There are a lot of myths when it comes to Architecture as a discipline and there are also many things that you don’t know. For someone planning to pursue a career in Architecture, it can be a nightmare to not have prepared for some of these in advance. When I read things like this on the internet these days, it takes me back to when I joined my college, God, I wish I knew these before I got in. It is a rocky ride that can become a little smoother, and save you a lot of trouble if you think about a few things ahead of time. Here are some of the things you need to know before joining Architecture to prepare for the enlightening and devastating five-year course.
1. Your mindset changes PERMANENTLY.
Once you get into Architecture, there is no way out. Going through five years of college and Architectural practice changes the way one thinks. It takes a lot to truly become an Architect, and once you are in it, you can’t undo it. The mindset of a person takes a turn and you start seeing things in a different light. Everywhere you go, you’ll be drawn to things related to architecture, and you will find yourself thinking and talking about it a lot. This can be a pleasant and sometimes annoying change in one’s lifestyle, but it’s here to stay. It’s best to realize it, accept it, and enlighten the people around you, that this is not a drill, it’s now a part of you.
2. Be prepared to do some real hard work.
This has been said before by many, and every time I hear it, I agree with it all the more. Architecture involves long hours of hard work and endless efforts. Architecture, for sure, is nothing but easy. It is a very comprehensive discipline that requires you to learn about a lot of things, acquire multiple skills, and be aware of the needs of society. The five years of college involve torturous training and gripping courses. It takes a lot of conviction to make it through all this, and still be in love with Architecture. All-nighters, lost weekends; dissatisfaction is something almost everyone has to deal with while pursuing a career in Architecture. But the result is mostly, if not always, worth it.
3. Be open to Criticism
Design is a field with no correct answer which is why it’s not always possible to be able to express your thoughts to the spectator befittingly, and your designs don’t still get the appreciation that you expect. Long and tiring working hours seldom result in criticism. You will go through at least one, if not many, jury experience that will crush your soul and leave you with self-doubt. Tedious juries train the students to understand what architecture is and how a typical design differs from a good design. Five years of hard work teach you to accept rebuke in a good light and to pick yourself up and work harder after failures and disapproval.
4. Most jobs are tedious and detail-oriented.
Another common misunderstanding that people have, is that Architecture jobs are fun. People imagine creative work environments that have intellectual and fun design discussions. People imagine the field to be chilled out and open both in college and office. Not to defer too much from this statement, architecture offices are fun but not all the time. The design process might be tiring but is always exciting to do. But that’s not all that happens. It’s the implementation of Architecture that takes up most of the office hours. Working Drawings, precise lines, intricate details are not as much fun to do, but very important in the course of transforming the design into reality.
5. You will be spending an awful lot of money on Stationery supplies.
The love for unique stationery is common for most students of Architecture. Over the years of visiting the Stationary shop, you develop an interest in new items and soon enough you find yourself spending a substantial amount of money on unnecessary things. Even if you don’t love it enough, you’ll end up with an empty pocket because Architecture requires you to spend a lot of money on stationery supplies. You will need rendering tools, drafting tools, presentation tools, and even containers to store these tools. Needless to say, an architecture student spends a lot of time buying stationery items and the cost is always more than you’d imagine.
6. An Architect doesn’t need to be good at hand drawings.
This is a very common myth about architecture schools, that one needs to excel in hand drawings to be an Architect. The need for architects to draw and sketch the spaces is what might have triggered this misunderstanding about the course, but this is not true. Architecture is not the same as art, and an Architect doesn’t need to possess extraordinary drawing skills to be one. The sketches need to be clear enough to make the audience understand the space, and even that isn’t necessary sometimes. With the technological advancement, 3D renderings and drawings are far more illustrative and detailed than hand drawings, eliminating the need for an Architect to do the same by hand.
7. Health might go for a toss.
There are multiple aspects of Architecture which take a toll on your health. Most common being long hours of sitting on a desk and drafting, be it by hand or digitally. This can be very bad for your back if you don’t maintain a correct posture. Most students and professionals complain about backaches and stiffness in the neck because of this very reason, and it can take a turn for the worse if it’s not taken care of. So, it’s important to lie down or stretch your muscles now and then to avoid health issues. Another health issue is weak eyesight. Long hours of staring at the screen or doing intricate drafting by hand can cause eye problems and prolonged headaches. It’s best to get a shut-eye whenever possible and take some time off the screen to rest your eyes.
8. There is no colossal financial reward waiting at the end of five years.
We know Architecture as a creative profession, and this is why most people assume that architects receive massive paychecks for doodling around on a computer screen. But only those of you who are acquainted with at least one Architect/Architecture student know that this is not always the case. Don’t be delusional and expect yourself to be a rich and successful Architect without much struggle. Architecture works don’t pay very well most of the time, and in the few cases when they do, it happens only after years and years of excruciating practice and establishment of yourself as a brand name.
9. A creative attitude is a must.
Architecture is born where science meets art, and all art requires creativity. When one says creative in terms of Architecture, they don’t mean creative hand skills but crafting with a creative mind. All architects are essentially problem solvers who deal with functionality wrapped up in beautiful aesthetics. At all levels of designing, an architect needs to challenge the norms and strive to create something unique and thought-provoking. This is what distinguishes a good architect from an average one. Even simple designs can transform into masterpieces by using your imagination and artistic approach in design.
10. Just getting into a good University doesn’t guarantee anything.
Architecture is a field where just getting into a prestigious college is not enough to land good jobs in the field. Architects don’t become Architects just by graduating from their college. Architects finally become architects when they come out in the professional field and start putting all their technical skills into making buildings, and loving the process irrespective of anything. The school gives you 50% of the skills you need to be a successful Architect and the rest is up to you. Architecture education is not very different in most universities, and therefore it’s more important to brush up your skill set in order to succeed in the professional web of Architecture.