The Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) is an essential element on the path to licensure designed to provide you with the opportunity to gain and document real-world experience needed to become an architect. As you progress through the AXP, you’ll develop competency in architectural practice areas related to health, safety, and welfare.

The AXP identifies 96 key tasks you should be able to perform competently at the point of licensure and is designed to span the phases of an early career in architecture. The tasks are spread across six practice-based areas, aligning with an ARE 5.0 division, allowing you to connect your real-world experience to your exam preparation.

In recent blogs, we covered everything there is to know about the AXP and two of the six experience areas—Practice Management and Project Management.

We will now dive into another experience area: Project Planning and Design. Project Planning and Design focuses on the schematic design phase of a project.


Tasks in this area equip you with skills to lay out building designs, review building codes and regulations, coordinate schematics with consultants, and communicate design concepts with your clients.


To meet the requirements under Project Planning & Design, you’ll need to document 1,080 hours of experience completing the following tasks:

  • Perform building code analysis
  • Develop sustainability goals based on existing environmental conditions
  • Prepare code analysis documentation
  • Define requirements for site survey based on established project scope
  • Select materials, finishes, and systems based on technical properties and aesthetic requirements
  • Determine design parameters for building engineering systems
  • Prepare design alternatives for client review
  • Present design ideas to the client orally
  • Oversee design integration of building components and systems
  • Evaluate results of feasibility studies to determine project's technical viability
  • Review local, state, and federal codes for changes that may impact design and construction
  • Prepare Cost of Work estimates
  • Determine the impact of existing utility infrastructure on site
  • Apply principles of historic preservation for projects involving building restoration or renovation
  • Understand the implications of evolving sustainable design strategies and technologies
  • Design landscape elements for site
  • Develop mitigation options to address adverse site conditions

As you develop a plan to achieve all the tasks required in the AXP, it’s important to work with your supervisor and firm to create a plan for exposure to various opportunities. As you and your supervisor work together, check out the AXP Candidate and Supervisor Expectations document to establish shared expectations. 

For more detailed information about the AXP and the six practice-based areas, check out the AXP Guidelines and our blog for the latest updates.