Skip to content


Who we are and what we do

Black Spectacles provides the resources to help educate and inspire architects to thrive in their careers. From world-class learning materials geared towards empowering candidates to conquer their licensing exams, and software tutorials for professionals to stay on top of current programs, we provide the tools for architects to build their future.

How we started.

Born out of feeling a lack of guidance in the early stages of my education and career, I sought to ensure other architects would have the influence and connections that I didn’t. I looked at colleagues who worked at prestigious firms straight out of school because they had resources and mentors, and thought, “How do they have the inside track?” Black Spectacles was created to be that inside track for architects.

As the Chair of the AIA Young Architects Forum, I talked to emerging architects at networking events who could benefit from career guidance. As an Adjunct Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology, I saw my students struggling to keep up with software updates, and as someone who was licensed, I knew the importance of conquering the ARE. To facilitate the development of fellow architects was something I enjoyed doing through my personal channels and strived to do it on a larger scale.

I launched Black Spectacles in 2010 to democratize learning and remove barriers to career expansion. Starting with software learning, and expanding to ARE Prep, we now help thousands of architects get licensed and are the only NCARB-approved online test prep option for all six divisions of ARE 5.0. We are passionate about making our network and expertise available to everyone with our ARE Community and in our podcast, ARE Live, which are both free resources. Collectively we want to educate and inspire architects to thrive throughout the entirety of their careers.

Because of what we’ve been able to accomplish with Black Spectacles, in 2020, I was elevated to a Fellow by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Even though I get the “FAIA” next to my name, it’s not about me, it’s about us. I see this as a recognition of the dedication our entire network of employees, architects, mentors and friends have put forth in helping architects attain their licensure and advance their careers.