Brandon Recommends

I have put together this collection of my favorite resources, books, classes and more. This page may contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or have helped others in my audience. 

Frank Gehry's Masterclass in Design and Architecture

Legendary architect Frank Gehry is teaching an architecture and design course through the online education platform MasterClass. This is a rare opportunity to learn from one of the greatest of our time.

To learn more on this upcoming course see the link below:
Frank Gehry's Masterclass in Design and Architecture

Gehry's MasterClass will include: 

1. 15+ video lessons in which Frank teaches his unconventional philosophy on architecture, design, and art using case studies, sketches, and models.
2. A downloadable workbook that accompanies the class with lesson recaps and assignments.
3. Frank will even critique select student work from your uploads. 

You get lifetime access to the course — the entire system will always be available to you, right when you need it.

Plus you're protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Just try the class and if you are not satisfied, MasterClass will issue a refund. No questions asked.

Here’s the link again: 
Frank Gehry's Masterclass in Design and Architecture

ARE 5.0 Study Guide

The ARE 5 Review Manual (often referred to as simply the "Ballast" study guide) is an 860 page behemoth of a book that contains all you need to know to pass the exams. It also happens to be the book I personally used to pass all of the ARE's.

I have since partnered with the publishers so that my readers now get 15% off any order (excluding the bundles).

Enter the Promo Code ARG15 at checkout to get the immediate discount.

Check it out here:

The ARE 5 Review Manual


Audible Free Trial

Selection you’ll love, guaranteed.

With the world’s largest library of audiobooks, you’re sure to find the perfect listen.

What you get with membership

  • 1 credit a month, good for any audiobook regardless of price.
  • Your own library to build. Keep your audiobooks forever, even if you cancel.
  • Exclusive member savings. Get 30% off any additional audiobooks.
  • Easy exchanges. Don't love the book? Swap it for free anytime. Seriously.

Anytime, anywhere listening

Listen to your books wherever you are with the free app. Even if you switch devices, you'll never lose your place.

NALSA Archiflash - ARE Flashcard Prep


For over 20 years Archiflash has helped candidates, like you, pass the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). Archiflash is the most comprehensive, concise, and effective ARE study system, brought to you in a flashcard format. The alternative to hitting the books, this dynamic and interactive study tool will dramatically increase your understanding and retention of what you really need to know to PASS THE ARE.

What previous NALSA Archiflash users have to say:

"Archiflash is awesome and totally worth the price, in my opinion. You can look through them based on division, but it also will pull from other divisions, illustrating how some of the exams overlap. I bought this app (if I remember correctly, the app is cheaper than the hardcopies) before my first exam and I have been very pleased with it."

"I agree, the NALSA app is definitely worth it."

"NALSA is worth it! I think the iPhone apps are definitely worthwhile and much more convenient (and greener) than paper cards. I find myself studying all the time on my phone - waiting in line for lunch, walking to work, at the gym, etc." 


To optimize your valuable study time, Archiflash is designed to help you learn relevant exam content in manageable bites. Archiflash contains over 1,160 flashcards and covers each multiple-choice section of the ARE. Packed with more information than you ever thought possible in an easy to use flashcard format.

Download now on the App Store for instant access. 

Archiflash is active learning, not passive reading! 
Questions & Answers
Diagrams & Drawings
Multiple-Choice Questions
Equations & Formulas
Terms & Definitions
Time Saving Charts
Fill in the Blank
And more...

Archiflash Features:
• Study by ARE division
• Study by Question Type: diagrams, definitions, multiple-choice, equations, etc.
• Study by Content Area: codes & regulations, materials & technology, wind forces, etc.
• Search Keywords and Phrases – study specific concepts
• Shuffle Deck – learn the information, avoid memorizing based on card order
• Bookmark Cards – group cards into your own deck for easy reference
• Study Front to Back, Back to Front – challenge yourself to determine the question/topic
• Save Your Place - pick up where you left off

Download now on the App Store for instant access. 

Smart Resume Pro: Resume and CV Designer

Smart Resume Pro: Resume and CV Designer

Build and submit a professionally typeset resume in minutes. Simply fill in your information, and Smart Resume Pro produces a clean, properly formatted PDF resume you can email directly, post online, or print out.

Smart Resume Pro produces properly designed resumes that send a professional message.

It has a full feature set with everything you need:
- Creates cross-platform compatible PDF resumes
- Email resumes directly
- Print in-App right from your iPad or iPhone/iPod Touch
- Export to 3rd party Apps such as Dropbox,, etc.
- Create unlimited resumes, one for each company if you want
- 10 professionally drafted examples provide a starting point, or inspiration
- Use pre-defined sections or create custom ones
- Add an optional photo to your resume
- Rearrange sections to suit your needs
- Create a specific cover letter for each company, properly addressed
- Integrated spell check to help avoid typos
- Optional fine adjustments to text and margin sizes to fit the page
- Live previews on the iPad

Download now on the App Store for instant access. 


The leader in online training, Lynda offers thousands of great courses to improve your architecture career. There are fantastic courses on BIM, Revit, CAD, modelling, rendering and more.

Revit 2017 Essential Training: Architecture

Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting

Start your free 30 day trial now.


I use Grammarly every day. Whether I am writing an email or working on a new blog post it is great for eliminating mistakes. Other programs fix spelling errors but Grammarly does much more by checking contextual spelling and vocabulary.

Since it is a Chrome plugin it works anywhere you are writing online - Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn. The biggest mistakes I see on job applications are grammar errors, so this is a great tool for perfecting your resume and cover letters.

(It's FREE!) Check it out!


I am a huge supporter of entrepreneur architects and freelance desigers. Unfortunately the biggest problem I see for many architects is keeping track of your income and expenses. 

If you are looking to setup your own architecture office, either full-time or part-time, you need a system to help you. FreshBooks offers a simple yet powerful cloud accounting solution that is perfect for architects just starting out.

Get started for free here:

Learn How To Create A Winning Portfolio Class

Creating a convincing portfolio can be very challenging. To help you get over this hurdle and help you land the job I recommend a fantastic online class through Creative Live.

Job-seeking architects must capture the interest of potential employers, but the elements of an attention-grabbing portfolio are far from obvious. In this class, Ram Castillo will help you through every stage of portfolio development from conceptualization to organization to dissemination.

Think of your portfolio as a sales pitch – as a designer you are selling a service the employer is buying. Learn how to sell your skills through the contents and structure of your portfolio. In this class, Ram will help you develop a clear action plan for creating a design portfolio that stands out. You’ll learn how to:

  • Filter and organize your design work
  • Choose an online portfolio structure
  • Ram will help you develop a portfolio that clearly articulates who you are as a designer and the skills, insights, vision, and potential you bring to the table.

A portfolio is your opportunity to showcase your hard work and get the credit you deserve in the form of a job offer.. Take full advantage of this opportunity and Create a Knockout Design Portfolio.

Create Your Online Portfolio with Weebly

Weebly is the best site I have found for creating your online architecture portfolio. Having your work accessible to anyone in the world is essential in today's job market. 

Get started using this FREE drag and job builder to create your architecture portfolio quickly and easily.

Start your free portfolio here.  

The Easiest Way to Create a Website.


Blurb is the best way I have found for creating high quality architecture portfolios.

To create a hard copy of any portfolio the whole process is fast and easy :

1. Upload your PDF to the Blurb site.
2. Select your printing preferences. 
3. Get it mailed to you.

A great solution for creating a professional, book-quality portfolio at an affordable price. 

Get started with Blurb here.

Shop Blurb Online

Conor Coghlan, a graduate of the Harvard GSD M.Arch program, used Blurb to create his portfolio shown here:



Obviously Adobe needs no introduction, it is the world leader for design software. They offer really affordable monthly plans that ensures you always have the latest software.

They also have student discounts. Photoshop and InDesign are must-haves for creating the perfect portfolio for your architecture job application.

Recommended Reading


No architecture office library is complete without these books.

The Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice
By American Institute of Architects
Architectural Graphic Standards, 11th Edition
By The American Institute of Architects
2015 International Building Code
By International Code Council
Neufert Architects' Data, Fourth Edition
By Ernst Neufert, Peter Neufert


Must have books if you are an architecture student.


LEED Exam Study Guides

My recommended study guides for the Green Associate and AP Exams


Career Guidance

I recommend these fantastic books for your personal and professional development.