Understanding the New AXP: Programming & Analysis

On June 29, the Intern Development Program (IDP) will be updated to reflect six broad areas of architectural practice—and renamed the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). To help you prepare for this change, we launched a monthly blog series that breaks down the tasks associated with each area. Plus, we offer real-world examples of opportunities that count toward the AXP.

What is Programming & Analysis?

Programming & Analysis is the first phase of a project, often referred to as pre-design. During this phase, big-picture ideas are addressed and a project plan is established. You will gain experience by researching and evaluating client requirements, code and zoning ordinances, and site data to develop recommendations on the feasibility of a project.

Programming & Analysis Tasks (Required Hours: 260)

Upon finishing the AXP, you should be able to competently perform the following tasks:

  • Determine impact of applicable zoning and development ordinances to determine project constraints
  • Gather information about community concerns and issues that may impact proposed project
  • Analyze existing site conditions to determine impact on facility layout
  • Evaluate results of feasibility studies to determine project's financial viability
  • Determine impact of environmental, zoning and other regulations on site
  • Establish sustainability goals affecting building performance
  • Prepare diagrams illustrating spatial relationships and functional adjacencies
  • Establish project design goals
  • Prepare site analysis diagrams to document existing conditions, features, infrastructure and regulatory requirements
  • Consider recommendations from geotechnical studies when establishing design parameters
  • Assist owner in preparing building program including list of spaces and their characteristics
  • Develop conceptual budget
  • Gather information about client's vision, goals, budget, and schedule to validate project scope and program
  • Evaluate opportunities and constraints of alternative sites
  • Assess environmental impact to formulate design decisions
  • Determine impact of existing transportation infrastructure on site
  • Consider results of environmental studies when developing site alternatives
  • Review legal documents related to site to determine project constraints

Are you having trouble gaining Programming & Analysis experience? Reference the above tasks when meeting with your supervisor, and make a plan to complete the AXP.

Real-World Examples

During my internship, I was tasked with evaluating the local zoning code to determine the maximum buildable area on a given site. At first, I expected to simply “determine [the] impact of applicable zoning and development ordinances to determine project constraints.” But I soon found myself consulting a local code authority while communicating with the client. These conversations led me to gain experience in five associated tasks, which ultimately informed my recommendation on the project’s financial viability.

Every project is unique, but every project starts with an idea that requires a program and thorough analysis. Like a project, your experience is unique, and it sometimes requires periods of analysis. If you find yourself lacking in experience in this area, use this time to ask your supervisor to attend a pre-design meeting or offer to take on a new task. You might find yourself gaining much broader experience than you first anticipated.

IDP Experience Calculator

Use the IDP Experience Calculator to see how your current hours will merge into the six new experience areas! Any hours that fall outside of the six new areas can be used to fulfill additional jurisdictional requirements.

About the Author

Matthew Friesz is the Outreach Manager, Experience + Education at NCARB. In this position, he helps support experience and education programs as they evolve with the architecture profession. Friesz has four years of experience in architectural design and project management. While working for architecture-engineering firms in Bismarck, ND, and Houston, TX, his projects ranged from corporate tenant fit-ups to K-12 education campuses. 

He holds a Master of Architecture degree from North Dakota State University and is licensed to practice architecture in the state of Texas. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, has achieved the credential of LEED Green Associate, and holds the NCARB Certificate for national reciprocity.