeChat andinstead checked his messages: "Wow! More than 30 new messages ha-ha-ha!”

Zhang Siyialso got his phone out to see what Tao Fei\'s friends posted.

A:“What company are you in? Are all your coworkers so cute?"

B: “Goingout to play again! So envious and jealous! Feel my hateful vibes!”

C:“Didn’t Brother Gu go with you?"

D: “Theyoung guy is so handsome!”

E: “Fatpeach, are you bullying him? Look at his surprised face."


Out of somany responses and ignoring the latter part of the sentence, Zhang Siyi focusedon the keywords \'fat peach.\' Your nickname is Fat Peach? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha ……“

With veinsbulging from his forehead in anger, Tao Fei said: "Take a hike! Call me thepeach elder brother!"

Zhang Siyi grimacedand remained silent.

Tao Fei:“…”

Continuingto look at his phone frantically, Tao Fei seems a little strange. Why didn\'t GuYu reply?

Not wantingto wait until Tao Fei stopped obsessing over his phone, Zhang Siyi interruptedhim: "Stop looking at your phone! Let\'s go downtown to get something to eat. I\'mstarving to death!" After making the decision for both of them, Zhang Siyistepped to the sidewalk to hail a taxi.

When theygot into the taxi, Tao Fei asked the driver: "Mister, what is the best hotel inKunming?"

Surprisedat Tao Fei question, Zhang Siyi started to fret. – Tao Fei wants to stay at the best hotel?

Thinkingabout the cheap motel that Gu Yu took him to on Zhang Siyi first business trip,he suddenly felt that Tao Fei was out of his league.

The driverenthusiastically answered Tao Fei. He quickly checked out the hotel online thenfinally told the driver: “Ok. Drive us to The Intercontinental.”

Zhang Siyiglanced at Tao Fei and checked the price. The standard room was more than athousand a night. He couldn\'t help but worry: "Won\'t it exceed thereimbursement cost?"

Employeeshave a reimbursement limit for travel on business related trips. Although TaoFei is responsible for the project, he isn\'t the design director and has no controlover this aspect of the business trip.

Tao Feipatted him on the shoulder: “Don\'t worry. I asked my Brother and he saidthat when we work on this project we can stay at any hotel, no matter theexpense.

Eyes twitching,Zhang Siyi replied: “But we haven\'t started the project yet! How can yoube so sure? What if it\'s not the case?"

Tao Feishrugged: “Then we can share the cost.”

Zhang Siyi:“…” Who the hell is going toshare with you! (╯‵皿’)╯(┻━┻

Tao Feiadded: “Your salary shouldn\'t be any higher then mine, right? I acceptinstallment payments with an interest rate of 3.5%."

At a loss forwords, Zhang Siyi collapsed in the back seat…

After awhile, Zhang Siyi wondered: “How much is your salary?”

Tao Fei\'s repliedas matter of fact: "It\'s only ten-thousand per month. It\'s very pitiful, but myBrother said there are also project bonuses."

What!? Zhang Siyi was totally shocked. Tao Fei\'s salary is twice that of his. He is still a small fry! No way! He must have a Master’s degree! He’s going back to the UK for a Master’s!!!


T/N: FYI: Haicheng, where the characters live and work has a similar latitude as New York City. They traveled to Kunming, Yunnan province which is in the SW of China and has a latitude a little more south then Florida.