About Black Spectacles

Who We Are & What We Do

Black Spectacles helps educate and inspire architects around the world to thrive in their career.

We adhere to core values that we live by in the day-to-day, and infuse into all of our resources and materials.

Take calculated risks
We are aggressive but smart, careful and thoughtful about the risks we take. This is not “just taking wild risks.” Having confidence to execute but remaining humble.

Encourage a confident approach
We believe in, support and help our teammates and customers, even when it’s not our job, to ensure that they get what they need to be successful.

World-class or not at all
We are stewards of world-class quality, and ensure that nothing leaves our office that doesn’t meet our high standards.

Make it safe to share ideas
We create trust by allowing people to get their ideas out of their head, without judging, so we can get past our dumb ideas and on to the amazing ones.

Above all else, we enjoy everything we do. You won't find a meeting where smiles aren't cracked or jokes aren't made. We want everyone to find the joy in their career like we have in ours.


The Black Spectacles Story

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, and 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 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 test prep 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.

And we're not done - in 2020 we are working to help you put your best professional foot forward and raise your status in the profession by highlighting and showcasing your work, leading to the next step on the path of your career. We created our career podcast so you can gain access to the stories of some of the most successful architects of our time.

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.

— Marc Teer, Architect, Founder & CEO